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What course to choose at university, structural engineering with architecture or civil ?

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Quick Take

Answer 1 by Andrew Johnson

Credentials: B.Sc in Civil Engineering & Structural Engineering, University of New Brunswick Graduated 2009

& Creative Structural Engineer at Johnson Engineering Solution Limited

Depending on where you work, you can do both afterward, however honestly I would choose structural as the solution, as mastering it, with the assistance of others is easier, than mastering architecture afterward. The micro vs macro of building something.

Once you understand that everything is built up of systems and that each system is a connection of nodes of sequences of events with given or variable probabilities it’s useful to understand this, and finite element analysis is where you need to get your brain focused and trained on what works and what doesn’t for different situations, and passing the exam means that you can do the math by hand. By the time of your exam, you’ll be trained to do, it if you are putting your effort into it.

So recommend structural, with lots of English communication and other languages so that you can trace back the origin of each word, their root history provides for an interesting cultural understanding such that different economics of understanding were used, where today we used a more globally refined and, the calling that you are undertaking is important, as once you know wrong and right, sitting back and doing nothing becomes much more difficult. So moving forward and helping those around you be the better version of themselves, is what you're going to be able to help with.

My experience, the youngest 12-year-old, son of two engineers that started a family engineering company. They used some of my college funds to start the company, so I am a shareholder.

Since that point I've worked on resolving building-related problems, typical workload is 40 to 100 ongoing projects in various stages as time management means that they don’t all need answers at one time. So from a real-life point of view, take your university and apply yourself, and find the life tricks that enable you to be better, without short or long-term risk.

Structural engineering is about removing risk, and if you can’t manage it, architecture is about providing a reason to have risk. (You can work both sides of your brain, I think, please refer to an expert for that, I’m not one of the mind or body.)

Hope this helps. (Structural!!!-more math the better, the harder the better, make it easy!) everything worthwhile starts out hard!

Answer 2 by Leo Hopkins

Credentials: BEng in Engineering, The Open UniversityGraduated 2011

That depends on what you want to ultimately do. Architecture is generally based on aesthetics and so if artistry interests you then go for a course that includes that. An architect needs to have a basic grasp of structural engineering so that (s)he is able to design structures in selected materials that conform to safety standards by being within stress/strain tolerances.

However, once an architect had done their bit, the civil engineer will step in to ensure the building is also built safely and on time, and within budget; there may be some overlap of responsibilities between an engineer and a project manager. A civil engineer will also check in on the progress of the building work and take on any reports back from the construction company and act upon construction-in-flight information. If it’s ‘pure engineering’ you’re looking to get into the study of civil engineering & mathematics.

Answer 3 by Steven Thomas

Credentials: BS (Chi Epsilon)in Civil and Environmental Engineering & Structural Engineering, University of Wisconsin - Madison

I tend to agree with the others for the most part. I have heard of a major called Architectural Engineering. I have always considered this to be an oxymoron. I once knew a professor of Architectural Engineering named Dale Perry from U. Texas. He was on the opposite side of a lawsuit that I was part of. His testimony indicated that he was sadly lacking in simple concepts of structural analysis.