Friday, September 09, 2005


Architectural Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville
CONTACT: Hector Estrada, or 361-593-2269

A new bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville has been given final approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and is up and running this fall. The new program will be housed in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering within the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering, and will be chaired by Dr. Hector Estrada, Associate Professor. This new program is particularly important since there is only one baccalaureate program in architectural engineering accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in Texas, which is offered at the University of Texas at Austin.
The program got off to a good start with 10 students enrolled for the fall semester. Several other interested students have enrolled in other disciplines while official approval of the program was pending; these students will now transfer to architectural engineering to bring the total enrollment to approximately 15, well over the initial goal of 10 for the first semester. This goal was achieved basically by word of mouth because no formal advertisement prior to official approval was allowed. Now that the program has been approved, we will promote the new degree and attract more students. It is anticipated that the enrollment of the program over the next four to five years will be approximately 100, graduating 15 to 20 students per year.
The department is offering one of the freshman courses this fall, Computer Based Graphics and Design, which is being taught by a visiting professor with specialty in Architecture. Three new faculty members with terminal degrees in architectural engineering will be added over the next three years. The contributions of these new faculty members will include teaching new architectural engineering courses, and developing laboratory facilities for teaching and conducting research. Additionally, six current full-time civil engineering faculty members will be directly involved in teaching fundamentals and cross-listed courses.
The mission of the bachelor’s degree program in architectural engineering is to prepare students to assume the necessary design experience in the building industry to become registered engineers with a specialization in Building Architectural Engineering, and to instill in them the importance of lifelong learning, including pursuing advanced studies leading to graduate degrees.
The program will develop engineering graduates with the necessary engineering skills to engage in lifelong careers as practicing professional architectural engineers who are ethical and socially responsible. It will also develop engineering graduates with a broad understanding of the problem-solving and design skills necessary to operate in the interdisciplinary arena of architectural engineering. Finally, it will provide candidates with the knowledge and skills of mathematics, science and engineering necessary to pursue graduate studies.
The program will be a traditional four-year engineering degree program requiring 131 semester credit hours of coursework sufficient to satisfy all the accreditation requirements of ABET. The proposed curriculum includes coursework in general education (communications, social science, and humanities), mathematics and science, engineering fundamentals, and architectural engineering. Students will choose six hours of prescribed elective courses from structural engineering, construction engineering, and project management or services engineering.