Graduate studies in architectural engineering are offered through the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. The department offers a Master of Science degree with study emphases in several major areas:

  • Building systems engineering
  • Illumination engineering
  • Materials and carbon
  • Construction engineering and management

For more information, visit the department's Graduate Studies webpage.

Bachelor's–Accelerated Master's Degree Program

Students may earn this degree as part of the Bachelor's–Accelerated Master's (BAM) degree program, which allows currently enrolled CU Boulder undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a bachelor's and master's degree in a shorter period of time.

For more information, see the Accelerated Master's tab for the associated bachelor's degree(s): Architectural Engineering - Bachelor of Science (BS)


For a Master of Science (MS) degree in architectural engineering, students may undertake Plan I (with a thesis) or Plan II (with a project). 

Up to 6 credits of independent study may be taken, where an individual course of study is worked out between the student and a faculty member. Up to 9 credits of graduate courses can be transferred from another institution. Students are allowed up to 6 credits in total of non-technical coursework for the MS/PhD degree.

Degree Plans

Plan I: Thesis Option

Plan I requires 24 credits of coursework, plus 6 credits of thesis work. The thesis is a formal research report that discusses an organized research topic. Experience has shown that it takes a student from 24 to 30 months to complete this plan. Financial support is generally limited to exceptionally well-qualified students selecting Plan I. 

Plan II: Non-Thesis Option

Plan II requires 27 credits of coursework, plus 3 credits of MS project work.  The 3-credit Master's Report (AREN 6960) is related to an applied research AREN topic.  It can be successfully completed in 18–24 months by a diligent student.  Note that one-half of the coursework must be taken in the CEAE Department (an exception may be made if the relevant courses were taken as part of an undergraduate degree).

With the approval of the advisor, non-CEAE courses at the 4000 level may be used for graduate credit up to a maximum of 6 credits. 

Course Requirements

Courses offered in the architectural engineering graduate program may be separated into four focus areas, one specific to the Construction Engineering & Management discipline and three related to the Building Systems Engineering discipline. Students may decide to concentrate in one of these focus areas, or they may wish to take a broad selection from the courses; there is no requirement for picking any specific focus area under the general focus area option.

Core Courses6
Building Science and Engineering I
Building Science and Engineering II
General Courses 6-9
(Suitable for any focus area)
Sustainable Building Design
Compu Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Analysis for Built/Natural Envmnts
Architectural Engineering Special Topic (Building Systems Modeling and Simulation)
Data Science for Energy and Buildings
Construction Engineering and Management Fundamentals
Focus Area: Building Energy Engineering
Energy System Modeling and Control
Building Energy Audits
AREN 5060
Computer Simulation of Building Energy Systems
Building Energy Systems Engineering
Building Electrical Systems Design 1
Optimizing Grid Connected Systems
Special Topics (Data Analytics and Decision-making for Power Systems)
Special Topics (Renewable Energy Future of Power Grid )
Special Topics (Power Systems Planning and Optimizations)
Focus Area: Illumination Engineering
Optical Design for Illumination and Solid State Lighting
Illumination 2
Luminous Radiative Transfer
Architectural Exterior and Landscape Lighting Design
Adaptive Lighting Systems
Advanced Lighting Design
Focus Area: Materials and Carbon
Forensic Engineering
Special Topics for Seniors/Grads (Design of Wood Structures)
Special Topics for Seniors/Grads (Design of Masonry Structures)
Embodied Carbon in Buildings
Special Topics (Construction Materials)
Focus Area: Construction Engineering & Management
Legal Aspects of Construction
Engineering Risk and Decision Analysis
Construction Safety
Managing Construction and Engineering Projects and Organizations
Infrastructure Asset Management

Graduate Certificate in Global Engineering

Students admitted to the Graduate Certificate in Global Engineering program must fulfill the coursework and practicum requirements of that program. For AREN students, up to 6 credits of the required certificate coursework can count as coursework needed for the PhD degree.