MEng Engineering and Architecture

Structural Engineering and Architecture MEng

UCAS code HK21
Duration 4 years
Accreditation RIBA Part 1/ARB/IStructE/ICE

Course overview

This four-year honours degree builds on the strong relationship between two leading departments in the fields of architecture and civil and structural engineering. It gives students the opportunity to work across the two disciplines and is the only such course in UK to give entry qualifications to both architecture and engineering professions.

This degree is accredited as fully satisfying the educational base for a Chartered Engineer (CEng). Accreditation by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Institutions of Civil and Structural Engineers means the course provides sufficient architecture content to meet the Part 1 requirements for becoming a Registered Architect and the MEng requirements to progress to Chartered Engineer without further educational qualifications.

The key components of architecture and structural engineering courses are combined to enable you to develop the key skills to design and engineer buildings. The course offers an integrated approach and each year gives a mix of modules from both departments. The balance between the disciplines varies from year to year with design studio work providing a focus for combining the two.

We find that both architectural and engineering firms are keen to employ graduates from the course because of their unique educational experience.  Architectural and engineering practices are increasingly looking for graduates with the ability to think and work across the multiple disciplines involved in the design of the built environment. Our courses benefit from the input and guidance of Visiting Professors from industry, who play a significant role in maintaining strong links between research and the priorities of industry. Graduates from this course are able to communicate effectively in design teams from different disciplines, putting them in an excellent position to become leaders in their chosen profession.

The University of Sheffield Architeers Society organises academic and social events for dual students and others. Each year the Architeers run a lecture series, and organise frequent social and sporting events and an annual quiz night.

Find out more about the MEng Structural Engineering and Architecture course via the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering.

Structure and modules

Each year of the course combines architectural and engineering subjects.

Year one introduces a number of foundation topics across both disciplines. You'll take the Global Engineering Challenge which involves working with other engineering students on a one-week project to tackle a real-world problem. The challenge is designed to develop your skills and enhance your career prospects.

In year two you will enter the architecture design studio in the Arts Tower where you will spend a considerable amount of time working on project work alongside other architecture students. Space is available in our drawing studios with the aim of integrating as much as possible with architecture students.

In years three and four the Integrated Design Project and Individual Research Project provide additional opportunities to integrate architectural and engineering skills in a design context.

You will be completely immersed in the culture of each discipline and are taught engineering by engineers alongside fellow engineering students and architecture by architects, working with architecture students.

Full list of modules

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Student experiences

This course attracts excellent students who all contribute to a socially vibrant and academically challenging environment. Here they share their experiences of studying on the dual MEng in Structural Engineering and Architecture course.

Michael Durkin

Why did you decide to study this course at Sheffield?Michael Durkin

Firstly, this course is the only one in the country accredited by the Institute of Structural Engineering (IStructE) while also fulfilling the requirements for the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) part 1 exemption. It's essentially two degrees in one, and graduates are better qualified to go in either direction. Sheffield is also a friendly city, it has all the cultural benefits of other cities (the arts, the music scene, shops etc.) but without too much hustle and bustle. The peak district is right on the doorstep, so you can always take some time out.

What have you enjoyed about the course?

I've found the course hugely rewarding - it's very challenging, but seeing my understanding of the two disciplines (which initially felt very detached) slowly come together has been really great. The staff are incredibly helpful and, despite being a small course (there are around 20 in my year), they are always willing to go the extra mile to make sure we are taken care of - be it moving our deadlines so they don't clash with one from the other department, or repeating lectures at a time we can all make.

What skills have you gained while studying in Sheffield?

I'd say the biggest skill learnt on a dual honours degree is time management. You're constantly balancing competing workloads and I've found that employers really value this skill when you go to interviews.

How do you think your degree experience will help you in your career?

Having a dual degree really helps to find employment in the first place, whether you're applying for architecture or structural engineering jobs. Career-wise, I think it gives me the opportunity to work across both disciplines, making me a lot more flexible. Lots of firms seem to recognise the need to have team members with different specialisms - if you go into architecture, you'll already be an engineering expert and vice versa.

How has studying at Sheffield informed the way you think about the subject?

Before applying, I didn't really understand the differences between architecture schools across the country. If I had to describe Sheffield, I'd say that it has a focus on environmental and social sustainability. The course is more artistic than mathematical, and it's about the process of designing for and with communities by first coming to understand them.

What career aspirations do you currently have for after you graduate?

I applied for two engineering jobs in January - and I'm starting work for a great little engineering practice in Nottingham next year. There are about 12 people in the office, and they're well known for working really closely with architects. I think because of this degree I could afford to be quite picky when applying for jobs, which is such a luxury these days. If they'd both turned me down, I was planning to start applying for architecture jobs in the summer (which is when most of the practices start advertising for part one graduates). The department offers lots of support in finding jobs, and there are always students who have come back to do their MArch who you can ask for advice. I suppose this degree basically doubles the number of places you can apply to as well.

What advice would you give to a new Sheffield student?

Firstly, time management. If you have an engineering assignment and an architecture assignment with the same deadline, do the engineering one first as usually it will take a set amount of time and has a definitive answer. Architecture on the other hand is completely open-ended and will fill whatever time you have left - there's rarely an obvious point to stop working!

Secondly, soak up as much knowledge as you possibly can. It's only as I come to leave university that I realise how grateful I am for all the extra evening lectures put on by both departments and by the architecture society. These are often presented by practicing architects and engineers, and give you an insight away from academia, and into the real world. On a similar note, make the most of all the societies and sports in your first year - time becomes more precious throughout the degree, but there's always time for a break!

Finally, there are no shortcuts in either discipline. Learn skills early, even if it means spending less time perfecting the outcome of projects, because those skills will pay dividends later. Learn how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, a reference manager and, most importantly, some kind of BIM (be it Vectorworks or Revit). Then you can 3D print sectional building models in a flash, laser-cut your site, alter plans in minutes and take sections in a couple of mouse-clicks. Learn how to build models and sketch as much as you can - buildings, cities, details, whatever. As your architectural designs or engineering projects become increasingly complex throughout your degree this will save you buckets of time!

What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?

If I had to pick one thing, I think it would be the Peak District. I love to get away from it all, so to find yourself in the middle of nowhere after 20 minutes on the bus is great! If you're into walking, climbing, cycling, kayaking, rowing, or anything else outdoorsy, there'll always be others here who will want to join you!

Lauren Barnes

Why did you decide to study this course at Sheffield?

The dual course at the university of Sheffield is the only course to offer an accredited qualification for both architecture and engineering. The course seemed perfectly suited to my interests and career aspirations. After visiting the University at an open day, I knew the friendly atmosphere and student life was for me.

What have you enjoyed about the course?

Being able to study a varied, creative and academic course has been the main reason I've enjoyed it. I've been able to meet so many interesting and different people from a range of backgrounds throughout my studies. The content taught has been interesting, relevant and challenging, I've learnt so much! I've particularly enjoyed points in the course where the two sides have integrated in design projects.

What skills have you gained while studying in Sheffield?

The skill set I've developed whilst studying at Sheffield has not only been course based but from a wider university experience. Whilst studying I've been able to learn a lot about academic skills and research methods alongside studio design projects. It’s been vital for me to develop communication and presentation skills in a creative way to be able to present design ideas. I've also been able to develop my time management and professional skills by balancing academic responsibilities alongside a part time job and being an active member in a university sports team committee.

How do you think your degree experience will help you in your career?

I feel confident going into the industry knowing I've been taught by some of the best tutors and professionals available. I've been able to experience lots of different areas of the wider construction industry which has helped refine my interests and aspirations.

How has studying at Sheffield informed the way you think about the subject?

Studying at Sheffield has given me a very people and community focussed approach to design. Sheffield is constantly considering the impact buildings can have on people and their communities, both positive and negative. This isn't just in the design briefs but is a whole school approach and being aware of some of the research the school is doing in this area has been inspiring and useful.

What career aspirations do you currently have for after you graduate?

During my final year studying, I have secured a dream graduate job as a building structures engineer at Arup.

What advice would you give to a new Sheffield student?

My advice to a new Sheffield student would be to go out and find the things you enjoy. There's so many opportunities and experiences Sheffield has to offer - you've just got to go and find the ones for you and get the most out of them! You'll hopefully make lifelong friends, learn so much and have fun doing it all.

How should students make the most of University?

By tackling and trying to enjoy all the challenges the course throws at you, asking questions and utilising the excellent teaching. Try and balance this alongside extracurricular activities and socialising, it's so important to get the right work-life balance from the start.

What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?

The friends I've made whilst studying here. Course mates, housemates as well friends from societies and sports teams have always been a constant source of fun and support whilst studying! I've been lucky enough to meet and become best friends with such a range of people from different backgrounds and upbringings who've all helped me grow and learn so much.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students?

The course is challenging but so rewarding. The skills you develop will make the difference when applying for jobs and help you to focus on the path you wish to take after university. The friends you'll make will hopefully be for the rest of your life and it's the best thing I ever did!

Architecture with engineering

At the University of Sheffield, students in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering and the School of Architecture benefit from a close working relationship and multiple opportunities for academic and social interaction.

Our dual courses highlight the benefits of thinking across disciplines to address the challenges of climate change and the need to reduce emissions from the built environment. These courses offer research-led teaching which embeds students in the thought processes and working methods of both disciplines.

In addition to the MEng in Structural Engineering and Architecture, the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering also offers the MEng in Architectural Engineering, a degree which covers all the engineering disciplines associated with buildings and their infrastructure alongside an introduction to architectural methods of problem solving.

Find out more about the differences between these courses

The considerable success of both courses is evident in our selection as one of four Centres of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Find out more

What is Architectural Engineering?

Find out more about architectural engineering from students studying the course.

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MEng in Structural Engineering and Architecture