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Sustainable Architecture+Engineering

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Stanford’s Sustainable Architecture+Engineering major (formerly Architectural Design) integrates architectural design with engineering in developing sustainable strategies for the built environment. Through a rigorous sequence of studios, students learn design methodologies that merge spatial thinking with innovative engineering technologies. These hands-on courses teach students to speculate, investigate, measure, and solve as they confront the complex problems of an urbanizing world with finite resources. 

Objectives and Outcomes for Sustainable Architecture+Engineering

Students will learn how to think critically and innovatively through a sequence of project-based studios. To envision a more sustainable future, students will tackle problems at multiple scales, from the craft and assembly of building elements, to design in the urban realm. Students will develop the design, technical, visual communication, and digital modeling skills needed to address a range of current and future architectural and engineering problems, building upon a strong historic and theoretical foundation. Harnessing research projects in a range of laboratories, students will learn how architecture integrates structural and mechanical engineering, building performance, and material sciences in formulating sustainable solutions. 

Our program embraces the joys and challenges of inquiring, testing and solving through making as we mine the potentials between architecture and engineering. Through participation in our program, students will receive strong mentorship, develop strong skill sets, and graduate with the ability to generate high-impact solutions to our planet’s pressing environmental challenges. 


The Curriculum

The undergraduate Sustainable Architecture+Engineering curriculum includes core coursework to be taken by all declared majors that provides a broad introduction to the major areas of architectural and engineering design with a focus on promoting sustainability in the built environment. Through the studio sequence and elective courses, students gain a breadth of design experience while also developing depth in specific topics of interest, which range from building performance and energy, earth systems, sustainability, structures and construction, history/theory, urban studies, to fine arts. The curriculum culminates in a capstone design experience to be completed by all majors.

For more information on the Sustainable Architecture+Engineering major, students are encouraged to visit the CEE website, talk to a CEE faculty member, or contact CEE Student Services Specialist, Jill Filice in Room 316 of the Yang and Yamazaki Environment & Energy (Y2E2) building.

Careers and Graduate Study

The Sustainable Architecture+Engineering curriculum lays a foundation for careers ranging from architecture, structural engineering, construction management, environmental engineering, and planning. 

Completion of the undergraduate program in Sustainable Architecture+Engineering leads to the conferral of the Bachelor of Science in Engineering. The subplan "Sustainable Architecture + Engineering" appears on the transcript and on the diploma. All students matriculating at Stanford after the start of the 2023-24 academic year who declare this major will receive the new Sustainable Architecture+Engineering degree.  The previous major in Architectural Design will be retired.

This major is not an ABET-accredited engineering degree, nor is it designed to lead directly to professional licensure in architecture or engineering. To become a professional architect or engineer, additional graduate training and practical experience may be required.

Research Experience for Undergraduates

The department of Civil and Environmental Engineering welcomes student participation in the VPUE Undergraduate Research Programs.  Interested students should check the VPUE website and the CEE website for announcements regarding the application procedures.  Annual program announcements appear in January with Application due dates in February.

Sustainable Architecture+Engineering Honors

The Sustainable Architecture+Engineering Honors program offers eligible students the opportunity to engage in guided original research, or project design, over the course of an academic year. For interested students, the process and requirements are:

  1. The student must submit a letter applying for the Honors option endorsed by the student's major advisor and honors advisor and submitted to the student services office in CEE. Applications must be received in the fourth quarter prior to graduation. It is strongly suggested that students meet with their degree program advisor well in advance of submitting an application.
  2. The student must maintain a GPA of at least 3.5. 
  3. The student must complete an honors thesis or project. The timing and deadlines are to be decided by the major or honors advisor. At least one member of the evaluation committee must be a member of the Academic Council in the School of Engineering.
  4. The student must present the work in an appropriate forum, e.g., in the same session as honors theses are presented in the department of the advisor. All honors programs require some public presentation of the thesis or project.

Exploring Sustainable Architecture+Engineering as a Major

Are you wondering whether a Sustainable Architecture+Engineering major is for you?  If so, here are some recommended courses accessible early in your undergraduate career that will help you explore your interest in our major. If you end up joining our program, this early start on fulfilling requirements will pay off by giving you more flexibility in class scheduling for your junior and senior years.

  • For an introduction to architecture, the following classes are readily accessible to frosh/sophomores, and can count towards the major:
  • CEE 31Q: Accessing Architecture Through Drawing (A, S)
  • CEE 120A: Building Modeling for Design & Construction (A, Sum)
  • CEE 133A: Studio 1 – Architecture: Light, Space, and Movement (A, W, S)
  • CEE 32 series
  • CEE 33 series
  • For an introduction to engineering, classes required for all our declared majors that are readily accessible to frosh/sophomores include:
  • ENGR14: Introduction to Solid Mechanics [prerequisite: PHYSICS 41] (A, W, S)
  • CEE 100A: Managing Sustainable Building Projects [WIM] (A)
  • The following Science/Math classes are required for almost all majors within the School of Engineering:
  • MATH 19+20+21 or up to 10 units AP Calculus
  • PHYSICS 41: Mechanics (W) [co-req: MATH 21] or 4-5 units of AP Physics C (depending upon year entered) if AP score of 5 and Physics diagnostic places into 43/45.
  • STATS: Majors may use STATS 60 (A,W,S) or take a calculus-based STATS course that will transfer to many other SoE majors (110, 116; CME 106, CEE 203, etc.).

Requirements: Major in Sustainable Architectural + Engineering

Mathematics and Science (32 units minimum), including

  • MATH 19, 20, 21.  Calculus (or 10 units AP BC Calculus)
  • MATH 51 or CME 100. Linear Algebra / Vector Calculus for Engineers
  • Statistics & Probability course from list of approved courses (see UGHB website).
  • PHYSICS 41. Mechanics (or AP Physics C, score of 5) [co-req: MATH 21]
  • Additional SoE-approved Science or Math electives (see UGHB website) to reach 32 units total.  

Recommended science courses for the Major 

  • PHYSICS 23 or 43. Electricity & Magnetism
  • EARTHSYS 101. Energy and the Environment
  • EARTHSYS 102. Fundamentals of Renewable Power
  • CEE 64*. Air Pollution & Global Warming: History, Science, Solutions
  • CEE 70* (same as ENGR 90). Environmental Science and Technology

* Courses used for the Science requirement may not also be counted for Engineering Fundamental or Depth requirements. 

Additional SoE-approved Science or Math electives to reach 32 units total.  Choose from the School of Engineering list of approved math and science courses, which can be found on the Approved Courses page of the UGHB website.

Technology in Society

One 3-5 unit course required. 

Choose from the SoE-approved list of Technology in Society. Course chosen must be on the list the year it is taken.

Engineering Fundamentals and Depth 

A minimum of 62 units required from Engineering Fundamentals, Depth Core, Depth Options, Breadth Focus Options & Depth Electives 

Engineering Fundamentals: Two courses required
ENGR 14Intro to Solid Mechanics (required)A, W, S3
 Engineering Fundamentals Elective (see approved list) 3-5

Depth Core

CEE 133AStudio 1: Architecture - Space, Light, and MovementA, W, S5
CEE 133BStudio 2: Architecture - Architectonics and UrbanismW,S5
CEE 100 Managing Sustainable Building ProjectsA4
CEE 120ABuilding Modeling for Design & ConstructionA, Sum3
CEE 134ASustainable Design Practice*3
CEE 176AEnergy Efficient BuildingsA, Sum3
CEE 132ASA+E Colloquium AA1
CEE 132BSA+E Colloquium BW1
CEE 132CSA+E Colloquium CS1

* Course offered in 2024-25 and future years.

Depth Options 

CEE 133C orCEE 133D orCEE 133E

Studio 3: Integrated Architecture+EngineeringStudio 4: Integrated Architecture+Engineering

Studio 5: Integrated Design Capstone Prep





CEE 133F orCEE 33FStudio 6: Integrated Design CapstoneHonors Thesis DevelopmentSW,S55
**History & Theory Course 1A,W,S3-4
**History & Theory Course 2A,W,S3-4

** See list of approved History & Theory course options under Breadth Focus Options: Design History & Theory below.

Breadth Focus Options 

Choose 2 courses from 2 of these Breadth Focus areas:

Studio Experience
CEE 131DUrban Design StudioS5
CEE 133CStudio 3: Integrated Architecture+Engineering*A5
CEE 133DStudio 4: Integrated Architecture+Engineering*W5
CEE 133EStudio 5: Integrated Design Capstone Prep*W5
CEE 176GDesign Thinking for SustainabilityA3

* Studio chosen as a Depth Option cannot also be counted as a Breadth Focus Option.

CEE 131GFabrication in Architectural DesignW3
CEE 32FLight, Color, and Space*3
CEE 132HResponsive StructuresS2
ME 103Product Realization: Design and MakingA,W,S4

* Course not offered in 2023-24.

Building Performance & Energy
CEE 120BBuilding Systems Modeling & IntegrationW3
CEE 156Building System Design & AnalysisW3-4
CEE 226Life Cycle Assessment for Complex SystemsA3
CEE 226ETechniques and Methods for Decarbonized and Energy Efficient Building DesignS2
Sustainable Cities
CEE 131DUrban Design StudioS5
CEE 131ETeam Urban Design StudioS5
CEE 177LSmart Cities & CommunitiesSum3
CEE 243AIntroduction to Urban Systems EngineeringS3
Design History & Theory
CEE 32DConstruction: The Writing of ArchitectureS4
CEE 32RAmerican ArchitectureA4
CEE 33BJapanese Modern ArchitectureW4
CEE 134CTheory and Practice of Global Sustainability*3
CEE 134DConstructing Sustainability: 10 Buildings, 10 Documents*3

* Course offered in 2024-25.

** Courses chosen as a Depth Option cannot also be counted as a Breadth Focus Option.

Structures & Construction
CEE 101AMechanics of MaterialsW4
CEE 131CHow Buildings are Made – AEC Methods & PracticeS3
CEE 131DBuilding Envelope Design & ConstructionS3
CEE 141AInfrastructure Project DevelopmentA3
CEE 141BInfrastructure Project DeliveryW3
CEE 180Structural AnalysisS4
CEE 182Structural DesignW3-4
CEE 241Managing Fabrication and ConstructionA4

Other Engineering Depth Electives

Students must take at least 62 units of Engineering Fundamentals + Depth Core + Depth Options + Breadth Options + Depth Electives to satisfy the degree program requirements and graduate.  For the remaining engineering elective units:

  1. Additional electives may be selected from the Breadth Focus areas above.  Note that a course may only be counted towards one elective, option, or core requirement; it may not be double counted. 
  2. The following additional Engineering Fundamental courses may count:  ENGR 10, 15, 21, 25E, 40M (or 40A), and 50 (or 50E or 50M).
  3. The following additional Engineering Elective courses may count:
    • CEE 31 series
    • CEE 32 series
    • CEE 101 series
    • CEE 120 series
    • CEE 131 series
    • CEE 133 series
    • CEE 139
    • CEE 140 series
    • CEE 180, 182, or 183
  • ENGR 50 or 103
  • ME 100, 110, 115 series, 120, or 203
  1. The following additional non-engineering Elective courses may count up to 4 units:
    • ArtStudio 140 thru 180 series 
    • FILMPROD 114
    • URBANST 110, 113, 163, or 171
    • Other related electives (verify with your major advisor)
  2. Students may also count up to 4 units of CEE 199/199L in this category.

Grading Requirements

  • All courses taken for the major must be taken for a letter grade if that option is offered by the instructor, and a grade of ‘C-‘ or better received.
  • The minimum combined GPA for all courses in Engineering Fundamentals and Depth Core + Depth Options + Breadth Options + Electives is 2.0. 

Suggested Course Concentrations and Sequences

Subject to the requirements outlined above, students have considerable leeway in choosing their breadth focus area options, depth electives, and other courses to best suit their background and interests. By careful selection of technically-oriented depth electives, students can complement their studio experience with courses in structural analysis, construction, cost estimating, and energy efficiency.  

Students intending to apply to architecture graduate schools are encouraged to take:

  • studio art courses as early as possible in their academic career 
  • more than the minimum number of required studio classes
  • graphics and presentation (CEE 31B) and the portfolio preparation class (CEE 139) 

Students are also encouraged to take digital modeling courses which will equip them with the skillsets needed to pursue architectural and engineering internships.

Instructions for Declaring a Major in Sustainable Architecture + Engineering

  1. Enter your major declaration as Engineering with a subplan of Sustainable Architecture+Engineering (SAE) in Axess.
  2. Download and complete the Excel version of the Sustainable Architecture+Engineering (SAE) program sheet from the UGHB website. The program sheets available for you to use depend upon the years you matriculated at Stanford.  Start by choosing the academic year for the major you wish to use (i.e. 2023-24).  It must be from a year you are matriculated at Stanford.
  3. Complete the program sheet, indicating how you plan to fulfill the major requirements and which electives you plan to take. 
    • Be sure to list the courses you have already taken and those you plan to take. 
    • Please include full titles of the classes. Refer to the UGBH website for a list of the approved math, science, Engineering Fundamental, and TIS courses. 
    • You will have the opportunity to revise this program sheet later, so please fill in as many of the courses as you can and print it out.
  4. Email your Stanford transcript (unofficial is fine) and completed program sheet to our Jill Filice, CEE Student Services,, requesting to have a Sustainable Architecture+Engineering major advisor assigned to you. You may request a specific advisor if you wish.
  5. Schedule a meeting with your major advisor and email them your program sheet and unofficial transcript, so you may both review your course study plan, and your advisor may approve/sign off on your program sheet.
  6. Email your signed program sheet to Jill Filice (, who upon receiving your signed program sheet will approve your major declaration in Axess.
  7. You are encouraged to meet with your major advisor at least once a quarter to review your academic progress. 
    • If your program sheet changes as you progress, print out a revised sheet, obtain your advisor’s signature, and return the approved sheet to the CEE Student Services Office. 
    • Note that any deviations from the approved program need to be petitioned; see below. 
  8. Be sure to submit a final program sheet at the beginning of the quarter you plan to graduate.

Other information

Procedures for requesting transfer credits and program deviations are described in detail on the Transfer-AP-Exceptions page of the UGHB website. The online forms may be filled out electronically.  If you are requesting transfer credits or program deviation, you should bring a completed petition form with your unofficial transcript to the CEE Student Services office. Obtain your program sheet from your file and attach to your other forms for processing.

Check with the CEE Student Services Specialist to make sure that you are on the CEE UG student email list for important announcements about department events and activities.