A highly successful program since its inception in 1946, the architectural engineering department was first created within the School of Engineering. After becoming a more professional program for educating architects and structural engineers in 1950, the program became a department in the newly founded School of Architecture and Environmental Design in 1968. The architectural engineering department has maintained continuous accreditation since 1974, and has been recognized as being one of the foremost programs in the country specializing in structural engineering, and in particular, seismic design. It now resides in a multi-disciplinary College of Architecture and Environmental Design along with the departments of Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Construction Management, and Landscape Architecture.
The importance and success of the Architectural Engineering program over the past fifty-eight years is best understood within the context of the special demands made upon both the architectural and structural engineering professions within California. California has been a rapid growth state in a very seismically active region. It has required an increasing number of structural engineers who understand the special problems and responsibilities in the design of buildings subject to earthquakes. The inter-relationship of structural engineering and architectural objectives within California's seismic zones thus becomes particularly critical along with the educational goal of bringing about understanding, communication and collaboration between the building professions.
The mission of the architectural engineering program at Cal Poly is to educate students to enter and be successful in the practice of structural engineering. The program focuses primarily on the California practice of structural engineering, which emphasizes seismic design. As an architectural engineering program the curriculum goes beyond the traditional structural engineering program to give students an interdisciplinary understanding of architecture and construction management as it relates a total project design and implementation.