Students in class smiling

As a leader in advancing knowledge and innovating solutions, the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction drives collaboration and growth in architectural engineering and construction (AEC). We prepare tomorrow’s leaders through strong, mutually beneficial collaborations with industry, focused on improving performance, sustainability, occupant comfort and well-being, and safety in the built environment. The Durham School offers academic programs in architectural engineering, construction engineering, and construction management, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Graduates of our degrees currently work in the AEC field as design and construction engineers, construction managers, building commissioners, entrepreneurs, authors, professors, as well as in building operations, product sales, construction and/or patent law, and more.

The Durham School is co-located in two cities, Lincoln and Omaha, which are approximately 50 miles apart. With approximately 30 faculty, 500 undergraduate students, and 100 graduate students, the Durham School is the only endowed academic unit ($30+ million) in the UNL College of Engineering and has strong ties with several world-class AEC firms (many of which are headquartered in Omaha), whose employees serve on our Industry Advisory Boards and are actively engaged with our programs. Currently the UNL College of Engineering is building a new $115 million teaching facility named Kiewit Hall that will serve as engineering’s academic hub and house the school’s construction programs in Lincoln beginning in spring 2024.

Examples of our strong collaborations with industry include the following:

  • We have a unique Industry Fellows Program, through which persons in the AEC industry are actively engaged with our faculty, students, and academic programs.
  • Architectural Engineering students benefit from a mentoring program beginning in their first semester in the program, in which they are placed within one of eight 'channels', connecting them with upper-level students in the program as well as local industry mentors who are assigned to each 'channel' for a minimum of three years.
  • The two-semester AREN 803-804 course 'Architectural Engineering Team Design Project', which is the capstone course sequence of our ABET accredited Master of Architectural Engineering program, engages over 60 industry mentors and evaluators every year. This has led to the student projects receiving the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Engineering Education Award in the Grand Prize $25k category in 2022, 2019 and 2016, and Honorable Mention $10k category in 2021, 2018 and 2015! We are the only program to have received the Grand Prize more than once in the history of the award.
  • The Durham School hosts its own Career Fair every fall, with typically about ~100 local and national employers in attendance seeking our students.
  • Consequently, the majority of our undergraduate students have an internship experience before graduation and a job offer upon graduation.
  • The annual Tradition of Excellence Golf Tournament and Sporting Clay events, sponsored by our Construction Industry Advisory Council, raise over $80,000 for construction student scholarships every year.
  • Durham School faculty engage in a number of industry-connected research projects.
  • Beginning in 2022, the Durham School is hosting an annual Future of the Building Industry (FoBI) Workshop each May. This 1.5 day workshop features invited speakers and participants from academia, industry, and government agencies, coming together to brainstorm and take actions on improving occupant health and wellness, performance, and safety in the ‘smart buildings’ of the future. The workshop is followed immediately by a half-day PhD symposium, during which doctoral students from peer programs around the world (invited to attend the FoBI Workshop) are further given an opportunity to network with our faculty and graduate students and present their scholarly work.