Bachelor of Science in Building Sciences

Bachelor of Science in Building Sciences

Nancy Diniz, Assistant Professor
Program Director


HOW TO APPLY // Portfolio not required

Program Overview

[Please click here to download brochure for printing. Password needed]

The study of Building Science focuses on phenomena that inform the design of next-generation buildings. As the complexity of building systems, design and analysis tools increase to match ever-expanding performance expectations in a sustainability-minded world, a foundational understanding of first-principles is increasingly vital to diverse sectors of the design and construction industry. Using a holistic approach, students in the Building Sciences program develop an understanding of buildings as a set of interconnected systems that can be built, modified, and adapted to meet requirements for functionality, energy optimization and human comfort.

In addition to establishing a solid grounding in fundamentals relating to materials, structure, energy, heat transfer, enclosure and management, students also gain an awareness and critical perspective of the design process before selecting an area of concentration such as construction management, structural engineering, sustainability, lighting or architectural acoustics. Individualized concentrations may also be crafted with approval of the Building Science program director.

Rensselaer’s four-year Bachelor of Science in Building Sciences degree provides an exceptional preparation for direct entry into one of the building industry’s many sectors ranging from real estate development to construction management, specialty consulting in environmental systems, sustainability, façade design, building performance consulting, architectural acoustics or lighting, to working with manufacturers and suppliers in the development and delivery of new products and systems. The curriculum promotes a high academic and professional interdisciplinary. Students benefit from an extremely wide range of graduation choices: Dual degrees, Minors and co-terminal Masters degrees across all departments at RPI, namely in architecture, design and technology innovation, engineering, construction management or business, to name just a few.  It also allows students to continue to the Master in Architecture Program where they can pursue a professional degree in Architecture accredited by NAAB.

As a polytechnic with a long and substantial history of ‘applying science to the purposes of life’ the Rensselaer education and research setting is uniquely situated for a progressive Building Science Degree program. Some of those assets that are drawn upon include:

  • Rensselaer’s status as a top-tier research university – engaged in myriad areas of research that are well-suited for technology transfer to the building industry.
  • Highly ranked Schools of Architecture and Engineering
  • Exceptional programs in Material and Computer Science
  • Two internationally acclaimed Lighting Research Centers
  • A world renowned Architectural Acoustics Program
  • The award-winning Center for Architecture Science and Ecology [CASE]

Rensselaer’s focus on the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge in the Building Science program prepares students for leadership in response to existing and emerging global challenges in the design and construction of the built environment.

Contact: Nancy Diniz, Building Sciences Program Director

phone: 347-327-0753


Bachelor of Science in Building Sciences

The Building Science program concentration requires four four-credit-hour courses (or equivalent) that are approved by the director of the Building Sciences program. The purpose of the concentration is to develop specialized knowledge in an area of relevance to the construction of the built environment. Concentrations will be determined and approved by the Director.

[Previous Curriculum could be found here]

First Year


ARCH 2150 – The Ethos of Architecture. Credit Hours: 3

ARCH 2160 – Architectural Media. Credit Hours: 2

ARCH 2510 – Materials and Design. Credit Hours: 2

ARCH 2520 – Digital Constructs 1. Credit Hours: 2

ARCH 2800 – Architectural Design Studio 1. Credit Hours: 5

MATH 1500 – Calculus for Architecture, Management, and HASS Credit Hours: 4


ARCH 2370 – Energy, Comfort and Ecology Credit Hours: 2

ARCH 2850 – Building Performance Studio 1 Credit Hours: 5

ARCH 4090 – Architectural Case Studies Credit Hours: 2

MATH 1520 – Mathematical Methods in Management and Economics Credit Hours: 4

PHYS 1050 – General Physics Credit Hours: 4

Second Year


Concentration 1 Credit Hours: 4

ARCH 2330 – Structures 1 Credit Hours: 3

ARCH 2350 – Construction Systems Credit Hours: 2

ARCH 2860 – Building Performance Studio 2 Credit Hours: 5

ARCH 4560 – Materials and Enclosures Credit Hours: 2


Concentration 2 Credit Hours: 4

Science Elective Credit Hours: 4

ARCH 2360 – Environmental and Ecological Systems Credit Hours: 4

ARCH 4740 – Building Systems and Environment Credit Hours: 4

ARCH 4550 – Professional Practice 2 Credit Hours: 2

Third Year

Summer Arch*

* For students who have applied for and been granted an exception, the Summer Arch courses would be taken during the fall semester. For listing of the exception process go to:

HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fall OR Spring

Concentration 3 Credit Hours: 4

HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

Professional Elective Credit Hours: 2 *Footnote: this will be for Spring on campus semester only.

Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

ARCH 4330 – Structures 2 Credit Hours: 3 (See footnote 1 below)

ARCH 4510 – Construction Industry Seminar 1 Credit Hours: 2 (See footnote 2 below)

Fourth Year


Concentration 4 Credit Hours: 4

Elective Credit Hours: 4

HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

ARCH 4330 – Structures 2 Credit Hours: 3 (See footnote 1)

ARCH 4510 – Construction Industry Seminar 1 Credit Hours: 2 (See footnote 2)


Elective Credit Hours: 4

Science Elective Credit Hours: 4

ARCH 4520 – Construction Industry Seminar 2 Credit Hours: 2

ARCH 4530 – Building Sciences Capstone Credit Hours: 4

Additional Comments


  1. ARCH 2330 Structures 1 is required for Fall Third or Fall Fourth year on campus.
  2. ARCH 4510 Construction Industry Seminar 1 required for Fall Third or Fourth year on campus.

The degree requires 130 credit hours.


Image credits:
above: ‘EcoCeramics’, CASE, Jason Vollen and Kelly Winn, NY 2012
below: ‘Particles Matter’, Nancy Diniz, China 2013

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Evan Douglis, Professor


School of Architecture
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