6. College of Engineering
Mechanical engineers are broadly concerned with the engineering systems used to control and transform energy to meet the needs of humanity. They design, develop, and produce devices and systems from space probes to washing machines, from turbojet engines to lawn mowers, from automatic machine tools and vending machines to computer-controlled systems. Because mechanical engineering is one of the broadest-based fields of technical study, it is also an excellent foundation for further education in business, law, medicine, and other professions that require a good working knowledge of science and technology.
The mechanical engineering department is dedicated to graduating mechanical engineers who practice mechanical engineering in the general stems of thermal/fluid systems, mechanical systems and design, and materials and manufacturing in industry and government settings; are prepared for advanced education, research and development, and other creative efforts in science and technology; conduct themselves in a responsible, professional, and ethical manner; and participate as leaders in activities that support service to and economic development of the region, state, and nation.
The mechanical engineering faculty has defined ten educational outcomes that students in the program are expected to achieve by the time of graduation. These outcomes are
The mechanical engineering curriculum meets these outcomes by providing breadth and depth across a range of topics.
In 2000, the mechanical engineering faculty initiated a major curriculum reform initiative called PROCEED, an acronym for project-centered education. A number of courses throughout the curriculum have been redesigned to motivate the study of engineering science by challenging students with in-depth analysis of real mechanical components and systems. In PROCEED, students address real-world projects obtained from industry and communicate with engineering experts from outside the University through state-of-the-art videoconferencing facilities. Undergraduate laboratory and computer facilities have been dramatically upgraded, and a Web-based portfolio system has been developed to provide a mechanism for students to showcase project-based work to prospective employers and graduate schools. Beginning with this catalog, many PROCEED courses previously offered on a pilot basis have become standard elements of the mechanical engineering curriculum.
Course requirements are divided into three categories: basic sequence courses, major sequence courses, and other required courses. Enrollment in major sequence courses is restricted to students who have received credit for all of the basic sequence courses and have been admitted to the major sequence by the College of Engineering Admissions Committee. (Requirements for admission to a major sequence are given in this chapter.) Enrollment in other required courses is not restricted by completion of the basic sequence.
A member of the mechanical engineering faculty must approve courses used to fulfill the career gateway elective requirements before the student registers for them. Courses that fulfill the social science and fine arts/humanities requirements are listed in this chapter.
The mechanical engineering curriculum includes nine hours of career gateway electives, selected by the student to support his or her career goals. Before registering for these courses, students must prepare a career plan statement and a list of relevant electives in consultation with a faculty mentor; this plan must be approved by the undergraduate adviser.
Career gateway electives may include traditional upper-division technical courses in mechanical engineering and other engineering fields, approved courses in business, computer sciences, and natural sciences, and preparatory courses for graduate study in the health professions. Students who pursue the Business Foundations or Elements of Computing program may count the program's required courses as career gateway electives.
Career gateway elective programs may include up to three hours of special topics coursework (Mechanical Engineering 179M, 279M, 379M) and projects coursework (Mechanical Engineering 177K, 277K, 377K) without special approval. Students who wish to count additional topics or projects credit must petition for consent of the undergraduate adviser. Programs may also include three hours in Mechanical Engineering 325L.
Some possible career gateway elective options and related courses are listed below.
Biomechanical engineering is one of the most exciting emerging areas of engineering, and mechanical engineers will play an important role in this field. Areas of special interest include biomaterials, biomechanics, fluid flow, heat transfer, mechanical design, nuclear science, and systems analysis. This option also can be tailored to provide a background for professional education in medicine or dentistry or for graduate study in biomedical engineering. Courses supporting a career in biomechanical engineering include
Mechanical Engineering 354, Introduction to Biomechanical Engineering
The engineering of "intelligent machines" is a rapidly growing field, demanding an understanding of mechanical and electronic components, of software, and of the ways these elements interact in complex systems. Courses supporting career paths in this area include
Mechanical Engineering 348C, Introduction to Mechatronics I
Mechanical engineering is the focal point for design and manufacturing of components and systems ranging from automobiles to computer chips. The manufacturing and design option prepares students for leadership in this important field. Suggested courses include
Mechanical Engineering 350, Machine Tool Operations for Engineers
The design and manufacture of most engineering devices and systems is heavily constrained by materials properties and the availability of materials. This option allows students to obtain a concentration in materials science and engineering as a basis for practice and graduate study in this field. Relevant courses include
Mechanical Engineering 349, Corrosion Engineering
Engineers with a background in nuclear and radiation engineering find opportunities providing electrical power in safe, efficient, and environmentally benign ways for commercial or defense purposes; extending nuclear reactor plant life, in materials analysis; developing new ways of producing and using radioisotopes in medical physics for organ imaging or cancer therapy; developing new industrial applications for neutron or gamma-ray radiation use; developing long-term strategies for radioactive waste disposal; and developing systems to maintain the security of nuclear materials. They also work with nuclear-related national security issues and in nuclear chemical engineering. It is recommended that students interested in this area take one or more of the following courses.
Mechanical Engineering 136N, 236N, Concepts in Nuclear and Radiation Engineering
Today's industrial planners and managers commonly use quantitative decision-making techniques. This option melds traditional industrial engineering and its modern outgrowth, operations research. Emphasis is on mathematical modeling, applied statistics, and the use of the computer to assist the decision maker. Students interested in this option should consider courses such as
Mechanical Engineering 366L, Operations Research Models
A traditional field of mechanical engineering is the design and manufacture of systems for the production, transmission, storage, and use of energy. This option is designed to prepare students for careers and graduate study in energy conversion, thermal system design, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. Suggested courses include
Aerospace Engineering 362K, Compressible Fluid Mechanics
Mechanical engineering students can earn certification in the Business Foundations Program and the Elements of Computing Program. Up to nine hours of coursework required for these programs may be counted toward the career gateway elective requirement for the BSME degree. These programs will be of special interest to students who wish to consider careers and graduate study in business, computer sciences, and related fields.
Mechanical engineering students may develop added breadth in their education through either the Business Foundations Program or the Elements of Computing Program.
Business Foundations Program. Students who would like to learn about fundamental business concepts and practices may take supplemental coursework that leads to a Business Foundations Certificate, awarded by the Red McCombs School of Business. The Business Foundations Program is described in chapter 3; for more information, contact the program office or the Department of Mechanical Engineering undergraduate office.
Elements of Computing. Students who would like to learn about computer sciences may take the coursework that leads to a certificate in the elements of computing, awarded by the Department of Computer Sciences. The Elements of Computing Program is described in chapter 10; for more information, contact the Department of Computer Sciences or the Department of Mechanical Engineering undergraduate office.
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First Year -- Spring Semester
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17 August 2004. Registrar's Web Team
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