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Undergraduate Catalog | 2006-2008
College of Engineering
page 10 of 17 in Chapter 6
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Bachelor of Science in Mechanical 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

  • Knowledge of and ability to apply engineering and science fundamentals to real problems
  • Ability to formulate and solve open-ended problems
  • Ability to design mechanical components, systems, and processes
  • Ability to set up, conduct, and interpret experiments, and to present the results in a professional manner
  • Ability to use modern computer tools in mechanical engineering
  • Ability to communicate in written, oral, and graphical forms
  • Ability to work in teams and apply interpersonal skills in engineering contexts
  • Ability and desire to lay a foundation for continued learning beyond the baccalaureate degree
  • Awareness of professional issues in engineering practice, including ethical responsibility, safety, the creative enterprise, and loyalty and commitment to the profession
  • Awareness of contemporary issues in engineering practice, including economic, social, political, and environmental issues and global impact

The mechanical engineering curriculum meets these outcomes by providing breadth and depth across a range of topics.

  • A combination of college-level mathematics and basic science courses (some with experimental work) that includes mathematics through differential equations, probability and statistics, physics, and chemistry.
  • Engineering courses that develop a working knowledge of graphics and computer-aided design, engineering mechanics, thermodynamics, kinematics, dynamics and control of mechanical systems, computational methods, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, materials science and engineering, electric circuits and electronics, technical communication, and engineering economics.
  • Mechanical engineering project and laboratory experiences that develop competence in measurements and instrumentation, interpretation of data, reverse engineering analysis of mechanical systems, use of computational tools for engineering analysis, integration of multidisciplinary topics in design of complex systems, teamwork and project planning, and written and oral communication.
  • A sequence of engineering design courses, culminating in a major capstone design experience in collaboration with an industrial sponsor, that draws on the knowledge and skills students have acquired in earlier coursework and incorporates modern engineering standards and realistic constraints.
  • General education courses, including social sciences, humanities, and fine arts electives, that complement the technical content of the curriculum.
  • A variety of senior elective options that provide a career gateway to further study and lifelong learning in the practice of engineering and other professions.

PROCEED (Project-Centered Education)

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.

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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.

Courses that fulfill the social science and fine arts/humanities requirements are listed in this chapter.

Curriculum | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Basic Sequence Courses
  Chemistry 301, Engineering Mechanics 306, 319, Mathematics 408C, 408D, 427K, Mechanical Engineering 302, 205, 311, 111L, 324, 326, Physics 303K, 303L, 103M, 103N, Rhetoric and Writing 306 47
Major Sequence Courses
  Mechanical Engineering 333T, 335, 336, 136L, 338, 339, 139L, 340, 140L, 343, 344, 144L, 353, 366J, 266K, 266P 38
Other Required Courses
  English 316K, Mechanical Engineering 218, 330, 130L 9
  Approved career gateway electives 9
  American government, including Texas government 6
  American history 6
  Approved fine arts or humanities elective 3
  Approved mathematics elective 3
  Approved natural science/mathematics elective 3
  Approved social science elective 3

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Bridges to the Future Certificate Program

The Bridges to the Future certificate program offers highly qualified senior-level undergraduate students an opportunity for in-depth study and research in an emerging area of mechanical engineering. Upon completion of the requirements given below, students receive a certificate and a letter from the department chair that describes the program and the work completed. These, plus supporting letters from supervising faculty and graduate mentors, are valuable assets for students applying to graduate school and pursuing competitive job opportunities.

Students may earn a certificate in the following areas:

  • Advanced design
  • Advanced energy systems
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Advanced materials engineering
  • Automotive engineering
  • Biomechanical engineering
  • Foundations of nanotechnology
  • International affairs and engineering
  • Mechatronics, robotics, and control
  • Nuclear and radiation engineering
  • Systems engineering and optimization

Students must apply for admission to the certificate program during the junior year; they must have completed all basic sequence courses with a grade of at least C in each and must have been admitted unconditionally to the major sequence in mechanical engineering. Students admitted to the program must complete fifteen hours of coursework in the specific certificate area. This coursework includes nine hours of undergraduate courses that fulfill the career gateway elective requirement described below, a three-hour graduate course, and a three-hour undergraduate research course in which the student completes an independent project under the direction of a faculty member. In most cases, the graduate course may be reserved for credit toward a University master's degree. For the program in international affairs and engineering, part of the coursework must be completed abroad; detailed information is available from the International Studies Office in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Details on course offerings and admission procedures are available from the Department of Mechanical Engineering undergraduate office.

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Career Gateway Elective Options

The mechanical engineering curriculum includes nine hours of career gateway electives, which are to be selected by the student to support his or her career goals. These courses must be chosen carefully and must be pertinent to each other and to the student's career goals.

Before registering for any potential career gateway elective courses, students must prepare a career statement and a list of relevant, related courses, and a mechanical engineering faculty mentor must provide preliminary approval. Ultimately, the faculty undergraduate adviser in mechanical engineering must provide final approval before the student's first degree audit for graduation.

By the beginning of the semester in which he or she will take the first potential career gateway elective, the student must have completed all basic sequence courses with a grade of at least C in each and must have been admitted unconditionally to the major sequence in mechanical engineering.

Career gateway electives may include traditional upper-division technical courses from mechanical engineering and other engineering departments, approved advanced courses in natural sciences, and preparatory courses for graduate study in the health professions. Highly qualified students are encouraged to combine the career gateway electives with the Bridges to the Future certificate program described above.

Students who pursue the Business Foundations or Elements of Computing program may count nine hours of required upper-division coursework in either program as career gateway electives. The approval process is the same as that for other career gateway elective options. It is expected that students will complete the program and receive a certificate. The Business Foundations Program is described in chapter 3 and the Elements of Computing Program is described in chapter 11. For additional information, contact the Department of Mechanical Engineering undergraduate office.

Career gateway elective options may include a total of three hours of special topics coursework (Mechanical Engineering 179M, 279M, 379M) without special approval or projects coursework (Mechanical Engineering 177K, 277K, 377K) with special approval by the undergraduate adviser. Students who wish to count additional topics or projects for credit must petition for consent by the undergraduate adviser. Options may also include either Mechanical Engineering 325L or Mechanical Engineering 225M.

With special approval of the Engineering Honors Program director, a mechanical engineering student in the honors program may include Mechanical Engineering 679H in the career gateway elective option.

Some possible career gateway elective options and related courses are listed below.

Biomechanical Engineering

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
  • Mechanical Engineering 354M, Biomechanics of Human Movement
  • Mechanical Engineering 372J, Robotics and Automation
  • Mechanical Engineering 379N, Engineering Acoustics
  • Approved biomedical engineering and natural science electives

Dynamics and Control

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 348D, Introduction to Mechatronics II
  • Mechanical Engineering 355K, Engineering Vibrations
  • Mechanical Engineering 364L, Automatic Control System Design
  • Mechanical Engineering 372J, Robotics and Automation
  • Mechanical Engineering 372M, Mechanism Design
  • Mechanical Engineering 372N, Design of Smart Mechanisms
  • Mechanical Engineering 379N, Engineering Acoustics
  • Approved electrical and computer engineering and natural science electives
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Manufacturing and Design

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
  • Mechanical Engineering 352K, Engineering Computer Graphics
  • Mechanical Engineering 364L, Automatic Control System Design
  • Mechanical Engineering 365K, Finite Element Method
  • Mechanical Engineering 365L, Industrial Design for Production
  • Mechanical Engineering 368J, Computer-Aided Design
  • Mechanical Engineering 372J, Robotics and Automation
  • Mechanical Engineering 372M, Mechanism Design
  • Mechanical Engineering 372N, Design of Smart Mechanisms
  • Approved engineering and natural science electives

Materials Engineering

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 engineering as a basis for practice and graduate study in this field. Relevant courses include

  • Mechanical Engineering 349, Corrosion Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering 359, Materials Selection
  • Mechanical Engineering 378C, Electroceramics
  • Mechanical Engineering 378K, Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering 378P, Properties and Applications of Polymers
  • Mechanical Engineering 378S, Structural Ceramics
  • Approved materials-related engineering and natural science electives
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Nuclear and Radiation 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; 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
  • Mechanical Engineering 337C, Introduction to Nuclear Power Systems
  • Mechanical Engineering 337D, Radiation and Radiation Protection
  • Mechanical Engineering 337E, Radioactive Waste Management
  • Mechanical Engineering 361E, Nuclear Reactor Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering 361F, Radiation and Radiation Protection Laboratory

Operations Research and Industrial 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
  • Mechanical Engineering 366Q, Deterministic Methods for Operations Research
  • Mechanical Engineering 366R, Stochastic Methods for Operations Research
  • Mechanical Engineering 367S, Simulation Modeling
  • Mechanical Engineering 373K, Basic Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering 375K, Production Engineering Management
  • Approved engineering, business, or mathematics electives

Thermal/Fluid Systems Engineering

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 337C, Introduction to Nuclear Power Systems
  • Mechanical Engineering 360L, Turbomachinery and Compressible Flow
  • Mechanical Engineering 360N, Intermediate Heat Transfer
  • Mechanical Engineering 361E, Nuclear Reactor Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering 363L, Energy Systems Laboratory
  • Mechanical Engineering 369L, Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Mechanical Engineering 374C, Combustion Engine Processes
  • Mechanical Engineering 374D, Automotive Engineering Laboratory
  • Mechanical Engineering 374L, Design of Thermal Systems
  • Mechanical Engineering 374R, Design of Air Conditioning Systems
  • Mechanical Engineering 374S, Solar Energy Systems Design
  • Approved engineering and natural science electives
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Suggested Arrangement of Courses | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

First Year — Fall Semester
  CH 301, Principles of Chemistry I 3
  M 408C, Differential and Integral Calculus 4
  M E 302, Introduction to Engineering Design and Graphics 3
  RHE 306, Rhetoric and Writing 3
  Social science or fine arts/humanities elective 3
First Year — Spring Semester
  E M 306, Statics 3
  M 408D, Sequences, Series, and Multivariable Calculus 4
  M E 205, Computers and Programming 2
  PHY 303K, Engineering Physics I 3
  PHY 103M, Laboratory for Physics 303K 1
  Social science or fine arts/humanities elective 3
Second Year — Fall Semester
  E 316K, Masterworks of Literature 3
  E M 319, Mechanics of Solids 3
  M 427K, Advanced Calculus for Applications I 4
  M E 326, Thermodynamics 3
  PHY 303L, Engineering Physics II 3
  PHY 103N, Laboratory for Physics 303L 1
Second Year — Spring Semester
  M E 311, Materials Engineering 3
  M E 111L, Materials Engineering Laboratory 1
  M E 218, Engineering Computational Methods 2
  M E 324, Dynamics 3
  M E 330, Fluid Mechanics 3
  M E 130L, Experimental Fluid Mechanics 1
  American government 3
Third Year — Fall Semester
  M E 335, Engineering Statistics 3
  M E 336, Materials Processing 3
  M E 136L, Materials Processing Laboratory 1
  M E 338, Machine Elements 3
  M E 339, Heat Transfer 3
  M E 139L, Experimental Heat Laboratory 1
  American government 3
Third Year — Spring Semester
  M E 333T, Engineering Communication 3
  M E 340, Mechatronics 3
  M E 140L, Mechatronics Laboratory 1
  M E 343, Thermal-Fluid Systems 3
  American history 3
  Approved mathematics elective 3
Fourth Year — Fall Semester
  M E 344, Dynamic Systems and Controls 3
  M E 144L, Dynamic Systems and Controls Laboratory 1
  M E 353, Engineering Finance 3
  M E 366J, Mechanical Engineering Design Methodology 3
  Approved career gateway elective 3
  American history 3
Fourth Year — Spring Semester
  M E 266K, Mechanical Engineering Design Project 2
  M E 266P, Design Project Laboratory 2
  Approved career gateway electives 6
  Approved mathematics/ natural science elective 3

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Undergraduate Catalog | 2006-2008
College of Engineering
page 10 of 17 in Chapter 6
« prev | next »
College of Engineering Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin copyright 2006
Official Publications 15 Aug 2006