Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is one of the largest and broadest fields of technical study. Mechanical engineers are concerned with the engineering systems used to control and transform energy to meet the needs of humanity. In mechanical engineering, students develop an understanding of basic topics and fundamental principles upon which engineered systems are conceived and developed in a modern society. It is an excellent foundation for a rewarding career in engineering, as well as for further study in business, law, medicine, and other professions that require a solid foundation in science and technology, and the ability to solve problems.

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; pursue 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 10 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, 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, mechatronics, 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
  • Core curriculum courses, including social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and visual and performing arts electives, that complement the technical content of the curriculum
  • A broad range 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)

The undergraduate curriculum in mechanical engineering is built on the principle of project-centered education, or PROCEED. A number of courses throughout the curriculum are structured 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 based on current industrial methods and practices. Undergraduate laboratories and computer facilities are integrated into the curriculum to connect theory with practice.

Portable Computing Devices

Students entering Mechanical Engineering are expected to have a laptop computer at their disposal. The use of laptop computers will be necessary in many required courses, and individual instructors may require that a laptop be brought to class or lab sessions. For a list of minimum system requirements see: http://www.me.utexas.edu/laptopreq.

Curriculum

Course requirements include courses within the Cockrell School of Engineering, and other required courses. In addition, each student must complete the University’s core curriculum. In some cases, a course required as part of the major may also be counted toward the core curriculum; these courses are identified below.

In the process of fulfilling engineering degree requirements, students must also complete coursework to satisfy the University's flag requirements: one independent inquiry flag, one course with a quantitative reasoning flag, one ethics flag, one global cultures flag, one cultural diversity in the United States flag, and three writing flags. The independent inquiry flag, the quantitative reasoning flag, the ethics flag, and three writing flags are carried by courses specifically required for the degree; these courses are identified below. Courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course Schedule

RequirementsHours
Mechanical Engineering Courses
M E 130LExperimental Fluid Mechanics1
M E 134LMaterials Engineering Laboratory1
M E 139LExperimental Heat Transfer1
M E 140LMechatronics Laboratory1
M E 144LDynamic Systems and Controls Laboratory1
M E 266KMechanical Engineering Design Project (independent inquiry flag and writing flag)2
M E 266PDesign Project Laboratory2
M E 302Introduction to Engineering Design and Graphics3
M E 314DDynamics (Dynamics)3
M E 316TThermodynamics (Thermodynamics)3
M E 318MProgramming and Engineering Computational Methods3
M E 330Fluid Mechanics3
M E 333TEngineering Communication (writing flag and ethics flag)3
M E 334Materials Engineering3
M E 335Engineering Statistics3
M E 338Machine Elements3
M E 339Heat Transfer3
M E 340Mechatronics3
M E 344Dynamic Systems and Controls3
M E 353Engineering Finance3
M E 366JMechanical Engineering Design Methodology (writing flag)3
Chemistry
CH 301Principles of Chemistry I (part II science and technology)3
Engineering Mechanics
E M 306Statics3
E M 319Mechanics of Solids3
Mathematics
M 408CDifferential and Integral Calculus (mathematics; quantitative reasoning flag)4
M 408DSequences, Series, and Multivariable Calculus4
M 427JDifferential Equations with Linear Algebra4
or M 427K Advanced Calculus for Applications I
M 427LAdvanced Calculus for Applications II4
Physics
PHY 303KEngineering Physics I (part I science and technology; quantitative reasoning flag)3
PHY 303LEngineering Physics II (part I science and technology; quantitative reasoning flag)3
PHY 103MLaboratory for Physics 303K1
PHY 103NLaboratory for Physics 303L1
Rhetoric and Writing
RHE 306Rhetoric and Writing (English composition)3
Other Required Courses
Approved career gateway electives12
Approved natural science/mathematics elective3
Remaining Core Curriculum Requirements
E 316LBritish Literature 13
or E 316M American Literature
or E 316N World Literature
or E 316P Masterworks of Literature
American and Texas government 26
American history 26
Social and behavioral sciences 33
Visual and performing arts 33
UGS 302First-Year Signature Course 43
or UGS 303 First-Year Signature Course
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1. Some sections of the English humanities courses (E 316L, 316M, 316N, 316P) carry a global cultures or cultural diversity flag.
2. Some sections carry a cultural diversity flag.
3. Some sections carry a global cultures and/or cultural diversity flag.
4. In UGS 302, all sections carry a writing flag. In UGS 303, some sections carry a writing flag.
Total Hours126

Career Gateway Elective Options

The ME curriculum includes 12 hours of Career Gateway Electives which give students the flexibility to tailor their upper-division academic program to meet a variety of career goals, while ensuring that they graduate with a more robust grounding in a selected technical area than is provided in the core curriculum alone. Detailed guidelines for choosing CGEs and for approval of CGE choices are published on the mechanical engineering website and may be subject to periodic change as needs arise. Exceptions can be considered on a case-by-case basis by petition to the undergraduate adviser. 

Bridges to the Future Credential Program

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers highly qualified senior-level undergraduate students an opportunity for in-depth study and research in an emerging area of mechanical engineering through the Bridges to the Future Credential Program. Upon completion of a prescribed series of technical electives and an independent research study under the direction of a faculty member and a doctoral student mentor, students receive a signed award and a letter from the department chair that describes the program and the work completed. This credential and its supporting documentation, plus supporting letters from supervising faculty and mentors, can be valuable assets for students applying to graduate school or pursuing competitive job opportunities. This program will not appear on the student’s transcript.

Students must apply for admission to a credential program during the junior year. In some cases, the coursework may include a graduate course, which may be credited toward a University graduate degree.

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

Minors and Transcript-Recognized Certificate Programs

Minors and transcript-recognized certificate programs offer interdisciplinary curricula that support and extend a student’s major. Minors that may be of particular interest to mechanical engineering students include the minor in Materials Science and Engineering and certificates in Computational Science and Engineering, the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program, Humanitarian Engineering, Applied Statistical Modeling, and Pre-Health Professions. Additional information about minors and transcript recognized certificates is available online.

Integrated BSME/MSE Program

The integrated degree program results in simultaneously awarding a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) and a Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) degree offered by the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The objective of the Integrated BSME/MSE Program is to enable prepared undergraduates in Mechanical Engineering to earn two degrees in a shortened time period. By applying AP and Credit by Exam courses, having students take recommended summer courses, and allowing seniors to enroll in graduate-level engineering courses reserved for graduate credit, the program enables graduates to complete both degree requirements in five years.

Admissions. Current undergraduate mechanical engineering (ME) students may begin the application process to the Integrated BSME/MSE Program option in the first term of their third year. Admission includes the two steps outlined below. Undergraduate students not in the mechanical engineering major are not eligible to apply. It is expected that all students selected for the program in Step 1 and have been successful in their first graduate-level coursework will be selected for admission in Step 2. Successful completion will be evaluated and determined by the department’s Domestic Graduate Admission Committee and the graduate adviser.

Step 1. Students complete the first step in application for admission to the Integrated BSME/MSE Program in the first term of the third year. The Step 1 application is internal through the department and includes a resume, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Qualified applicants will be selected based on the applicant’s progress to degree completion, grade point average, and other qualifications included in the application materials. Selected students will be notified early in the second term of the third year of their admission status for the integrated program, allowing them to meet with an academic adviser to plan graduate coursework in the first term of their fourth year. 

Step 2. Students complete the second step in the application in the second term of their fourth year. The Step 2 application is formal through the Graduate and International Admission Center (GIAC). Admission to the integrated program will be based on a review of the applicant’s undergraduate record and GPA, GRE scores, performance in graduate coursework, letters of recommendation, personal statement, TOEFL score (if required), and research experience.

If a student in their fourth year is taking graduate courses and would be on track to complete the integrated program but did not apply in their third year through Step 1, they may apply by completing Step 1 and Step 2 together. These students will be evaluated for admission on the same criteria.

Degree Requirements. In order for integrated program students to complete both the BSME and MSE degrees in five years, the department waives six semester credit hours (SCH) of technical area electives in lieu of six SCH of graduate engineering coursework reserved for graduate credit taken in the fourth year. This reduces the total BSME degree requirements for integrated program students from 126 to 120 SCH.

Students in the integrated program complete 12 SCH of graduate coursework in their fourth year and 18-24 SCH of graduate coursework in their fifth year to complete a total of 30-36 SCH of graduate coursework for the MSE degree as described in the Graduate Catalog. Students have the option of choosing the coursework, report, or thesis option for the MSE degree as described in the Graduate Catalog. The selected degree option determines the number of hours required to graduate with the MSE degree. Courses the student takes will be determined with the graduate adviser and academic adviser to ensure compliance with degree requirements and to meet the students’ career goals.

Students unable to successfully complete the integrated program, or who wish to terminate pursuit of the MSE for any reason, may obtain a BSME degree by applying for a change of major back to the standalone BSME program and satisfying all of the requirements for the standalone degree. Six SCH of the graduate courses taken in the fourth year may count toward the 12 SCH of CGEs required to complete the entire 126 SCH requirements. An undergraduate student leaving the integrated program will be on a trajectory to graduate with the regular BSME degree in the same timeframe prior to admission to the integrated program.

Graduates of the integrated program will receive the BSME and MSE degrees simultaneously after successfully completing the 120 SCH for the BSME and 30-36 SCH for the MSE, a total of 150-156 SCH. Ideally students in this program will graduate with both degrees in a total of five years to completion.

Advising. Once admitted, students will be advised each semester by the graduate adviser and an academic adviser to complete coursework required for the BSME degree in their fourth year, and completion of the coursework required for the MSE degree in their fourth and fifth years. Information regarding the integrated program requirements and policies may be obtained from the ME Academic Advising Office in ETC 5.224.