In the first two years, the mechanical engineering curriculum concentrates on the fundamentals of sciences, mathematics, and engineering. The last two years provide increased depth in the engineering sciences, including fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and systems analysis and also provide exposure to engineering applications, such as mechanical measurements, manufacturing, mechanical design, and thermal systems. Sufficient technical electives are allowed to permit each student to explore areas of special interest.

Course work in the social sciences and humanities is included for the enhancement of the student's awareness of the importance of social, political, and economic problems in the practice of engineering. Where appropriate, the upper-level courses introduce consideration of human values, social benefits, and constraints to prepare future practicing engineers to be responsive to such concerns.

The major objectives of the program are to:

  • Demonstrate successful application of mechanical engineering knowledge and skills for societal benefit through industry, public sector, or private practice.
  • Pursue life-long learning through advanced professional degrees, graduate studies in mechanical engineering, professional training, or engineering certification.
  • Demonstrate continuous professional and intellectual growth as leaders in their engineering profession and/or community.
  • ​Demonstrate the ability to collaborate in an intra-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary manner to identify issues and opportunities, and create solutions likely exceeding individual capabilities alone.

In addition to required courses within and outside of the department, students also are required to take five mechanical engineering technical electives, one engineering elective, six humanity and social science electives, and one communication skills elective. There are a total of 128 passed units required for graduation, all of which must be taken with the letter-grade option.

All engineering students complete the same requirements during the first year (semesters one and two) regardless of major or department.

The Mechanical Engineering Program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,, under the General Criteria and the Mechanical and Similarly Named Engineering Programs Program Criteria.

Engineering Elective

Students are required to complete one engineering elective course, for a total of at least 3 units. Any course offered by the Swanson School of Engineering may be used to satisfy this requirement (e.g., ENGR 0020: Probability & Statistics For Engineers or IE 1040: Engineering Economic Analysis). It does not have to be an upper-level course. In contrast, recall that only upper-level courses from other departments can be used as mechanical engineering technical electives. For students pursuing a minor from another department, one of the courses required for the minor can be used to fulfill this requirement.

Students are required to satisfactorily complete five of the following mechanical engineering technical elective courses, for a total of 15 units. The courses are presented by subject area to assist students who wish to choose courses from an area of personal interest (note that some courses are listed under more than one subject area). At least one of the five technical electives must be from the Dynamic Systems subject area.

Please note that ME classes listed below in the 2000 series are graduate level and will require permission from the program director.

Technical Electives By Subject Area

Dynamic Systems

• MEMS 1020: Vibrations (3 units)
• MEMS 1045: Automatic Controls (3 units)
• MEMS 1049: Mechatronics (3 units)
• MEMS 1082: Electromechanical Sensors and Actuators (3 units)
• ME 2027: Advanced Dynamics (3 units)
• ME 2045: Linear Control Systems (3 units)
• ME 2046: Digital Control Systems (3 units)
• ME 2080: Introduction to Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) (3 units)
• ME 2082: Principles of Electromechanical Sensors and Actuators (3 units)

Engineering Mathematics and Computation

• MEMS 1047: Finite Element Analysis (3 units)
• MEMS 1055: Computer Aided Analysis in Transport Phenomena (3 units)
• ME 2001: Differential Equations (3 units)
• ME 2002: Linear and Complex Analysis (3 units)
• ME 2060: Numerical Methods (3 units)

Fluid/Thermal Systems

• MEMS 1055: Computer Aided Analysis in Transport Phenomena (3 units)
• MEMS 1065: Thermal Systems Design (3 units)
• ME 2003: Introduction to Continuum Mechanics (3 units)
• ME 2056: Introduction to Combustion Theory (3 units)


• MEMS 1032: Automotive Fabrication (3 units)
• MEMS 1033: Fracture Mechanics for Manufacturing and Performance (3 units)
• MEMS 1045: Automatic Controls (3 units)
• MEMS 1047: Finite Element Analysis (3 units)
• MEMS 1049: Mechatronics (3 units)
• MEMS 1057: Micro/Nano Manufacturing (3 units)

Nuclear Engineering

• ENGR 1700: Introduction to Nuclear Engineering (3 units)
• ENGR 1701: Fundamentals of Nuclear Reactors (3 units)
• ENGR 1702: Nuclear Plant Technology (3 units)

Solid Mechanics

• MEMS 1033: Fracture Mechanics for Manufacturing and Performance (3 units)
• MEMS 1047: Finite Element Analysis (3 units)
• ME 2003: Introduction to Continuum Mechanics (3 units)
• ME 2022: Applied Solid Mechanics (3 units)

Special Projects

• MEMS 1097: Engineering Research Special Projects 1 (1-3 units)
• MEMS 1098: Engineering Research Special Projects 2 (1-3 units)

Please note also the following:

• Co-op students can earn three units for completing three co-op rotations and a written technical report on their co-op experience, which may be substituted for one of the technical electives. However, the Dynamic Systems technical elective requirement must still be satisfied.
• Upper-level engineering courses from other engineering departments may be substituted for mechanical engineering technical electives, subject to the approval of the undergraduate director. A list of courses that are not accepted can be found on the Acceptable ME Technical Electives document.
• Students must complete the proper prerequisites before enrolling in any of the technical electives.

Notes and Restrictions on Selecting Courses

  • Transfer students may be required to take ENGCMP 0200: Seminar in Composition. This does not count as one of the six required elective courses.
  • No more than two of the six required Humanities and Social Science elective courses can be satisfied via advanced standing credit from AP exam scores.
  • Courses that are cross-listed with other departments may be taken under either course number (e.g., ANTH 1524 is equivalent to HAA 1650) and may be used to satisfy the depth requirement in either department.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to use language courses to partially satisfy the humanities and social science elective requirements. Three out of five, or six out of ten first-year language course credits are acceptable toward fulfilling the humanities and social science elective requirements. However, the following restrictions apply:

           1. The language(s) must be other than English.

           2. The language(s) must be other than the student's mother tongue.

           3. The course(s) must be a bonafide language course.

           No more than two of the six required elective courses can be satisfied by language courses.

  • Only an officially listed School of Arts and Sciences course may be used to fulfill a humanities and social science elective requirement. Courses from the College of General Studies (including External Studies courses), the College of Business Administration, and the School of Information Sciences cannot be used to fulfill the humanities and social science requirements.