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Mechanical Engineering

Department Overview

143 Mechanical Engineering Building

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest and oldest of the engineering disciplines and therefore provides some of the strongest interdisciplinary opportunities in the engineering profession. Power utilization (and power generation) is often used to describe the focus of mechanical engineering. Within this focus are such diverse topics as thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, machine design, mechanics of materials, manufacturing, stress analysis, system dynamics, numerical modeling, vibrations, turbomachinery, combustion, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning. Degrees in mechanical engineering open doors to careers not only in the engineering profession but also in business, law, medicine, finance, and other non-technical professions.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
143 Mechanical Engineering Bldg., Box 352600
(206) 543-5090
meadvise@uw.edu

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers the following program of study:

  • The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree
  • The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree with an option in mechatronics
  • The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree with an option in nanoscience and molecular engineering

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Department Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered in two groups -- Early Admission and Upper-Division Admission. Admission is competitive. Completion of minimum requirements described below does not guarantee admission. All applicants have the right to petition and appeal the department's admission decision. Applications are accepted for autumn quarter only.

Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (NME)

Admission to the NME option for mechanical engineering majors is by self-selection and normally occurs upon completion of NME 220, all mechanical engineering prerequisites, and formal admission to the mechanical engineering major. A small number of advanced students (either UW or transfer) may be admitted into the NME option upon application to the department. Admission is based on the studentís academic record, including grades in NME 220 and any mechanical engineering courses already taken and on prior experience/work in the field of nanoscience or molecular engineering. Students applying for the NME option should indicate that interest on their mechanical engineering application and discuss their interests and background in the essay.

Early Admission

  1. Course requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; 10 credits of physical science at the level of PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123, or CHEM 142, CHEM 152, or higher; 5 credits of English composition. All courses must be completed prior to the July 1 application deadline
  2. Applicants must be currently enrolled at the UW and must have completed a minimum of 15 credits taken in residence at the UW.
  3. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each course required for admission and minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA for all courses required for admission

Upper-Division Admission

  1. Course requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, PHYS 121, PHYS 122; CHEM 142, CHEM 152; A A 210; CEE 220; M E 230; 5 credits of English composition
  2. 65 credits completed by July 1 application deadline
  3. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each course required for admission and minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA for all courses required for admission

Graduation Requirements

180 credits as follows:

General Education Requirements (85 credits)

  1. Written and Oral Communication: 12 credits, to include one 5-credit English composition course from the University list; HCDE 333 (or department-approved alternative).
  2. Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA), and Individuals & Societies (I&S) (24 credits): Minimum 10 credits in each area
  3. Natural World (49 credits):
    1. Mathematics (24 credits): MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, MATH 307 (or AMATH 351), MATH 308 (or AMATH 352), MATH 309 (or AMATH 353 or MATH 324)
    2. Science (25 credits): CHEM 142, CHEM 152; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123

Major Requirements (95-102 credits)

  1. Engineering Fundamentals (31 credits): A A 210; AMATH 301; CEE 220; E E 215; IND E 315 (or MATH 390/STAT 390); M E 123; M E 230; MSE 170
  2. Mechanical Engineering Core Courses (45 credits): M E 323, M E 331, M E 333, M E 354, M E 355, M E 356, M E 373, M E 374, M E 395, M E 495
  3. Mechanical Engineering Option Courses (19-26 credits)
    1. Standard Option (19 credits): See department for approved list of engineering electives.
    2. Mechatronics Option (19-21 credits): ME 471, M E 473, M E 477, M E 494; two of M E 469, M E 470, M E 478, M E 480, PHYS 334, PHYS 335
    3. Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (26 credits): NME 221, NME 321, and NME 421; M E 410, M E 411; 13 credits of approved nanoscience and molecular engineering electives. See department for approved list.
  4. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes:

    1. Success in the Profession. The department's goal is success for its graduates in industry, research, and academic careers by virtue of skills and attributes learned in the program. Graduates succeed in their professional and academic positions by:
      1. using fundamental science and analysis to solve engineering problems,
      2. successfully executing engineering designs, and
      3. performing effectively in design teams, in the use of management tools, and through effective oral, written, and graphical communication.
    2. Contribution to Society. Graduates should be critical thinkers in the tradition of the broad liberal arts education. They succeed in this goal by being able to:
      1. think critically, in the sense of broadly educated individuals (i.e., be informed evaluators/consumers of information),
      2. perform independent, informed analysis on issues inside and outside of technology, and
      3. continue lifelong learning.

    The BSME program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012, telephone: (410) 347-7700, and the department has adopted the following student outcomes:

    1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
    2. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
    3. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
    4. An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
    5. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
    6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities
    7. An ability to communicate effectively
    8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
    9. A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning
    10. Knowledge of contemporary issues
    11. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

    Each student's success is measured by demonstration of the following learning outcomes:

    1. Ability to apply this knowledge to the formulation and solution of mechanical engineering problems
    2. Ability to design thermal and mechanical components to achieve a desired goal. Ability to develop, conduct, and analyze experiments or tests that may aid in this design process.
    3. An understanding of the necessary professional abilities of a practicing engineer including ethical conduct, teamwork in the pursuit of a goal, and effective communication
    4. Ability to conduct computer-based design and analysis in engineering applications
    5. Exposure to a general education program that aids in the understanding of and increases the appreciation for the "non-technical" world
    6. Realization of the business environment in which engineering is practiced.
    7. Awareness and necessity of continuing education, graduate study, and other lifelong learning experiences
    8. Interest groups within the faculty provide instruction in four areas: design; energy and fluids; mechanics, materials and manufacturing; and systems and dynamics. Departmental thrust areas for graduate and undergraduate research include: environment; healthcare; information technology; and manufacturing. Several on-going senior capstone design projects provide both undergraduate and graduate students with hands-on, interdisciplinary, team-driven opportunities that encompass such diverse topics as Formula SAE car; human-powered submarine, mechatronics, and fuel cell technology.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The department has well-equipped laboratories for pursuing research in various disciplinary fields in mechanical engineering and for fabricating specialized research equipment. These include experimental stress analysis; materials testing/characterization; synthesis and simulation of electromechanical control systems; foundry, welding, and other metal fabrication operations; computer facilities for CAD/CAM/CIM and CFD research; wind tunnels for boundary-layer and high-speed flow analysis; combustion systems performance, exhaust emissions control, and combustion engines; acoustics, vibration, and dynamic testing and measurements and modal analysis; radiation, conduction, and convection (including multiphase) heat-transfer analysis, and a bioengineering flow facility. Visit the department website to view faculty research areas.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: The department participates in the College of Engineering Co-op Program. The Center for Career Services also lists internship opportunities.
  • Department Scholarships: The department offers approximately forty scholarships each year. Scholarship applications are available on the College of Engineering Website. The deadline for scholarship applications is April 1. Sophomores may apply for scholarship consideration before being admitted to the department.
  • Student Organizations/Associations:
    • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
    • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
    • Pi Tau Sigma - Mechanical Engineering Honor Society (PTS)
    • Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
    • Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)
    • Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME)
    • Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
143 Mechanical Engineering Bldg, Box 352600
(206) 543-5090
megrad@uw.edu

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The department also provides authorized options leading to the College-wide Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) degree. These degrees provide balanced combinations of formal instruction and independent research or design experience. Although there are thesis and non-thesis options for the MSME, completion of a thesis is highly recommended.

Individual projects may be drawn from a wide spectrum of topics, which include mechanical and energy conservation systems, heat transfer, combustion, fluid mechanics, applied mechanics, computational mechanics, computer-aided design and manufacturing, production systems, materials behavior, robotics, controls, vibrations, and applications of mechanical engineering science to a variety of such interdisciplinary fields as bioengineering, ocean engineering, environmental engineering, nanotechnology, micro electro-mechanical systems, and acoustics. Flexible requirements for coursework provide opportunities both for a broad scientific and professional background and for specialty training.

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Admission Requirements

  1. Grade Point Average: The Graduate School requires a minimum 3.00 GPA for the last 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours of graded undergraduate coursework to receive consideration. The department prefers an minimum overall 3.20 undergraduate GPA. In addition, the department prefers that PhD applicants have a minimum 3.5 MS GPA.
  2. Quality and difficulty of courses taken and universities and colleges attended.
  3. GRE General Test: Minimum GRE scores of 450 Verbal (350 if English is not a native language), 650 Quantitative, and 4.0 Analytical Writing
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. Statement of purpose
  6. Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  7. Professional experience, if applicable
  8. English requirements for foreign nationals: TOEFL scores for foreign nationals whose native language is not English, with a minimum score of 580 for the paper examination and 237 for the computer-based examination

Degree Requirements

42 credits, as follows:

  1. Thesis-option students must register for 12 credits of thesis research and 30 credits of related numerically graded coursework. Non-thesis option students must take all 42 credits in numerically graded courses.
  2. Course grades must be 2.7 or above
  3. At least 12 credits for the thesis option and 18 credits for the non-thesis option must be taken in 500-level mechanical engineering courses, including 6 credits of mathematical and engineering analysis requirements: M E 564 and M E 565.
  4. At least 3 credits of computational or numerical analysis must be taken from the following list of approved courses (or from an approved plan of individual study conducted as part of thesis research): M E 535, AA 543, A A 540, CEE 504, E E 578, AMATH 581, and AMATH 584.
  5. The remaining credits (18 for thesis-option students and 24 for non-thesis option students) may be from other departments, and may include a maximum of 9 credits (12 credits for non-thesis) at the 400 course level (excluding M E 498 and M E 499).
  6. Non-thesis option students may substitute up to 6 credits of M E 599 Special Projects (not to be confused with the class M E 599) for 6 credits of classroom courses. Permission forms for project proposals can be obtained from the Mechanical Engineering Student Services Office. The student must write a research paper under the supervision of a faculty member and the credits must be taken for a numerical grade.

For thesis-option students, special projects courses such as M E 599 and M E 600 do not count toward the 42-credit total unless the project is recommended by the student's faculty supervisor and pre-approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator. Seminar requirement: All full-time students must register for a seminar course every quarter while in the master's program. Quarterly registration for seminars is necessary for satisfactory progress in the program, but does not count toward the 42 credits of numerically graded coursework and thesis research required for graduation.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. Grade Point Average: The Graduate School requires a minimum 3.00 GPA for the last 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours of graded undergraduate coursework for admission. The department prefers an overall minimum 3.20 undergraduate GPA. In addition, the department prefers that PhD applicants have a minimum 3.50 MS GPA.
  2. Quality and difficulty of courses taken and universities and colleges attended
  3. GRE General Test: The department requires the following minimum GRE scores: 450 Verbal (350 if English is not a native language), 650 Quantitative, and 4.0 Analytical Writing.
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. Statement of purpose
  6. Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  7. Professional experience, if applicable
  8. English requirements for foreign nationals: TOEFL scores for foreign nationals whose native language is not English, with a minimum score of 580 for the paper exam and 237 for the computer-based exam

Degree Requirements

90 credits, to include:

  1. Advisory Committee: During the first year of post-master's study, the student should select a two- to three-person advisory committee from the Mechanical Engineering Department.
  2. Coursework: All new post-master's students must successfully complete two to three graduate courses per quarter in their first year of study, as approved by the advisory committee. Normally this includes a sequence in advanced applied mathematics.
  3. Seminar Requirement: Post-master's students register for the mechanical engineering seminar (M E 520), in the autumn quarter of their matriculation year. Otherwise, students are encouraged to register for engineering seminar courses offered by other UW engineering programs, i.e., M E 518, M E 523, M E 591, AMATH 501, IND E 591, IND E 592, IND E 593, MSE 520. Seminar must be taken on a quarterly basis throughout the entire PhD program.
  4. Research: Post-master's students must conduct initial research in their first year of study under the direction of the advisory committee. This requirement applies even if the student holds a teaching assistantship.
  5. Qualifying Examination: Every full-time student in the department's PhD program is required to take the examination within one calendar after entry into the program.
  6. Supervisory Committee: A graduate student is not considered a doctoral student until a Supervisory Committee has been appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. Students need to provide the name of the committee chair, Graduate School Representative (GSR), and at least two mechanical engineering faculty for approval to the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC). The department requires that at least three members of the committee be Mechanical Engineering faculty, two of whom must be core Mechanical Engineering faculty. This committee, established before the end of the second year of PhD study and no less than four months prior to scheduling the general examination, replaces the first-year Advisory Committee.
  7. Dissertation Proposal: Prepared after the student has conducted one or two quarters of in-depth research, during which time the student should meet frequently with the committee chair. Submit copies of the proposal to all members of the Supervisory Committee prior to the examination. The proposal must be approved by the committee chair before the general examination is scheduled.
  8. Dissertation Research: Registration for a minimum of 27 credits of dissertation research over a period of at least three quarters -- and at least two quarters after the general examination.
  9. Reading Committee: The reading committee, consisting of three members drawn from the Supervisory Committee, must include at least two core Mechanical Engineering faculty.
  10. Final Examination
  11. Dissertation Defense

Research Facilities

The department has well-equipped laboratories for pursuing research in various disciplinary fields in mechanical engineering and for fabricating specialized research equipment. These include experimental stress analysis; materials testing/characterization; synthesis and simulation of electromechanical control systems; foundry, welding, and other metal fabrication operations; computer facilities for CAD/CAM/CIM and CFD research; wind tunnels for boundary-layer and high-speed flow analysis; combustion systems performance, exhaust emissions control, and combustion engines; acoustics, vibration, and dynamic testing and measurements and modal analysis; radiation, conduction, and convection (including multiphase) heat-transfer analysis, and a bioengineering flow facility. Visit the department website to view faculty research areas.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is offered to full-time graduate students as funds permit. Funds, however, are limited and the assignment of assistantships and fellowships is highly competitive. Aid may be in the form of a research assistantship for sponsored programs, a fellowship provided by the University or industry, or a teaching assistantship.