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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

Engineering Undeclared Students

See section on College of Engineering admission for additional details on Direct-to-College admission and placement process for Engineering Undeclared students.

  1. Deadlines for requesting placement into the major: July 1 and January 15
  2. Course requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; PHYS 121; and two additional courses from CHEM 142, CHEM 152, PHYS 122, PHYS 123; 5 credits English composition. All courses completed prior to the deadline
  3. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in all courses required for placement; minimum 2.50 GPA in courses required for placement

If the number of Engineering Undeclared students requesting placement exceeds the department capacity for Engineering Undeclared students, a matching process is implemented. Factors considered include performance in prerequisite courses, quality of overall academic record, content of personal statement, applicable work or extracurricular activities, and other special circumstances as disclosed by the applicant.

Other Current UW Students and Transfer Students

Current UW students without Engineering Undeclared status and transfer students may apply. Admission is capacity constrained.

  1. Admission is for autumn quarter only. Application deadline: April 5
  2. Minimum course requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; CHEM 142; PHYS 121, PHYS 122; A A 210; 5 credits English composition. All courses completed prior to application deadline. In addition, CHEM 152, CEE 220, and ME 230 completed with minimum 2.0 grades prior to autumn quarter
  3. Minimum 60 credits completed by application deadline
  4. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each course required for application; minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA in courses required for application

Students are encouraged to complete MATH 307, MATH 308, PHYS 123, and ME 123 prior to autumn quarter.

Factors considered include performance in prerequisite courses, quality of overall academic record, demonstrated ability to take at least 12 credits per quarter, record of honors, content of personal statement, applicable work or extracurricular activities, and other special circumstances as disclosed by the applicant.

Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (NME)

Admission 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. Admission is based on academic record including grades in NME 220, mechanical engineering courses taken, and prior experience/work in the field of nanoscience or molecular engineering. Students indicate an interest on their application and discuss their interests and background in the essay.

Graduation Requirements

180 credits

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. Biomechanics Option (19 credits): ME 411 and ME 419; 6+ credits of biomechanics electives and remaining credits of supporting electives. See department for approved lists.
  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 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. Minimum 3.00 GPA for the most recent 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours of graded undergraduate coursework guarantees consideration, but the department prefers a minimum overall 3.20 undergraduate 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

  1. Thesis-option students register for 12 credits of thesis research and 30 credits of related numerically graded coursework. Non-thesis option students take all 42 credits in numerically graded courses.
  2. Course grades 2.7 or above.
  3. Minimum 12 credits for the thesis option and 18 credits for the non-thesis option taken in 500-level mechanical engineering courses, including 6 credits of mathematical and engineering analysis requirements: M E 564 and M E 565.
  4. Minimum 3 credits of computational or numerical analysis taken from the following list (or from an approved plan of individual study): M E 535, A A 543, A A 540, CEE 504, E E 578, AMATH 581, and AMATH 584.
  5. Remaining credits (18 for thesis-option and 24 for non-thesis option) 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. 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. Seminar requirement: Full-time students register for a seminar course every quarter while in the master's program, but seminars do not count toward the 42 credits of numerically graded coursework and thesis research.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. Minimum 3.00 GPA for the most recent 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours of graded undergraduate coursework guarantees consideration, but the department prefers an overall 3.20 minimum undergraduate GPA and a minimum 3.50 MS GPA.
  2. Quality and difficulty of courses taken and universities and colleges attended
  3. GRE General Test: 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

  1. Advisory Committee: During the first year of post-master's study, the student selects a two- to three-person advisory committee from the Mechanical Engineering Department.
  2. Coursework: Post-master students complete two to three graduate courses per quarter their first year. Normally includes a sequence in advanced applied mathematics.
  3. Seminar Requirement: Mechanical engineering (M E 520) autumn quarter of matriculation year. Otherwise, students may register for engineering seminar courses such as M E 518, M E 523, M E 591, AMATH 501, IND E 591, IND E 592, IND E 593, MSE 520. Seminar is taken quarterly throughout the entire PhD program.
  4. Research: Post-master students conduct initial research their first year of study, even if the student holds a teaching assistantship.
  5. Qualifying Examination: Taken within one calendar year after entry into the program.
  6. Supervisory Committee: At least three members must be Mechanical Engineering faculty, two of whom must be core Mechanical Engineering faculty. Replaces the first-year advisory committee.
  7. Dissertation Proposal: Approved by the committee chair before the general examination.
  8. Dissertation Research: Minimum 27 credits of dissertation research over a period of at least three quarters at least two quarters after the general examination.
  9. Reading Committee: Three members 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. See department website to view faculty research areas.

Financial Aid

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.