Mechanical Engineering Technical Electives

Mechanical Engineering Technical Elective Requirements

Mechanical Engineering students are required to earn a minimum of 12 credit hours of technical elective credit to complete degree requirements. The Mechanical Engineering program has three technical elective tracks available to students. In addition to the standard technical elective track, there are two undergraduate research tracks (honors and non-honors) offered to students. 

Detailed information about the Honors Research Distinction Track and Research Distinction Track can be found here. 


machine shop
student in lab
students and faculty in engineering

Standard Elective Track

The Standard Elective Track requires that Mechanical Engineering students complete a total of 12 credit hours of technical elective credit hours from the following list of approved courses. Students are required to complete at least one course (3 credit hours) from two of the categories listed below, with the remaining course work coming from any combination of areas.

The courses listed below are approved to fulfill Technical Elective degree requirements. These are NOT "approved" for automatic enrollment in the course if you do not meet the pre-requisites. If you do not meet the pre-requisites, please reach out to the instructor for instructor permission.

Please Note: Course offerings are subject to change and not guaranteed to be offered in any given term.

Students must complete two courses (minimum 6 hours) from the three categories (Design, Computational, and Applications) below.  

  • The two courses must be from different categories. 
  • To complete a category, a minimum of 3 credit hours must be taken. For example, if a course is less than three credit hours students must take another course in that same category to meet the 3 credit hour limit in a category. 

In addition to section 1, the remaining 6 credit hours can be chosen from the following options:

  • Any 5000-level Mechanical Engineering (MECHENG), Aerospace Engineering (AEROENG), or Nuclear Engineering (NUCLREN) course. This includes options from the Design, Computational, and Applications categories. This does not include MECHENG courses from the Professional Skills category. 
  • A maximum of 3 credit hours can be chosen from the following options:  
    • Any course listed in the Professional Skills category below. 
    • Pre-approved Independent Study: MECHENG 4193 or MECHENG 5193
    • Engineering courses other than Mechanical, Aerospace, Nuclear, or College of Engineering (ENGR): 
      • 5000-level or BIOMEDE 4X10; CIVILENG 4210; CSE 3521, FABE 3481, 3510, 3610, or 3810; ENVENG 3200; ENGR 5797.XX (requires department permission)
      • Biochemistry: BIOCHEM 4511
      • Chemistry; CHEM 2310 and above 
      • Construction Systems Management; CONSYSM 5670
      • Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology; EEOB 2520
      • Neuroscience; NERUOSC 3000
      • Mathematics; MATH 4000 and above
      • Physics; PHYSICS 3470, 4700, 5000 and above
      • Physiology and Cell Biology; PHYSIO 3200
      • Statistics; STAT 4201 and above
      • Theatre: Theatre 5401
      • Note: None of the basic science courses listed above can count for both Technical Elective credit and the Additional Science requirement. 


Course Course Title Credit Hours Course Description 
MECHENG 5144 Fracture Mechanics  3 Fracture and fatigue of solids; stress intensity factors; stability of cracks; compliance and energy methods; plane stress, plane strain effects; crack propagation and arrest criteria. Prereq: 2020 or 2040, and Math 2174, 2177, or 2415; or Grad standing in Engineering. 
MECHENG 5162 Introduction to Laminated Composite Materials 3 Introduction to anisotropic material behavior and failure assessment of laminated composite materials. Classical lamination theory, beams, plates and shells. Prereq: 2020 (420) or 2040; or Grad standing in Engineering; or permission of instructor. 


Mechanical  Vibrations  Free and forced vibration analysis of single-degree-of-freedom systems with various forms of damping, vibration isolation and control methods and devices, vibration sensors, equations of motion of multi-degree of freedom systems using Lagrange's method, Eigen value problem, modal analysis method for free and forced vibration analysis, frequency-domain data analysis fundamentals. Prereq: 3260. Prereq or concur: 3360. 


Design and Control of Mechatronic Systems   3 Introduction to multi-domain (mechanical, thermal, fluid, electrical, electronic, electro-mechanical) system design, dynamic modeling, and control system design and analysis techniques. Prereq: 3360 or 3361, or Grad standing in MechEng, or permission of instructor. 


Smart Materials and Intelligent Systems  3 Macromechanical modeling of smart materials including piezoceramics, magnetostrictives, shape memory alloys, magnetorheological fluids, and active polymers. Constitutive and system-level modeling. Design of smart dynamic systems. Prereq: 3360 or 3361, or Grad standing in MechEng, or permission of instructor. 


Design Heat Exchangers  2 Design methods, heat transfer and pressure drop in single phase and two phase heat exchangers. Design of single phase and two phase heat exchangers. Prereq: 4510, or Grad standing in MechEng, or permission of instructor. 


Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing   4 Design of machine components, surfaces, and assemblies using parametric and feature-based design principles and advanced design tools. Prereq: 3670, or Grad standing in Engineering, or permission of instructor. 

MECHENG 5682.01

Fundamentals of Product Design Engineering  Course covering the fundamentals of the product design process, from concept creation to final implementation, including product architecture and design for manufacture and assembly. Only open to students enrolled in majors in the College of Engineering. Prereq: Jr, Sr, or Grad standing in the College of Engineering. 


Design and Manufacturing of Compliant Mechanisms and Robots  Introduces methods and theories for kinematic and force analysis, synthesis of rigid body and compliant (flexible) mechanisms and robots. Pseudo-rigid-body model and CAD/CAE software will be used for modeling and analysis study. Students will be required to work on a team project to solve a real world design problem related to mechanisms and robots. Prereq: 3670 or equiv, or Grad standing in Engineering.


Course Course Title Credit Hours Course Description


Intermediate Dynamics  This course emphasizes dynamics of single/multi-degree-of-freedom systems, including particles and rigid bodies, and is aimed as an extensive introduction to the principles of analytical mechanics. Of particular interest is the investigation of Lagrange's equations of motion for particles and rigid bodies. Prereq: 2030.


Introduction to Vibrations of Deformable Solids   3 Introduction to the analysis of the free and forced transverse vibrations of strings, beams, membranes and plates and the longitudinal and torsional vibrations of prismatic bars. Prereq: 2020 or 2040, and Math 2174, 2177, or 2415, and enrollment in MechEng major; or Grad standing in MechEng. 


Applied Finite Element Method  3 Overview of finite element method, description of finite element software, modeling requirements and techniques, analysis using general purpose software, and case studies. Prereq: 2020 (420), 2040, or equiv, and enrollment in MechEng major; or Grad standing in Engineering. 


Simulation Techniques for Dynamic Systems   3 Introduction and use of software tools for dynamic system modeling, control system analysis, and design. Application to real world dynamic systems, with emphasis on model development and validation, parameter identification, and results presentation. Prereq: 3360 or equiv, and enrollment in MechEng.


Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer   3 Introduces basic concepts in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Computational Heat Transfer (CHT), teaches thermo-fluid analysis of engineering systems, and enhances understanding of fluid flow and heat transfer. Prereq: 3501 or 3502, and 3503 or 3504. Prereq or concur: 4510.
MECHENG 5775 Applied Machine Learning for MAE and Robotics 3 Classical and modern methods of machine learning with specific applications to mechanical and aerospace engineering, and robotics. Prereq: Math 2177 or 2174, or 2415 and 2568; and Physics 1250 or 1250H or 1260 or 2300; and CSE 1221 or 1222 or Engr 1181 or 1281.01H or 1281.02H or 1221 or 1222; and AeroEng 3581 or MechEng 2850 or 5463; or Grad standing in Engineering.


Course Course Title Credit Hours Course Description


Mechanics of Biomolecular Systems   3 Introduction to biomolecules and systems in the context of cellular functions. In particular the course focuses on the physical properties of biomolecules and the physical interactions that mediate their functions. Prereq: Sr or Grad standing in Engineering, or permission of instructor.


Vehicle Dynamics  4 A first course in vehicle dynamics devoted to the basic concepts of rubber wheeled vehicles with an actual driving and demonstrated laboratory. Prereq: 3360 and 3671, or Grad standing in MechEng, or permission of instructor. 


Introduction to Turbomachinery  3 Introduction to analysis and design of turbomachinery. Prereq: 3503 or 3504, or Grad standing in MechEng.
MECHENG 5463 Introduction to Real Time Robotics Systems 3 Components of a robot system, robot forward and reverse kinematics; robot dynamics; robot force generation, robot trajectory generation. Prereq: Math 2177 or 2174, or 2415 and 2568; and Physics 1250, 1250H, 1260, or 2300; and CSE 1221, 1222, Engr 1181, 1281.01H, 1281.02H, 1221, or 1222; or Grad standing in Engr; or permission of instructor. 

MECHENG 5502  

Engineering Thermodynamics  3 Technical elective in Engineering Thermodynamics including energy analysis, non-reacting and reacting gas mixtures, combustion, psychrometrics, chemical and phase equilibrium, thermoeconomics and applications. Prereq: 3501 or 3502, or equiv. 


Internal Combustion Engines   3 Design and operating characteristics of contemporary internal combustion engines, induction/exhaust breathing, boosting, variable valvetrains, combustion and knock, fuel economy, alternative fuels, and advanced powertrains. Prereq: 3501 or 3502, or Grad standing in MechEng, or permission of instructor. 


Advanced Automotive Systems Analysis/Laboratory 3 This course focuses on analysis and testing of advanced automotive systems. These systems include advanced powertrain components like turbocharged GDI engines, electric powertrain components like electric motors, and autonomous vehicle sensing technologies like radar and lidar. Students will conduct labs and use supplied data to conduct analysis typical of practicing automotive engineers. Prereq: 3870, or Grad standing in Engr, or permission of instructor. 


HVAC 3 Analysis of components and systems for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning. Prereq: 4510, or Grad standing in MechEng. 


Engineering Principles in Cancer  3 The purpose of this course is to introduce engineering principles in the context of cancer progression and therapy. Prereq: 3500, 3503, or CBE 2420, or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for BioMedE 5550 or CBE 5550. 


Introduction to Musculoskeletal Biomechanics   3 Introduction to field of musculoskeletal biomechanics at a level appropriate for advanced undergraduates and early graduate students. Fundamental anatomy and physiology. Mechanics of muscle, tendon, ligament, meniscus, bone. Equations of motion for movement. Introduction to experimental methods. Prereq: 3670, or permission of instructor. 


Introduction to Nuclear Science and Engineering Discussion of nuclear energy and nuclear radiation; sources, methods of utilization, and projections for future engineering uses. Prereq: Math 2173, 2177, 2255, or 2415; and Physics 1251, or permission of instructor. 


Nuclear Reactor Systems  3 Introductory course covering concepts of nuclear power reactor systems, thermal and mechanical design aspects and economics of nuclear power plants. Prereq: 4505 or MechEng 4505; or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for 6536, MechEng 4536 or 6536.


Radiation Protection and Shielding  3 General principles of radiation, radioactivity, and radiation protection including radiation sources, radioactive decay, radiation interactions, radiation detection, radiation shielding, radiation dose calculations, and biological effects. Prereq: Math 2153, 2173, 2177, and Physics 1250; or Grad standing.


Reactor Safety 3 Introductory course covering concepts of reactor safety, the history of reactor accidents and methods of safety analysis. Prereq: 4505 or MechEng 4505.


 Nuclear Radiations and Their Measurements  3 Systematic study of nuclear radiation source, interaction with matter and their detection using gas-filled, semiconductor, Scintillation detectors, HPGe spectrometry, pulse processing, and statistical data analysis.

​Note: MECHENG 5194 offerings are one-time courses that vary by semester. These courses may or may not count towards a specific category. Please check with a MAE Academic Advisor for further information. 



A maximum of 3 credit hours can be taken from this category.

Course # Course Title Credit Hours Course Description
ACCAD 5140 Interactive Arts Media: Web 3 Introduction to the theory and practice of the design of interactive media for the web.
ACCTMIS 2000 Foundations of Accounting 3 A survey of accounting for non-business students; financial statements and analysis; accounting for assets, liabilities and owners' equity; and elements of managerial accounting.
BUSMHR 2500 Entrepreneurship 3 Assesses economical, sociological, and psychological foundations of entrepreneurship and its impact on society.
ECE 5570 Antiracist Technology 4 Discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities is prevalent, systemic, and global. Racism and racial justice principles are outlined. Case studies on racist technologies, those that promote or sustain racism, are studied. Engineering design methodology is used to modify or create several new technologies that help the antiracist oppose racism.
Prereq: Engr 1182, 1282, Grad standing in Engr, or permission of instructor.
ENGR 5050 Introduction to Humanitarian Engineering 3 Poverty and underdevelopment. Goal of social justice. Development strategies. Engineering for the poor, weak, and developing communities. Humanitarianism in the university and engineering enterprise.
ISE 5760 Visual Analytics and Sensemaking 3 Students learn about information visualization techniques that help people analyze massive amounts of digital data to combat overload and aid sensemaking with applications in retail and financial decision making, logistics, information systems, manufacturing, healthcare, energy and smart grids, cybersecurity and social networks.
Prereq: Jr, Sr, or Grad standing. 
MECHENG 5600 Applied Project Management in Product Development Team Environments 3 Students learn to apply project management concepts in product development team environments; includes relevant theory, tools, and techniques used in industry; relevant systems engineering concepts for designing complex products are introduced. Prereq: Jr, Sr, Grad status; and enrollment in College of Engineering or Engineering minor. 
PUBAFRS 3000 Introduction to Public Policy Analysis 3 Introduces students to the concepts, theories, and methods of applied policy analysis. Students develop an understanding of market failures and the tools available to public sector actors to mitigate them. Students also learn various methodological approaches to analyze public policy at the formulation and implementation stages. Prereq: Econ 2001.01, 2001.02, or 2001.03, and GE Data Analysis course; or permission of instructor.
PUBAFRS 3620  US Space Policy and the Global Space Economy 3 This course provides a broad survey of US space policy and the national and international actors in the aerospace enterprise. It will explore the origins of the social, political, and economic implications of space policy choices made by American leaders, as well as the geography of space pursuits and the motivations behind various countries' space policies.
PUBAFRS 5600 Science, Engineering, and Public Policy 3 Presents the history of the interactions between science, engineering, and public policy  in the United States and in the context of global concerns (e.g. climate change, competitiveness), inquires into how various federal government, universities, & corporations conduct & fund  science and engineering & explore how public sector interests & processes influence sci, engr & public policy. Prereq: Jr, Sr, or Grad standing; or permission of instructor. Cross-listed in EnvEng.


Areas of Emphasis

Students are able to use their Technical Elective course selection as a means to emphasize a particular discipline within the Mechanical Engineering program. Mechanical Engineering has eight research themes, which provide a guide for thoughtfully selecting Technical Elective course choices. These themes are not required, and serve as an option to create a specialized experience.