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Technical Elective Program Requirements

Standard Elective Track

To complete the Technical Elective Requirements, students will take a total of 12 credit hours. Additional details about the requirement can be found below. Please note that course offerings are subject to change. 

A.) Students must complete two courses (minimum 6 credit 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 you must take another course in that same category to meet the 3 credit hour limit in a category. 

  • For course descriptions of these courses, please click here. 

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. 


B.) In addition to section A, 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; FABE 3481, 3510, 3610, or 3810
    • Chemistry; CHEM 2310 and above 
    • 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

Note: None of the basic science courses listed above can count for both Technical Elective credit and the Additional Science requirement. 


Areas of Emphasis in the Technical Electives

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. The below curriculum are examples, and students are able to select one or several courses in each research emphasis to fulfill degree requirements. These themes are not required, and serve as an option to create a specialized experience.

Please review program requirements above under "Technical Elective Program Requirements" when selecting courses for degree requirements. Students must meet course prerequisites to enroll.

Technical Elective Themes

Research Emphasis

Suggested Curriculum

Advanced Aerospace Systems


Advanced Automotive Systems




Design, Materials, Manufactoring

Design pdf & Mechanics pdf

Energy and Environment Quality


Micro and Nanotechnology


Nuclear Science and Engineering


Robotics, Automation, Autonomy


Undergraduate Research Technical Elective Program 

In addition to the Standard Elective Track, there are two research track options - Honors Research Distinction Track or Research Distinction Track. Please go here for further information. 

Category Descriptions and Disciplinary Specializations

Technical Electives provide students with practical experiences and are categorized into primary engineering skill sets. The four categories of skill sets are elaborated on below.  

Design Category: Includes components of the processes used to design products, devices, or systems to meet desired performance criteria including generation and evaluation against constraints of multiple design outcomes; development of realistic models and simulations to evaluate performance relative to the constraints; development and testing of a functional prototype, including manufacturing considerations.

Computational Category: Includes modeling and simulating of real world engineering problems using commercial, or student written, programs/software (e.g. FEA for stress analysis and vibrations of solids, CFD for fluid flow, etc.); assessment of the validity of computational results and simulations by comparing with analytical solutions, estimates, experimental results, or common sense checks.

Applications Category: Includes applications of basic engineering principles toward design and assessment of various devices, combined with a strong appreciation of the broader impacts of such decisions and actions.  The associated “non-engineering” aspects (e.g. environmental, economic, social or legal) are included so that students have a broader perspective of engineering applications. Some examples include energy and transportation systems, sustainable design and manufacturing, biomechanical systems, urban infrastructure, clean water, and carbon sequestration.

Professional Skills Category: Includes skills and knowledge that are not technically related to engineering but are critical to functioning in the modern engineering world. Available courses cover engineering ethics, public policy, society and technology, entrepreneurship and innovation, project and systems management, leadership and communications, global/cultural awareness, global issues in engineering, and economics. 

Note:  ​The Technical Elective Program Requirements listed here are for students who enrolled at OSU summer semester 2012 or later. If you began at OSU prior to this, please talk to an MAE Academic Advisor for further information.