The undergraduate program is designed to impart a broad knowledge in basic and engineering sciences and to provide a solid understanding of contemporary engineering practices. The program also seeks to provide students with a foundation in communications skills, principles of economics, and other fundamentals upon which they will draw in their professional careers. Special emphasis is placed on communications skills by requiring extensive written laboratory reports and design project presentations. Computer literacy is bolstered by a variety of course assignments throughout the program and especially in the design courses, wherein students are exposed to a number of design software programs widely used in the engineering industry.
The Mechanical Engineering courses are grouped into five major areas streams:
- Thermal and Fluid Systems
- Mechanical Systems
- Mechanics and Materials
- Dynamic Systems
- Engineering Design
The courses in each of these areas give students a foundation in the relevant engineering sciences with a strong orientation in design and extensive laboratory experience. The design curriculum culminates with a one-year (two semester)capstone design course in which the students design and implement a full system or product, usually under industrial sponsorship.
By weaving the design component through the core curriculum, the students are able to apply the design process in conjunction with the subject matter of the course in question (e.g., thermal-fluid systems, mechanical systems, dynamics, etc.). A broader approach to design instruction is then offered in the capstone course, in which the students work in teams, and design a system independently from a specific discipline.
The undergraduate program is monitored by Department Chair Dr. William Oates and Undergraduate Coordinator Dr. Patrick Hollis, who are responsible for organizing and coordinating the undergraduate program and scheduling undergraduate courses. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor upon entering the program and the student is expected to plan their course of study in consultation with their faculty advisor before registering for any classes.
Several undergraduate teaching laboratories provide extensive experimental apparatus for laboratory courses. The Fluid Mechanics laboratory, Heat Transfer laboratory, Solid Mechanics laboratory, Dynamic Systems laboratory, and Controls and Robotics laboratory are all well equipped with the latest tools and equipment for experimentation, data acquisition, post processing and analysis. The College of Engineering provides several computer labs running a variety of standard design and analysis software packages, including Algor FEA modules, PTC's Pro/Engineer and Pro/Mechanica, MSC.Software's ADAMS and MathWorks MATLAB.
The undergraduate program leads to a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. The program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. In the Fall 1995 semester, the department also introduced a five-year combined BS-MS degree program which is described elsewhere.
Outside of the formal classroom setting, students have many opportunities to further their education through participation in numerous extracurricular technical activities. The Department sponsors student chapters of professional societies such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), as well as the Pi Tau Sigma National Honorary Mechanical Engineering Society. In addition, the College sponsors student chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society. Students active in these groups participate at the regional and national meetings where they forge important connections and develop crucial leadership skills. These organizations also participate in regional and national competitions which challenge students to compete against their peers by applying their knowledge in practical applications.