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Mechanical Engineering Major Guide for 2009-2010

What is Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is the application of the laws of solid and fluid mechanics and the thermal sciences to the
analysis, design and/or manufacturing of systems and products. Mechanical engineers play a key role in national, state
and local economies by bringing their expertise in the development of power generation systems (such as steam turbines, jet engines and internal combustion engines) which provide mechanical power to all segments of society. They
also bring essential expertise to manufacturing processes, efficient production methods and automation vital to the
well-being of the national economy. Their expertise and involvement in the analysis, design and development of
new products and materials for new devices and systems produce economic activity and provide employment opportunities which sustain high standards of living.  The mechanical engineering program at UT offers fundamental education in the engineering sciences and engineering design. The engineering science component educates students
in the fundamental principles of engineering, while the engineering design component emphasizes design methodology,
enhances creative skills and develops student ability to solve open ended problems of the type common to industry.

The undergraduate experience is broad-based and includes, in the first two years, general education in mathematics,
sciences and preliminary design courses that are common with curricula in other engineering programs. The discipline of a rigorous technical program along with education in the humanities and social sciences provides a good foundation for a rich and rewarding career in a dynamic marketplace. The objectives of the mechanical engineering degree program are:
• to prepare students for professional careers by developing their skills in problem formulation, problem solving, analysis, computation, synthesis, teamwork and effective communication
• to teach students the underlying principles of mechanical and thermal systems and the application of these principles in the design process
• to instill in students an appreciation for the importance of lifelong learning, individual professionalism and ethical practice
• to prepare capable students for graduate study at major universities

The university’s engineering programs are fully accredited by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Program.

Career Opportunities in Mechanical Engineering

Because of the broad-based education received in mechanical engineering, mechanical engineers play a vital role in
a wide variety of industries (e.g., aerospace, automotive, electronics, power utilities, chemical, petroleum, textile,
manufacturing); federal agencies (e.g., NASA, DOE, DOD, FAA); consulting firms, national laboratories (e.g., ORNL, SANDIA). In these different sectors, mechanical engineers are involved in analysis and design of systems and products;
manufacturing, automation and control of production and processes; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems;
and research. Mechanical engineers are also found at every level of management. Mechanical engineers have been and
will continue to be in great demand in all of the areas listed above.

High School Preparation

Core academic subjects required for
• 4 units of English
• 2 units of algebra
• 1 unit of geometry, trigonometry,
advanced math or calculus
• 2 units of natural science, including
at least 1 unit of biology, chemistry
or physics
• 1 unit of American history
• 1 unit of European history, world
history or world geography
• 2 units of a single foreign language
• 1 unit of visual or performing arts
Computer courses prior to the freshman year in engineering are also highly recommended.
Prospective students who want to enter the engineering program are also required to meet the criteria of the “Success
Prediction Index” (SPI). The formula for SPI is 10 x high school core GPA + math ACT score. The college is gradually
increasing the required SPI score. Check the UT Admissions or College of Engineering web sites to determine the current SPI required. Students who are unable to meet this requirement may register as “university undecided” students and complete appropriate mathematics, science and other courses before applying for admission to the COE.

How to Major in Mechanical Engineering

The mechanical engineering degree program is administered by the UT Department of Mechanical, Aerospace
and Biomedical Engineering (MABE). Students applying to the university should specify mechanical engineering
as their chosen major when completing the admission form. Students transferring from other departments within UT
or from other educational institutions should contact the department for more information regarding the appropriate
entry level and any additional required courses. For more information on the admissions process, visit Admissions.

Requirements for Mechanical Engineering

The MABE department currently does not have any special requirements for admission to the mechanical engineering
program, other than the general admission requirements for the university and the college. College of Engineering students at the sophomore level and above are required to own laptop computers for class work. For more information,
please visit

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

All UT freshman engineering students are automatically enrolled in the innovative Engage Engineering Fundamentals
Program, designed to help students learn basic engineering concepts and teamwork skills through a series of
hands-on projects and activities:

The College of Engineering’s Office of Professional Practice (OPP) provides income-generating opportunities for engineering students to experience realworld engineering challenges through cooperative education (co-op) and internship programs. Both programs offer structured learning environments where students develop increasing responsibilities by holding full-time paid positions in a professional environment related to their academic and career

In addition to financial and scholarship programs available to all students, the college also provides special scholarships
and support programs to minority students, including:
• Diversity Engineering Scholarship
Program (DESP)
• Engineering Diversity Programs Office (EDP)
• The Pipeline Engineering Diversity Program
• Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP)

The College of Engineering also participates in the University Honors Program, which is designed to give academically
outstanding students a unique undergraduate experience consisting of special courses, seminars, mentoring and
research projects:

The UT Center for International Education collaborates with the COE to create opportunities for engineering
students to study in other countries:

Highlights of Mechanical Engineering

Students in mechanical engineering are provided with many design experiences that build on previous exposure to elements of design and culminates in capstone project classes. This experience has resulted in numerous championships for UT teams in both regional and national competitions.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

Engineering students can take part in UT Study Abroad programs throughout the world. There are programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. You can take classes during one semester, mini-term, summer, or the whole academic year.  There are also opportunities for international internships and other work experiences.  See the websites at the Engineering Outreach Office and Programs Abroad Office for more information.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
ENGL 101 * or ENGL 118 *, ENGL 102 6
CHEM 120 * or CHEM 128 * 8
MATH 141 * or MATH 147 *, MATH 142 * or MATH 148 * 8
EF 105 , EF 151  or EF 157 , EF 152  or EF 158 9
ME 202 2
Cultures and Civilizations Elective* 3
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
MATH 231 , MATH 241  or MATH 247 , MATH 251  or MATH 257 10
EF 230 2
PHYS 231 * 3
ME 231 , ME 321 6
MSE 201 3
ECON 201 * or ECON 207 * 4
Cultures and Civilizations Elective* 3
PHIL 241 * 3
Junior Year Credit Hours
ME 331 , ME 344 , ME 345 , ME 363 , ME 366 , ME 466 18
ECE 301 3
Departmental Elective (Any 300-level or above course in aerospace, biomedical, or mechanical engineering) 3
AE 341 3
ME 391 3
Senior Year Credit Hours
ME 410 *, ME 475 , ME 449 , ME 450 , ME 460 13
EF 402 1
ME 365  or ME 463 3
Technical Elective (Must be pre-approved and petitioned by the advisor and department head) 3
Departmental Electives (Any 300-level or above course in aerospace, biomedical, or mechanical engineering) 6
Social Sciences Elective* 3
Arts and Humanities Elective* 3
* Meets general education requirements

For More Information



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.