Jun 23, 2024  
2018-2019 University Catalog 
2018-2019 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical Engineering, BSME

About the Program

The Mechanical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Program Educational Objectives and Outcomes
The School of Mechanical Engineering offers coursework leading to the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.ME).
The program educational objectives of the School of Mechanical Engineering are to matriculate graduates who conduct themselves in a responsible, professional and ethical manner (citizenship), and who upon the years following graduation, are committed to:

1. Discovery

  • Actively embracing leadership roles in the practice of engineering in industry and government organizations (including both traditional and emerging technical areas).
  • Conducting research and development across disciplines (via graduate study or industry) to advance technology and foster innovation in order to compete successfully in the global economy.
  • Applying their engineering problem-solving skills to less-traditional career paths (e.g., law, medicine, business, education, start-up ventures, public policy, etc.).

2. Learning

  • Actively participating in ongoing professional development opportunities (conferences, workshops, short courses, graduate education, etc.).
  • Updating and adapting their core knowledge and abilities to compete in the ever-changing global enterprise.
  • Developing new knowledge and skills to pursue new career opportunities.

3. Engagement

  • Serving as ambassadors for the engineering profession, inspiring others to develop a passion for engineering.
  • Exchanging and applying knowledge to create new opportunities that advance society and solve a variety of technical and social problems.
  • Advancing entrepreneurial ventures and fostering activities that support sustainable economic development to enhance the quality of life of people in the state, across the country and around the world.

In order for students to achieve these objectives. the program of study should satisfy the comprehensive set of program outcomes categorized in three areas: engineering foundational skills, professional skills, and emerging skills.

Engineering Foundational Skills

The program should provide students with a solid technical foundation for their careers. This foundation should include:

•    Engineering fundamentals.
•    Analytical skills.
•    Experimental skills.
•    Modern engineering tools.
•    Design skills.
•    Impact of engineering solutions.

Professional Skills

The program should prepare students to be effective engineers in the professional workplace. To this end, students should develop the following professional skills:

•    Communication skills.
•    Teamwork skills.
•    Professional and ethical responsibility.
•    Contemporary issues.
•    Lifelong learning.

Emerging Skills

The program should assist students in fostering a number of other emerging skills that are becoming increasingly critical to the success of future engineers. These emerging skills include:

•    Leadership.
•    Global engineering skills.
•    Innovation.
•    Entrepreneurship.

Mechanical Engineering Program Description

To achieve the above stated objectives and outcomes, the School of Mechanical Engineering has developed a comprehensive, integrated curriculum to provide students with a broad base on which to build an engineering career. It is founded on basic sciences, including physics, chemistry and mathematics; computer science and computer graphics; and oral and written communications skills.

To this foundation, a core of engineering science and design courses are added in three main curriculum stems: mechanical sciences (statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, and structures and properties of materials), information technologies (electric circuits and electronics, instrumentation, system modeling and controls), and thermal-fluid sciences (thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer).

Throughout the core curriculum, students gain extensive laboratory and computer experience via modern facilities in all basic areas of the discipline. In addition, the curriculum provides an integrated innovation, design and entrepreneurship experience. This experience - which begins with a sophomore-level cornerstone course and culminates with a senior-level capstone course - emphasizes innovation, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, communication skills, practical hands-on experience with various product design processes and entrepreneurship. Students then specialize by selecting two restricted electives that provide additional depth in two of the three main stems of the curriculum. Students can further specialize with 12 credit hours of technical/professional electives in engineering, mathematics, natural sciences, select management courses or individualized project courses (ME 49700 ).

Just as design experiences are integrated throughout the mechanical engineering curriculum, so too are opportunities to communicate technical information, both orally and in writing. Students experience a variety of communications opportunities in progressing through the mechanical engineering program.

As a freshman, each student is required to take both oral and written communication courses. These courses lay the foundation for future oral and written communications. In the sophomore seminar course (ME 29000 ), students learn how to create professional documents and correspondence (e.g., resumes, letters, memos, etc.), develop personal interview skills, learn the basics of Web publishing and develop a global engineering professional profile. In ME 26300 , the cornerstone design course, student teams prepare formal design reports, give oral presentations and maintain individual design notebooks. The communications experiences culminate in the capstone design course (ME 46300 ), in which student teams prepare presentations and reports for the sponsors of their selected design projects and compete in an innovation competition.

A major feature of the curriculum is the flexible 39-credit-hour elective program, of which 24 credit hours are taken during the senior year. This allows for a program with considerable breadth while also permitting the depth and specialization in an area of the student’s professional interests.

Because of the wide scope of activities in which the mechanical engineer is engaged and because of the broad spectrum of student interests, mechanical engineering graduates may choose either to enter the profession immediately after receiving their bachelor’s degree or go directly to graduate school. In either case, the curriculum provides a firm foundation for continuing education and fosters a commitment to lifelong learning, whether it is as a member of the engineering profession, through formal graduate work or through independent study.

Visit the School of Mechanical Engineering website for more current information about the undergraduate programs.


The School of Mechanical Engineering sponsors a broad array of need-based and merit-based scholarships. Eligible candidates (incoming sophomores through senior mechanical engineering students) are invited in mid-spring to submit applications for consideration. To qualify, students are required to have a scholastic index of 2.8 or better on a 4.0 scale. Awards range from $500 to $10,000 and total more than $1 million. This scholarship money is in addition to the University’s Trustees and Presidential scholarships in Mechanical Engineering, which, when fully funded, will include more than 300 awards worth a total of more than $2 million.

Professional Student Organizations and Activities

Student organizations provide valuable opportunities for students to enhance organizational, communication, teamwork and leadership skills. Students also are strongly encouraged to become involved in one or more extracurricular activities.  Student organizations specific to mechanical engineering include the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Purdue Mechanical Engineering Ambassadors (PMEA), Pi Tau Sigma (the Mechanical Engineering Honor Society) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Professional Practice Program with Industry or Governmental Organizations

The professional practice programs enable qualified students to obtain experiences related to their specific engineering discipline with selected employers while completing the requirements of their undergraduate degree. Students can participate in a five-session co-op, a three-session co-op or an internship program. International internships also are available through the Global Partners in Apprenticeship Learning (G-PAL) Program within the Office Professional Practice (OPP). OPP also offers the GEARE program, which combines domestic and international work experiences, a design project component and an opportunity to study abroad.
For more information, visit the
Office of Professional Practice website.

​Honors Program
An honors program is available for outstanding mechanical engineering undergraduate students. The honors program is a mechanism for:

  •  Participating in small enrollment, targeted courses.
  •  Participating in a directed project in their area of interest.
  • Stimulating interest in graduate study and research/academic careers.
  • Developing a community of honors scholars.
  • Allowing for special recognition of high levels of academic achievement.

The Honors program utilizes the technical, general education and elective requirements for the B.S.ME degree in a way that is consistent with the honors designation. Admission to the Honors program is automatic for any student meeting the admission requirements for the First-Year Engineering Honors program. Students not in the First-Year Engineering Honors program can apply for admission into the Honors program by completing an honors application and meeting the required cumulative GPA for admission.

Completion of the Honors program requires earning a required minimum number of honor points (credit hours) earned in one of the following manners:

•    Take honors courses (including the sophomore and junior honors seminar sequence).
•    Complete honors experiences (e.g., study abroad, special work experiences, etc.).
•    Take honors strategic initiative courses (defined by the College of Engineering).

Successful completion of the minimum number of honors points will earn a student a certificate and his/her transcript will read, “Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering - Honors Program Awarded at West Lafayette.”
More details on the Honors program can be found on the ME website.

Study Abroad
Global competency skills are a major focus in the School of Mechanical Engineering. By graduation, roughly 30 percent of ME graduates have international experience (as compared to about 3 percent nationally in engineering). The School of Mechanical Engineering has developed an extensive and multi-faceted study abroad program that ranges from an extensive eight-month experience abroad to a three-week stint abroad. This staged program allows students to pick and choose the program that best fits their requirements and timing. A brief summary of these programs are provided below. Additional information can be found on the ME Global Programs website.

GEARE Program. The Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education (GEARE) program is the flagship international program. The GEARE program involves an eight-month experience abroad that includes both a domestic and international internship, a semester of study abroad with fully transferable engineering course credits (all taught in English) and a one-semester to two semester design team project with students from the international partner institution.

ETA Program. The Engineering Term Abroad (ETA) program is a one-semester study abroad at a partner institution and includes fully transferable engineering course credits (all taught in English). This enables participating students to continue with their engineering subjects and thus stay on track for graduation while still gaining international experience. Current partner institutions exist in Australia, China, England, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain and Turkey, among other locations and is our most popular international program.

RTA Program. The Research Term Abroad (RTA) program is designed to enable interested students to conduct undergraduate engineering research at a partner institution. Currently our primary partners are Hannover University and Clausthal University of Technology in Germany.

G-PAL Program. The Global Partners in Apprenticeship (G-PAL) program offers a pair of concurrent international internship positions, one for a student from the target international partner country and one for a student from the U.S. Preferably both students will be housed at the international student’s home for the duration of the assignment abroad. The G-PAL students can also come from two different academic disciplines. Internships are typically three months to six months in duration.

MTA. Special Summer Module 1 Term Abroad (MTA) programs are available to select locations and provide students with a short three-week stint in a foreign country. Brief stints like this enable students to test the waters to see if they would be interested in a more protracted time abroad. As such, this program compliments other existing programs and provides a vehicle for students experience going abroad without a long-term commitment. Currently, the summer program involves international experiences in China.

Registration for the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination

Mechanical engineering seniors are strongly encouraged to take the first step to becoming registered professional engineers (PEs) by registering and successfully completing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, also called the Engineer in Training (EIT) exam. Seniors can register to take the FE exam at the West Lafayette campus in their senior year prior to graduation. Announcements appear periodically throughout the semester to alert students to this opportunity.  The FE exam can be taken daily at Purdue in the months of January/February, April/May, July/August, and October/November.  To aid seniors in their preparation for the exam, Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society organizes annual faculty-taught review sessions on key topics covered on the FE exam. Also, a simple internet search of FE Review Sessions can provide valuable review information available at a student’s convenience.  Typically, 50 to 75 percent of graduating mechanical engineering seniors register to take the FE exam, and 98 to 100 percent pass the exam on the first attempt.

After passing the FE exam and completing four years of engineering experience after graduation, an engineer is typically eligible to take the professional engineering (PE) licensing examination. Specific information about the EIT exam is available on the School of Mechanical Engineering home page. Questions about the FE Exam or the process to become a registered professional engineer should be directed to the Associate Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

In addition to the traditional classroom experience, students in the School of Mechanical Engineering have the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research in one of the thirteen ME Research Areas listed below:

•    Acoustics and Noise Control
•    Bioengineering
•    Combustion
•    Design
•    Fluid Mechanics and Propulsion
•    Heat Transfer
•    Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
•    Manufacturing and Materials Processing
•    Mechanics and Vibrations
•    Nanotechnology
•    Robotics
•    Solid Mechanics
•    Systems, Measurement and Control

Students discover first-hand how research contributes to the advancement of human knowledge. They experience a change of pace from formal classroom activities and gain valuable hands-on skills applicable to both research and non-research careers. In addition, students develop their knowledge of the research process and tools used by professional researchers and increase their proficiencies in technical communication.  Such experiences help students connect their summer experience with their future goals, with particular focus on post-graduate education.

Interested students are strongly encouraged to consider participation in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program or the Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI) Program.  To find Purdue faculty who are active in these areas, please visit the Indiana Database of University Research Expertise (INDURE). Use the advanced search to filter results by keyword, area, grants, etc.

Preparation for Graduate Study

The School of Mechanical Engineering also offers graduate work leading to the degrees of Master of Science (M.S.), for students with non-engineering degrees; Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E), for students with non-mechanical engineering degrees; Master of Science in mechanical engineering (M.S.ME), for students with B.S.ME degrees; and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

The regular undergraduate curriculum (and the honors undergraduate program) provide a strong foundation for graduate study, and students who complete either of the programs with appropriate academic records are encouraged to pursue graduate work. Many graduates have continued their education by pursuing advanced studies in engineering, business, law, medicine, dentistry and public policy.

For answers to your questions about graduate study, visit the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Office in the Mechanical Engineering Building, Room 1003, call 765-494-5730, email megrad@ecn.purdue.edu or visit the ME website.

Combined B.S.ME/M.S.ME Program

A combined B.S.ME/M.S.ME program is available for outstanding mechanical engineering undergraduate students. This program is anticipated to take approximately five years to complete (with the M.S.ME non-thesis option) and result in receiving both the B.S.ME and M.S.ME degrees.

The B.S.ME/M.S.ME program is a mechanism for:

A.    Providing a seamless transition from the B.S.ME to the M.S.ME program.
B.    Participating in a directed project in their area of interest.
C.    Stimulating interest in graduate study and research/academic careers.
D.    Allowing for special recognition of high levels of academic achievement.

The B.S.ME/M.S.ME program requires students to take 12 hours of graduate coursework toward their B.S.ME professional elective requirement. This same 12 hours likewise count toward the M.S.ME degree.
Interested students typically apply as an “internal ME applicant” in the second half of their junior year after completion of 81 hours of coursework in the undergraduate program with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher. If a GPA of 3.0 has been maintained and grades of “B” or better are received in the first two graduate courses (typically in the seventh semester), the student will be asked to formally apply to the Purdue Graduate School at the beginning of his or her eighth semester of the senior year.

Complete details of the combined B.S.ME/M.S.ME program can be found on the Web. Questions about this information should be directed to Julayne Moser, email: moser@purdue.edu.

B.S.ME/M.B.A. 5-Year Program

The School of Mechanical Engineering in conjunction with the Krannert School of Management offers an integrated five-year B.S.ME/M.B.A. program to high-achieving students, Each year a significant number of engineering graduates pursue M.B.A.s at U.S. business schools. The M.B.A. is seen as a complement to the engineer’s technical education, providing an understanding of the business context within which many technical decisions are made. Many employers also have a strong preference for hiring M.B.A.s with engineering backgrounds, particularly in the manufacturing and technology sectors, in which Krannert and the College of Engineering enjoy many longstanding relationships with leading employers. The B.S.ME/M.B.A. combined degree offering will provide top B.S.ME students an efficient and cost-effective path for developing management knowledge as well as the highly valued credential of an M.B.A. degree. It will also open new job opportunities for the program graduates that expedite their progression to high-level management positions.

Basic admission requirements include:

1.    Maintaining a 3.5 graduation GPA.
2.    Securing at least one session of internship and/or co-op work experience prior to the senior year.
3.    Securing advanced credit (preferably math) or willingness to accelerate your ME program by taking summer courses.
4.    Completing an application and successfully interviewing for a position with the Krannert School of Management faculty.

More details about the B.S.ME/M.B.A. program are available online.

Degree Requirements

128 Credits Required

ME Technical Electives (12 credits)

Mechanical Engineering Electives - Technical and World & Cultural Affairs  

  • Technical Elective I - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Technical Elective II - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Technical Elective III - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Technical Elective IV - Credit Hours: 3.00

First-Year Engineering Course Requirements (29-30 credits)

General Education Electives (18 credits)

Elective (3 credits)

  • The primary exceptions that are not permitted for the elective are remedial courses and courses not intended for technical majors.

University Core Requirements

  • Human Cultures Humanities
  • Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
  • Information Literacy
  • Science #1
  • Science #2
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Quantitative Reasoning

For a complete listing of course selectives, visit the Provost’s Website.

Prerequisite Information:

For current pre-requisites for courses, click here.


Program Requirements

17 Credits

16-17 Credits

16 Credits

17 Credits

16 Credits

Spring 3rd Year

16 Credits

Fall 4th Year

  • Restricted Selective I - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Technical Selective II - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • General Education Sel. IV - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00

16 Credits

Spring 4th Year

  • Restricted Selective II - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Technical Elective III - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Technical Elective IV - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Econ Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00

15 Credits


2.0 Graduation GPA required for Bachelor of Science degree

2.0 ME Core GPA required for Bachelor of Science degree

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