May 31, 2023  
Rensselaer Catalog 2017-2018 
Rensselaer Catalog 2017-2018 [Archived Catalog]

Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering

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Department Head:  Suvranu De

Department Home Page:

Mechanical engineers are engaged in a wide range of activities. At one end of the spectrum, they are concerned with fundamental engineering science, especially energetics and mechanics. At the other end, they are involved with the hardware of various technologies—the design and manufacture of mechanical components and systems. Aerospace engineering is concerned with disciplines and technologies that pertain not only to aircraft and spacecraft, but to other vehicular systems such as submarines and hydrofoils as well. Nuclear engineering focuses on the methods, devices, and systems required for the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Research and Innovation Initiatives

Opportunities for research and innovation are delineated below. Opportunities may be theoretical, computational, and/or experimental. The Center for Flow Physics and Control, the Center for Modeling, Simulation, and Imaging in Medicine, the Gaettner LINAC Center, the New York State Center for Automation Technologies and Systems, the Scientific Computation Research Center, and the Center for Computational Innovations offer additional research opportunities for the department’s undergraduate and graduate students and their faculty advisers.

Cross-Cutting Research Areas

Energy Science and Engineering
This cross-cutting research theme is centered around clear common interests in energy efficiency, energy storage, energy harvesting, and thermal controls. It builds on the strong expertise in fundamental thermal sciences and engineering across multiscales, thermal metrology, nanostructured materials, electrochemical energy storage, and microsystem fabrication technologies.

Materials, Materials Processing and Controls
MANE faculty are engaged in high impact interdisciplinary research in materials, manufacturing, and controls as well as research that effectively links the three disciplines to come up with system level solutions to important technological problems. The research interests of the faculty includes materials for energy, nano-materials, nano-composites, nanoscale heat transfer, thermoelectrics, nano-mechanics, fiber-reinforced composites, additive manufacturing, non-linear controls, micro-machining, spaceflight control, tribology, non-linear dynamics, nuclear materials, bio-materials, smart materials, adaptive structures and computational nano and bio mechanics.

Human Health and Safety
This cross-cutting research theme is centered around common interests in biomechanics, virtual surgery, radiation dosimetry, medical robotics, biomechanical imaging, and nanoscience.

Disciplinary Research Areas 

Advanced Structures/Materials 
Research Areas: Active Structures, morphing structures, cellular structures, structures with integrated damping capability, energy absorption capability; advanced materials including piezoelectric materials, shape memory alloys and polymers, electrorheological and magnetrorheological fluids, nano-materials; advanced composites, bio-composites; advanced structural analysis methods, nonlinear aeroelasticity, nonlinear multi-body dynamics; and computational structural dynamics. 

Applied Radiation Technologies
Research Areas: Accelerator physics; neutron, x-ray, and light scattering physics and experiments; radiation detection and measurement; novel radiation sources, nuclear cross-section data measurement and analysis; nuclear non-proliferation (monitoring of nuclear materials for nuclear security).

Research Areas: Fuel chemistry; optical diagnostics; solid propellants; spray combustion; nano-energetics; swirl-stabilized combustion; transonic combustion. 

Design and Manufacturing
Research Areas: Design methodology in general and mechanical engineering design techniques in particular; tribology, metrology; rapid prototyping; flexible manufacturing; micro/nano-scale manufacturing (subtractive and additive techniques); process modeling; material design for manufacturing; sustainable manufacturing; fiber-composite processing; fuel-cell manufacturing; bio-medical manufacturing; new manufacturing techniques; operation of manufacturing facilities; CAD/CAM; diagnostics and controls; polymer matrix composites manufacturing; biocomposities Manufacturing.

Dynamics and Controls
Research Areas: Adaptive and smart optics systems; intelligent building systems; control of micro/nano-scale manufacturing; learning control systems; nonlinear, robust and adaptive control, human-in-the-loop control design.

Fluid Dynamics/Aerodynamics 
Research Areas: Experimental, numerical, and theoretical fluid mechanics; advanced aerodynamic flow control techniques, passive and active; aerodynamics of low, moderate and high Reynolds number flows; manned and unmanned aerial vehicle aerodynamics; acoustics and vibrations; compressible flows; wind energy.

Mechanics and Materials
Research Areas: Acoustics; multi-body dynamics; fatigue and fracture processes; friction and wear; biomechanics; plasticity; composites; microelectronic materials; materials under extreme loading conditions; irradiation hardening; nanomechanics of materials; multiscale computational methods.

Nuclear Materials 
Research Areas: Radiation interaction and radiation effects; advanced nuclear fuels and structural materials; aging management; materials for nuclear waste management; nanostructured materials for nuclear applications

Nuclear Power Systems
Research Areas: Novel reactor design concepts; nuclear safety / risk analysis / emergency preparedness; nuclear thermal hydraulics; fuel cycle (spent fuel storage, geological repository, re-processing); fuel design and performance; nuclear data instrumentation and detector development; computational methods (neutronics analysis, multi-physics and multi-scale modeling); nuclear fusion and energy policy.

Research Areas: Multidisciplinary design optimization; aerodynamic shape optimization; trajectory optimization; optimization under uncertainty; inverse problems and model reduction.

Radiation Protection, Medical and Industrial Uses of Radiation
Research Areas: Radiation dosimetry; imaging and radiotherapy of cancer; medical isotope production, non-destructive testing (civil engineering, materials, oil exploration).

Research Areas: Spacecraft trajectory control optimization; spacecraft relative motion optimization; alternative ways to optimize propellant consumption relying on atmospheric differential drag; large flexible spacecraft dynamics and control, space vehicle control.

Thermal and Fluids Engineering 
Research Areas: Energy efficiency and sustainability; advanced microfluidics for thermal management; system level thermal management, heat conduction and solid-state thermoelectric energy conversion in nanostructured materials; nanoscale thermal metrology; interfacial heat transfer; convection and phase-change in microchannels; structured surfaces for enhanced heat transfer; nanostructured thermal interface materials; thermal energy storage materials; heat generation and dissipation in radio frequency heated magnetic nanoparticles; microsystems for energy harvesting; plasmonic nanoparticles spectrally coupled with luminescent solar concentrators; loop heat pipes; and combustion. 

Faculty *


Amitay, M.—D.Sc. (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology); aerodynamic flow control, mini- and micro-aerial vehicles, wind turbine performance enhancement, two-phase flows; (James L. Decker ‘45 Endowed Chair in Aerospace Engineering).

Anderson, K.S.—Ph.D. (Stanford University); multibody dynamics, advanced algorithm development, parallel computing, molecular dynamics (Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies).

Borca-Tasciuc, T.—Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles); heat transfer and energy conversion, nanotechnology, MEMS; (Associate Head for Graduate Studies; Mechanical Engineering Program Director).

Blanchet, T.A.—Ph.D. (Dartmouth College); tribology, solid lubrication, surface science, contact mechanics; (Associate Head for Faculty Affairs).

Danon, Y.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); nuclear data and instrumentation, accelerator technology and radiation applications, nondestructive testing, novel radiation source and detectors; (Nuclear Engineering Program Director).

De, S.—Sc.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); numerical methods in engineering, haptics and virtual reality, multiscale modeling, computational biomechanics, soft tissue biomechanics; (J. Erik Jonsson ‘22 Distinguished Professor of Engineering; Department Head). 

Drew, D.A.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); applied mathematics, fluid mechanics (joint appointment, Mathematics home department).

Embrechts, M.J.—Ph.D. (Virginia Polytechnic Institute); fusion engineering, applied chaos theory, neural networks (joint appointment, Industrial and Systems Engineering home department).

Gandhi, F.—Ph.D. (University of Maryland at College Park); helicopter dynamics and aeroelasticity, advanced configuration design, rotor active control and rotor morphing, smart materials and structures for structural vibration reduction and damping augmentation, cellular and variable stiffness structures; (Rosalind and John J. Redfern Jr. ‘33 Professor of Engineering; Aeronautical Engineering Program Director).

Hirsa, A.—Ph.D. (University of Michigan); fluid mechanics, experimental gas dynamics; (jointly with the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department).

Hajela, P.—Ph.D. (Stanford University); optimum design, structural dynamics, aeroelasticity (Provost).

Koratkar, N.A.—Ph.D. (University of Maryland at College Park); smart materials and structures, rotorcraft, unsteady aerodynamics; (John A. Clark and Edward T. Crossan Professor of Engineering).

Lian, J.—Ph.D. (University of Michigan); radiation effects, advanced nuclear materials, ion beam technique, nano-scale characterization and nanofabrication.

Malaviya, B.K.—Ph.D. (Harvard University); fission and fusion reactor physics and technology, biomedical applications, radioactive waste management, pedagogic technology (jointly with Engineering Science).

Maniatty, A.M.—Ph.D. (Cornell University); mechanics of materials, computational mechanics, continuum mechanics, polycrystalline materials.  

Oberai, A.—Ph.D. (Stanford University); multiscale modeling, turbulence modeling and simulation, computational biomechanics, inverse problems, biomedical imaging (Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies).

Oehlschlaeger, M.—Ph.D. (Stanford University); combustion, propulsion and energy systems, optical diagnostics (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs).

Picu, C.R.—Ph.D. (Dartmouth College); mechanics of solids, micro- and nano-mechanics of crystalline defects, atomistic simulations (Associate Head for Undergraduate Affairs).

Podowski, M.Z.—Ph.D. (Warsaw University of Technology); two-phase flow and heat transfer, reactor dynamics and safety, system stability, applied mathematics.

Rusak, Z.—D.Sc. (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology); theoretical and computational fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and combustion dynamics; vortex stability and breakdown, compressible flows, viscous flows, and reacting flows.

Smith, R.N.—Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley); thermal-fluid and energy systems.

Shephard, M.S.—Ph.D. (Cornell University); finite element analysis, computer graphics, computer-aided design (jointly with the Civil Engineering Department; Samuel A. Johnson’37 and Elizabeth C. Johnson Professor of Engineering).

Tichy, J.A.—Ph.D. (University of Michigan); tribology, non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, rheology.

Walczyk, D.F.—P.E., Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); rapid tooling, environmentally conscious design, machine design.

Wen, J.T.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); modeling and control of dynamical systems with applications to precision motion, robot manipulation, adaptive optics, distributed coordination and control, and thermal management (joint appointment, home department Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering).

Xu, G.X.—Ph.D. (Texas A&M University); environmental health physics, health and medical physics, Monte Carlo simulations, anatomical modeling, biomedical use of radiation (jointly with the Biomedical Engineering Department).

Professors of Practice

Bagepalli, B.—Sc.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); product/engineering design and analysis, wind turbines, power generation and energy technologies. 

Ghosh, A.—Ph.D. (University of Washington); technology/product innovation, product/process design and analysis, mechanical properties of materials. 

Associate Professors

Borca-Tasciuc, D.—Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles); MEMS, NEMS, microfluidics, heat transfer in nanosystems.

Ji, W.—Ph.D. (University of Michigan); nuclear reactor core analysis, computational methodology development in radiation transport, Monte Carlo modeling, simulation in stochastic media.

Kang, H.—Ph.D (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology); Dynamic and Probabilistic Risk Assessment, Design and Evaluation of Instrumentation and Control Systems of Nuclear Plants.

Liu, L.Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); neutron scattering, dynamics of water, structure and dynamics of nano-materials and macro-molecules, radiation damage.

Mishra, S.—Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley); Dynamic Systems and Control, Modeling and Control of Micro/Nano-scale Manufacturing Processes, Data-driven Control System Design, Smart Building Systems.

Sahni, O.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); fluid mechanics, computational fluid dynamics, turbulence simulations, computational mechanics, high-performance and parallel computing.

Samuel, J.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign); micro-nano-scale manufacturing, design of advanced materials for manufacturing, bio-medical manufacturing, and green manufacturing.

Scarton, H.A.—Ph.D. (Carnegie Mellon University); biomechanics, acoustics, non-destructive testing, dynamics, vibrations, ultrasonic communication, fluid and solid mechanics, sensors, noise control, wave phenomena, MEMS devices, acoustic emission, fluid-solid interaction, experimental methods, dynamic hardness, laser propulsion, design and invention.

Zhang, L.Ph.D. (Northwestern University); numerical modeling, computational fluid dynamics, fluid-structure interactions, biomechanics.

Assistant Professors

Christian, J.—Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austing); navigation and estimation theory, astrodynamics, spacecraft design, spacecraft sensor systems, image processing, computer vision.

Chung, A.—Ph.D. (Cornell University); fluid mechanics, optofluidics, inertial microfluidics, biomicrofluidics, nanobiotechnology, miniaturized systems for basic biology, medical diagnostics, and cellular engineering.  

Diagne, M.—Ph.D (Université Claude Bernard Lyon I (France); control of infinite dimensional systems, delay systems control, nonlinear and adaptive control, nonlinear analysis.

Hicken, J.—Ph.D. (University of Toronto); simulation-based design, optimization, aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, shape optimization.

Kopsaftopoulos, F.—Ph.D. (University of Patras); intelligent aerospace systems, structural health monitoring diagnostics and prognostics, stochastic system identification, fly-by-feel aerial vehicles, bio-inspired systems, smart/multifunctional structures.

Mills, K.—Ph.D. (University of Michigan); solid mechanics, mechanical behavior of materials, cellular biomechanics, cancer mechanics.

Narayanan, S.—Ph.D. (Georgia Institute of Technology); micro-/nano-engineered devices and surfaces, phase-change and transport in micro-/nano-scale, multiscale heat and mass transfer, energy conversion and storage.


Caracappa, P.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); operational health physics, internal and external dosimetry, radiation detection.

Haley, T.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); nuclear fuel management, mathematical modeling, reactor design.

Hurst, J.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); control, dynamics, optimization, mechatronics.

Leong, C. M.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); experimental fluid mechanics, biofluid mechanics, active flow control, wind energy, fluid-structure interactions, experimental techniques.

Emeritus Faculty

Block, R.C.—Ph.D. (Duke University); nuclear structure and data, radiation effects in electronics, accelerator technology neutron reactions, real-time radiography, industrial applications of radiation, nondestructive testing.

Crespo da Silva, M.R.M.—Ph.D. (Stanford University); dynamics, nonlinear vibrations, perturbation methods, computerized symbolic manipulation.

Derby, S.J.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); automation, mechanisms, robotics,design.

Dvorak. G.J.—NAE, Ph.D. (Brown University); mechanics of solids, composite materials and structures, fracture and fatigue.

Ettles, C.M.—Ph.D. (Imperial College), D.Sc. (University of London); mechanical design, machine dynamics, tribology.

Hagerup, H.J.—Ph.D. (Princeton University); viscous flow.

Harris, D.R.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); reactor physics, fusion technology, shielding, reactor noise analysis.

Jensen, M.—P.E., Ph.D. (Iowa State University); heat transfer, fluid mechanics, heat exchangers, boiling and two-phase flows, enhanced heat transfer, fuel cells, solar energy, sustainability.

Kaminski, D.A.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); heat transfer, computational fluidmechanics, thermal radiation.

Lahey, R.T., Jr.—NAE, Ph.D., (Stanford University); multiphase flow and boiling heat transfer, reactor safety analysis, reactor thermal-hydraulics, applications of chaos theory, sonofusion technology.

Lee, D.—Sc.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); mechanics of materials, computer-aided manufacturing.

Somerscales, E.F.C.—Ph.D. (Cornell University); heat transfer.

Steiner, D.—Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); nuclear fusion systems, plasma engineering, radiation effects on materials (Institute Professor of Nuclear Engineering).

* Departmental faculty listings are accurate as of the date generated for inclusion in this catalog. For the most up-to-date listing of faculty positions, including end-of-year promotions, please refer to the Faculty Roster section of this catalog, which is current as of the May 2017 Board of Trustees meeting.

Undergraduate Programs

Outcomes of the MANE Undergraduate Curricula
Students who successfully complete this program will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  • an ability to communicate effectively.
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  • a recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in lifelong learning.
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues.
  • an ability to use techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

MANE Program Educational Objectives 

The Mechanical, Aeronautical, and Nuclear Engineering programs are each designed to prepare students for continued learning and successful careers in industry, government, academia, and consulting. While certain objectives of an undergraduate education in engineering are common to all programs, there are subtle but important differences that require some subset of objectives specific to ensuring that all graduates have specialized technical knowledge in their chosen field. Graduates of the programs within Mechanical, Aeronautical, and Nuclear Engineering will be apply their engineering knowledge, critical thinking, and problem solving skills and be expected to:

  • engage in professional practice at or enroll in high-quality graduate programs.
  • become leaders in engineering, science, academia, business, and public service.
  • continue their intellectual development through participation in continuing education, professional development, and/or community service.

The Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering degree programs are each independently accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Dual Major Programs

Dual majors lead to a single baccalaureate degree embracing two fields. Special programs which can be completed in eight semesters have been developed. Examples include dual majors in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Design, Innovation, and Society (STS), and others. Further information is available in the departmental office. Degree templates for Dual Majors offered by the MANE department may be found here:


The mechanical engineering curriculum offers the following four concentration options.

Mechanics and Structures
This concentration provides the opportunity for fundamental study in fluid, solid and structural mechanics. The objective is to develop broad analytical abilities and encourage critical inquiry. Programs in this area often continue through the master’s level. Topics include mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics, mechanisms and machine dynamics, structural mechanics, and biomechanics.

Design and Manufacturing
This concentration focuses on manufacturing and mechanical design. The manufacturing component addresses the development of new manufacturing techniques or operating manufacturing facilities, and the design of manufacturing equipment. The design component is concerned with design methodology in general and mechanical design techniques in particular, and is intended for mechanical engineering students interested in the design of machinery and mechanical systems.

Energy Systems
This concentration is intended for those interested in energy conversion and the development of mechanical power. Topics include heat transfer and the design of energy systems, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, combustion and propulsion.

Dynamics and Control
This is an inherently multidisciplinary area that is offered for students interested in the analysis, design and development of systems at the interface of mechanics, electrical and computer engineering, and robotics. Topics include machine dynamics and mechanisms, vibrations, mechatronics, robotics and control theory.

Concentration Electives Criteria
Students wishing to obtain any one of these concentrations must take three courses from the list below corresponding to the desired concentration. These courses will fulfill the two technical electives required in the senior year and one free elective. None of these courses can be taken Pass/No Credit and cannot be substituted by a project. A course from the list of Computational electives can be used as one of the three courses fulfilling the Concentration elective requirement provided it is not used simultaneously to fulfill the Computational elective requirement.

Students who fulfill the requirements specified above and obtain a concentration in one of the four concentration areas will receive at graduation a certificate issued by the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering indicating the association of the Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering with the respective concentration.

Mechanics and Structures

BMED 4540 Biomechanics II

CIVIL 4070 Steel design
MANE 4060 Aerospace structures and materialsMANE 4170 Machine dynamics
MANE 4180 Mechanisms
MANE 4550 Analysis of manufacturing processes
MANE 4610 Vibrations
MANE 4670 Mechanical behavior of materials
MANE 4900 Aeroelasticity and structural vibrations
MTLE 4910 Materials selection

Design and Manufacturing

MANE 4550 Analysis of manufacturing processes
MANE 4670 Mechanical behavior of materials
ENGR 4100 Business issues for engineers and scientists
ENGR 4760 Engineering economics
ENGR 4750 Engineering economics and project management
ENGR 4710 Manufacturing processes and systems I
ENGR 4720 Manufacturing processes and systems II
ISYE 4200 Design and Analysis of Work Systems
ISYE 4230 Quality Control
ISYE 4520 Facilities Design and Industrial Logistics
MGMT 4110 Operations Management

Energy Systems

MANE 4080 Propulsion systems
MANE 4700 Solar devices and renewable energy
MANE 4710 Heat transfer
MANE 4720 Design and analysis of energy systems
MANE 4750 Combustion systems
MANE 4760 Heating ventilation and AC
MANE 4800 Boundary layers and heat transfer

Dynamics and Control

MANE 4490 Mechatronics
MANE 4280 Design optimization
MANE 4170 Machine dynamics
MANE 4120 Robotics OR ECSE 4480 - Robotics I
MANE 4180 Mechanisms
MANE 4250 Mechatronic system design
MANE-4610 Vibrations
MANE 4900 Aeroelasticity and structural vibrations
ECSE 4440 Control systems engineering
ECSE 4510 Digital control systems
ECSE 4490 Robotics II

Note: Students are reminded to consult the catalog and the Class Hour Schedule for the availability of a particular course in any given semester. Students should consult the list of pre-requisites and obtain instructor permission, if necessary.


Lean Design for Six Sigma - Innovation and Product Design & Development Certificate

To receive a Lean Design for Six Sigma - Innovation and Product Design and Development Certificate from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE), undergraduate/graduate students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • complete a B. S., M.S., M. Eng., or Ph.D. degree in engineering
  • receive a grade of B or better in four specific courses:
    • MANE 2220   Inventor’s Studio 1 – Ideating Innovation
    • MANE 4220   Inventor’s Studio 2 – Prototyping Innovation
    • MANE 4330   Inventor’s Studio 3 – Scaling up Innovation
    • MANE 4240   Introduction to Finite Elements, or MANE 4963 Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics, or MANE 4280 Design Optimization: Theory and Practice

Undergraduate students in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering may take MANE 2220 Inventor’s Studio 1-Ideating Innovation in lieu of ENGR 2050 Introduction to Engineering Design.

Undergraduate students in Mechanical Engineering may take MANE 4220 Inventor’s Studio 2-Prototyping Innovation in lieu of MANE 4260 Multidisciplinary Capstone Design.

  • Fulfill one of the following requirements:
    • Perform an Independent study with a faculty adviser from MANE with focus on Innovation,
    • Defend a Thesis (for M.S. and PhD students) or project (for M. Eng. students) related to Innovation and product design and development,
    • Obtain professional experience (one year cumulative) in Innovation and product design and development through a full-time position, Co-op position, or internship position.

Students are required to develop a plan for fulfilling this requirement and seek approval from the faculty coordinating the sequence of Inventor Studio courses listed above.



This program empowers students to identify and solve problems of global importance. It includes the development of projects related to current global needs, taking courses relevant for these projects and participation in a seminar series dedicated to global challenges whose solution requires engineering contributions.

Students may declare interest in this program at any time during their freshman and sophomore years. They will work closely with a faculty mentor towards identifying a need, and defining and developing a relevant project. These projects may continue as Capstone projects. Students completing all requirements listed below will receive at graduation a certificate issued by the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering indicating their participation in the program.



  1. Take two courses from a list provided at sign-in. These courses may fulfill Free elective requirements. They may also fulfill Technical elective requirements if they conform to the restrictions specified for Technical electives.
  2. Take STSH 4210 Engineering ethics (or approved substitute course). This course can be simultaneously use to fulfill Humanities and Social Sciences requirements.
  3. Perform at least one semester of Undergraduate Research on a topic related to an identified Global challenge. This activity should lead to at least one publication in the MANE student research journal. A Capstone Design project does not count against this requirement, although the research project may develop into a Capstone Design project.
  4. Attend all lectures of the Innovators in Engineering seminar series organized by the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, in any given academic semester.


Note: Students are reminded to consult the catalog and the Class Hour Schedule for the availability of a particular course in any given semester. Students should consult the list of pre-requisites and obtain instructor permission, if necessary.

Graduate Programs

The MANE department offers graduate programs in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, mechanics, nuclear engineering, and engineering physics. To accommodate a student’s career plans and interests, graduate programs are structured to allow great flexibility in choosing appropriate courses while ensuring sufficient depth and breadth. The professor assigned to or chosen by a student as the adviser has the knowledge to make suggestions of specific courses to further the student’s educational goals. 

The graduate degrees offered by MANE are the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), the Master of Science (M.S.), and doctoral (Ph.D.) degree. The five-year co-terminal bachelor’s/master’s degree program is also available to those who meet the department and Institute  admissions requirements. To receive a graduate degree in MANE, both Institute and department requirements must be met.  Both full-time and part-time students must adhere to these requirements. Complete information detailing the requirements for each degree is available on the MANE Web site and in the MANE Graduate Student Handbook published each semester at

Master’s Degrees

Two master’s degrees are offered in MANE: the M.S. and M.Eng. They require 30 credits and include relevant coursework and a thesis (for M.S.) or a project (for M.Eng.) chosen based on mutual interests and needs of the student and their M.S./M.Eng. adviser. The Master of Science (M.S.) degree is well-suited to students who wish to prepare for a professional career and also to measure their ability to possibly pursue a Ph.D. in the future. The M.S. thesis is independently written by the student as a single author and must be approved by the thesis adviser as well as two additional committee members from the department’s faculty. A thesis presentation may be given to this committee or at a conference. The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree is intended to be more applied and practically oriented in comparison to the M.S. degree.    

Co-terminal Master’s Degree

The five year co-terminal degree timeline is achievable by many students in good academic standing. Students who enter Rensselaer with some college credits (for example, AP credits) may find it easier to complete the program in five years (i.e., one year beyond the bachelor’s degree to complete 30 credits required for a Master’s degree).  Students applying to the co-terminal Master of Science (M.S.) program in MANE will complete a time-intensive thesis associated with it. Students applying to the co-terminal Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program in MANE will complete a master’s research project.

Doctoral Programs

The doctoral degree requirements include 72 credits for students entering the graduate program with a bachelor’s degree or 48 credits for students entering with a master’s degree. In addition to residence and dissertation credits requirements, students must successfully complete 36 course credits if entering with a bachelor’s degree or 12 course credits if entering with a master’s degree. The graduate student’s Ph.D. adviser will guide the student in all aspects of his/her academic and research programs. This adviser is usually a faculty member from the MANE department but can occasionally be from a different department. If a student chooses to do a thesis with an adviser from another department, then a doctoral committee co-chair from within the MANE department is required. Major milestones for the Ph.D. program in MANE include passing a doctoral qualifying exam, a doctoral candidacy exam, and successfully defending the dissertation in an open presentation to his or her committee. The Ph.D. degree is awarded for research making an original contribution to fundamental knowledge in a particular field or in an interdisciplinary field or for research into the relation of a discipline to educational problems and objectives within the field. The Ph.D. dissertation must be scholarly, creative, and original.

Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum
Students who successfully complete this Ph.D.program will be able to:

  • demonstrate advanced proficiency in the core program area.
  • demonstrate proficiency in research techniques (theoretical, computational and experimental).
  • effectively communicate both orally and in writing.
  • independently conduct research resulting in substantial scholarship.

Course Descriptions

Courses directly related to all Mechanical, Aeronautical, Nuclear Engineering, and Engineering Physics curricula are described in the Course Description section of this catalog under the department code MANE.












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