Jul 16, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2023-2024 
Rensselaer Catalog 2023-2024 [Archived Catalog]

Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering

Department Head: Antoinette Maniatty

Department Home Page: http://mane.rpi.edu/

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. In particular, the following centers offer additional research opportunities for the department’s undergraduate and graduate students and their faculty advisers:

  • Center for Computational Innovations
  • Center for Flow Physics and Control
  • Center for Mobility with Vertical Lift
  • Center for Modeling, Simulation, and Imaging in Medicine
  • Gaerttner LINAC Center
  • New York State Center for Automation Technologies and Systems
  • Scientific Computation Research Center


Cross-Cutting Research Areas

Energy Science and Engineering
This cross-cutting research theme is centered around clear common interests in energy production, efficiency, storage, harvesting, and thermal controls. It builds on the strong expertise in fundamental physics, 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 include materials for energy storage, 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 and fuels, 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; neutrons, x-rays, 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 and nano-scale manufacturing (subtractive and additive techniques); process modeling; material design for manufacturing; sustainable manufacturing; fiber-composite processing; fuel-cell manufacturing; biomedical manufacturing; new manufacturing techniques; operation of manufacturing facilities; CAD/CAM; diagnostics and controls; polymer matrix composites manufacturing; biocomposites manufacturing.

Dynamics and Controls
Research Areas: nonlinear, robust and adaptive control, time-optimal trajectory planning, unmanned aerial vehicles, modeling and control of advanced manufacturing, intelligent building systems; learning control systems; 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, reprocessing); 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.

Safety and Reliability
Risk assessment of safety-critical systems, interinsically safe nuclear power, intelligence of control and protection, and design and evaluation of emergency procedures. 

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; solid-state HVAC and power generation systems, biomedical devices, and combustion.

Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Aircraft 
Research Areas: helicopter and multi-copter aeromechanics; advanced configurations including high-speed VTOL aircraft and electric VTOL aircraft; high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics simulations of complex interacting flows of rotary-wing systems; VTOL aircraft aeroacoustics; VTOL aircraft vibration and loads; flight controls and handling qualities assessments of advanced VTOL aircraft; reconfigurable rotors, and reconfigurable controls for optimal performance and fault tolerance.

Faculty *


Amitay, M.—D.Sc. (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology); aerodynamics, flow control, fluid mechanics, experimental techniques; (James L. Decker ‘45 Endowed Chair in Aerospace Engineering; Director of the Center for Flow Physics and Control).

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

Blanchet, T.A.—Ph.D. (Dartmouth College); tribology, wear and friction of materials, surface heating, glass strengthening.

Borca-Tasciuc, D.—Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles); energy conversion, thermal energy transfer, microsystems.

Borca-Tasciuc, T.—Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles); heat transfer and solid-state energy conversion fundamentals and applications in materials, devices, and systems ranging from buildings to biomedical; (Associate Head for Graduate Studies Affairs; Mechanical Engineering Program Director).

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; Director of Gaerttner Linac Center).

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).

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

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

Ji, W.—Ph.D. (University of Michigan); nuclear reactor physics, multiphysics modeling of advanced nuclear energy systems, radiation transport computation (Monte Carlo and deterministic), radiation effects of microelectronics devices, scientific workflow development. 

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.

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); materials behavior under extremes of radiation, temperature and corrosion, advanced nuclear fuels and waste form materials, effective nuclear waste management, functional materials for alternative energy applciation, graphene and graphene-based composite, advanced manufacturing.

Liu, L.Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); neutron and X-ray scattering, nuclear energy, solar energy, energy sustainability, dyanamics of water, and structure and dynamics of nano-materials and macro -molecules. Department Head: Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Malaviya, B.K.—Ph.D. (Harvard University); nuclear data evaluation, reactor neutronics, 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. Department Head.

Mishra, S.—Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley); dynamic systems and control, data-driven control design, modeling and control of advanced manufacturing processes, autonomous aerial vehicles. 

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

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

Shephard, M.S.—Ph.D. (Cornell University); finite element methods, unstructured mesh technologies, massively parallel scientific computations, (jointly with the Computer Science Department; Samuel A. Johnson’37 and Elizabeth C. Johnson Professor of Engineering; Director of the Scientific Computation Research Center).

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); advanced composities & biocomposites manufacturing, bio-industrial materials processing, additive manufacturing, fuel cell manufacturing, biomedical device design, reconfigurable tooling and fixturing, rubber recycling. (Director of the New York State Center for Automation Technologies and Systems)

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).

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

Associate Professors

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

Mills, K.—Ph.D. (University of Michigan); solid mechanics, mechanical behavior of materials, cell and tissue biomechanics & mechanobiology, cancer mechanics, in vitro models of tumor growth and tumar cell-extracelllular matrix interactions.

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.

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

Samuel, J.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign); micro-nano-scale manufacturing, bio-medical manufacturing, aerospace machining, metal additive manufacturing, manufacturing data analytics.

Assistant Professors

Akin, S.—Ph.D. (Purdue University); additive manufacturing, hybrid manufacturing, surface engineering, engineering design & process development.

Belanger, H.—Ph.D. (Universite’ Paris-Saclay); monte carlo particle transport, reactor physics, neutron noise, nuclear data, high-performance computing.

Han, F.—Ph.D. (University of Maryland College Park); energy storage, electrochemistry, materials, neutron-based characterizations.

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

Merson, J.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); high performance computing, computational engineering, large scale multiscale and multiphysics computations.

Pan, S.—Ph.D. (University of Michigan Ann Arbor); model reduction, machine learning for dynamical system, turbulence modeling.

Pogorelyuk, L.—Ph.D. (Princeton University); space telescopes, interferometry, estimation and control, orbital mechanics.

Shi, S.—Ph.D. (Purdue University); thermal-hydraulics and reactor safety, single- and multi-phase thermo-fluids dynamics, two-phase flow experiments and modeling, heat pipe-cooled micro reactor.

Singh, S.K.—Ph.D. (Texas A&M University); spacecraft trajectory design and optimization, periodic orbits and invariant manifold theory, optimal control theory, Bayesian learning applied to space mission design, machine learning for sensor fusion, computer vision.

Tumuklu, O.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign); aerothemodynamics, rarefied gas dynamics, hypersonic flows, turbulence, and kenetic theory.

Professors of Practice

Ballinger, C. - Ph.D. (University of Michigan); computational physics, LEDs/displays, energy conversion, materials, technology translation, entrepreneurship 

Felix, S.—Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley); dynamic systems and control, optimization, modeling and control of advanced manufacturing processes, rail automation. 

Ghosh, A.—Ph.D. (University of Washington); product innovation, lean manufacturing, design for six sigma, engineering innovation for society, sustainability, mechanical properties. 

Haley, T.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); nuclear criticality safety, Monte Carlo simulations, mathematical and statistical modeling, energy policy, quality assurance. (Director of Undergraduate Student Services)

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

Willett, F.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); product/engineering design and analysis, gas turbines, reverse engineering, thermodynamics, heat transfer, manufacturing technology.

Senior Lecturer

Hoffman, C.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); engineering design, product development, design for manufacturing.

Olson, J.—D. Eng. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); subatomic particle behavior, power generation, engineering design & product development.


Chowdhury, M.A.Z.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); mechanical engineering, spectroscopy, gas sensing, applied machine learning, design and optimization, heat transfer, energy and combustion, multiphysics modeling.

Cohen, T.G.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); forced convective flows, boiling flow dynamics, heat transfer, phase change, CFD

Ferede, E.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); wind turbine aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, multibody dynamics, optimization of composite structures, adaptive materials.

Housley, K.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); aeronautical engineering, aerodynamic flow control, smart materials, actuator design, fluid mechanics, multiphysics modeling, wind tunnel experimentation.

Josyula, K.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); nonlinear computational mechanics, constitutive modeling, soft tissue mechanics, crystal plasticity, finite elements, molecular dynamics, statistical models.

Niemiec, R.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); rotorscraft/multicopter aerodynamics, dynamics, flight mechanics and handling qualities.

Panneerselvam, K.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); solid mechanics, numerical methods in engineering, computational dyanmics, physics based real-time simulation, interactive computer graphics.

Perera, I.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); heat transfer, thermodynamics, additive manufacturing, illumination, radiometry, photometry, optical design and modeling.

Repolho Cagliari, L.V.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); systems and control theory, multidisciplinary design optimization, aerodynamic flow control.

Shahsavari, A.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); solid mechanics, micromechanics of random structures, multiscale modeling of composites, vibrations, and modal analysis.

Taylor, K.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); aeronautical engineering, fluid physics, aerodynamic flow control, engineering statics, engineering dynamics, wind tunnel operation, thermodynamics.

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.

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).

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

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.

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

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, lazer propulsion, design and invention.

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

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).

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.

* 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 2022 Board of Trustees meeting.

Undergraduate Programs

Outcomes of the Undergraduate Curricula

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  • an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  • an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  • an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgements, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  • an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  • an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgement to draw conclusions.
  • an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Objectives of the Undergraduate Curricula

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 apply their engineering knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills and be expected to:

  • engage in professional practice 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, http://www.abet.org (external web site).  For additional undergraduate program information click the “Undergraduate” link on the MANE website, https://mane.rpi.edu/.

Dual Major Programs

Dual majors lead to a single degree embracing two fields.  In general, you are expected to create your own dual major plan that satisfies all of the requirements of both majors while satisfying the HASS Core only once for both majors and taking advantage of overlapping requirements.  In creating your dual major plan, understand that you must satisfy the graduation requirements for each major separately, except for substitutions specifically allowed by a program.

Some dual major programs take advantage of synergies between majors to make the combination accessible.  Select programs which can be completed in eight semesters (with varying degrees of difficulty) have been developed.  Examples include dual majors in Aeronautical Engineering plus Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering plus Design Innovation , and Society, and Nuclear Engineering plus Mechanical Engineering.  Further information is available in the MANE Student Services Office.

Dual majors in Mechanical Engineering (from the School of Engineering) plus Design, Innovation, and Society (from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences) entering Rensselaer in Fall 2018 or after follow the dual major program specified in the catalog they entered under.  For students entering Rensselaer prior to Fall 2018 with dual majors in Mechanical Engineering plus Design, Innovation, and Society use the following three courses to satisfy the mechanical engineering technical electives:  ENGR 2020 Design and Innovation Studio III, ENGR 4610 Design and Innovation Studio C, and one of ENGR 2710 General Manufacturing Processes, ENGR 4710 Manufacturing Processes and Systems Lab I, or ENGR 4720 Manufacturing Processes and Systems Lab II.

A dual major is an effective way to get a broader educational background, and/or to prepare to work at the intersection of two disciplines.  However, students must plan a dual major very carefully.  Many dual majors need one or more additional semesters of study.  Further, there is no guarantee that required classes will not conflict or be available when needed, such that a student may require more semesters than expected to complete the dual major.  Students are encouraged to also consider the alternative of a self-defined concentration in the other program.  Academically strong students are encouraged to instead consider a co-terminal master’s degree in their program in MANE with some courses from the second program; or, if the student is able to take a sufficient number of prerequisites in the second program as an undergraduate, a co-terminal master’s in the second program may be possible. Consult with the second program’s graduate program director on what undergraduate courses are required to enter their master’s program.

Focus Areas

The mechanical engineering curriculum offers the following four focus area options.

Mechanics and Structures
This focus area 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 focus area emphasizes 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 focus area 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.

Focus Area Electives Criteria
Students wishing to fulfill any one of these optional focus areas must take three courses from the list below corresponding to the desired focus area. No course that is a named requirement for the student’s major (or dual or double major) is applicable to a focus area.  These 4000 level courses may be used as technical electives and/or as free electives, as applicable. None of these courses can be taken Pass/No Credit and cannot be substituted by a project or independent study. A course from the list of Computation Electives can be used as one of the three courses fulfilling the Focus Area Elective requirement provided it is not used simultaneously to fulfill the Computational Elective requirement.

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

Mechanics and Structures

BMED 4280 Biomechanics of Soft Tissue
BMED 4540 Biomechanics II
CIVL 4070 Steel Design
MANE 4030 Elements of Mechanical Design
MANE 4060 Aerospace Structures and Materials
MANE 4160 Vibrations
MANE 4170 Machine Dynamics
MANE 4180 Mechanisms
MANE 4670 Mechanical Behavior of Materials
MANE 4900 Aeroelasicity and Structural Vibrations
MTLE  4250 Mechanical Properties of Materials
MTLE  4910 Materials Selection

Design and Manufacturing

CIVL  4270 Construction Management
ENGR 4100 Business Issues for Engineers and Scientists
ENGR 4710/MANE 4610 Manufacturing Processes and Systems Lab I
ENGR 4720/MANE 4620 Manufacturing Processes and Systems Lab II
ENGR 4750 Engineering Economics and Project Management
ENGR 4760 Engineering Economics
ISYE  4200 Design and Analysis of Work Systems
ISYE  4210 Design and Analysis of Supply Chains
ISYE  4230 Quality Control
ISYE  4240 Engineering Project Management
ISYE  4520 Facilities Design and Industrial Logistics
MANE 4550 Analysis of Manufacturing Processes
MANE 4670 Mechanical Behavior of Materials
MGMT 4110 Operations Management (as Free Elective only)

Energy Systems

MANE 4080 Propulsion Systems
MANE 4400 Nuclear Power Systems Engineering
MANE 4730 Heat Transfer
MANE 4750 Combustion Systems
MANE 4760 Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
MANE 4770 Design and Analysis of Energy Systems
MANE 4800 Boundary Layers and Heat Transfer
MANE 496x Wind Energy

Dynamics and Control

ECSE 4440/MANE 4530 Control Systems Engineering
ECSE 4480/CSCI 4480/MANE 4560 Robotics I
​ECSE 4490 Robotics II
ECSE 4510/MANE 4540 Digital Control Systems
MANE 4160 Vibrations
MANE 4170 Machine Dynamics
MANE 4180 Mechanisms
MANE 4490 Mechatronics
MANE 4900 Aeroelasticity and Structural Vibrations

Computational Engineering

BMED 4200 Modeling of Biomedical Systems
ECSE 4740 Applied Parallel Computing for Engineers
ISYE  4290 Discrete Event Simulation and Modeling
ISYE  4300 Complex Systems Models for Industrial and Systems Engineering
ISYE  4810 Computational Intelligence
MANE 4140 Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics
MANE 4240 Introduction to Finite Elements
MANE 4280 Numerical Design Optimization
MANE 4290 Radiation Transport Methods
MATH 4800/CSCI 4800 Numerical Computing
MATH 4820/CSCI 4820 Introduction to Numerical Methods for Differential Equations
MATP 4820 Computational Optimization
MGMT 4190 Introduction to Machine Learning Applications (as Free Elective only)
MTLE 4500 Computational Materials Design
PHYS 4810 Computational Physics

Note: Students are reminded to consult the catalog and the Class Hour Schedule for the availability of a particular course in any given semester. Some courses have prerequisites that may apply as free elective credits, if applicable.  Students should consult the list of prerequisites and obtain instructor permission, if necessary.


Lean Design for Six Sigma - Innovation and Product Design and 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
    • One of the following: MANE 4240 Introduction to Finite Elements, MANE 4963 Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics, or MANE 4280 Numerical Design Optimization.

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 as their Capstone Design Elective.

  • Fulfill one of the following requirements:
    • Perform an Independent study with a faculty adviser from MANE with a focus on Innovation,
    • Defend a Thesis (for M.S. and Ph.D. 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.


Lean Manufacturing Certificate

To receive a Lean Manufacturing Certificate from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE), Rensselaer undergraduate/graduate students in good standing must fulfill the following requirements:

Lean Manufacturing Certificate – Course Requirements (3 courses):

  1. Satisfactorily complete ENGR-4710 / MANE-4610 Manufacturing Processes & Systems Lab I
  2. Satisfactorily complete MANE-4330 Inventor’s Studio 3
  3. Satisfactorily complete a 4000 level or higher manufacturing course in the student’s major (e.g. MANE 4640 Analysis of Manufacturing Processes, or ISYE 4210 Design and Analysis of Supply Chains, etc.), as approved by the faculty coordinating this certificate.

Lean Manufacturing Certificate – Experiential Requirements (2 elements):

  1. Satisfactorily complete A) at least one semester of URP on manufacturing, or B) one term (fall, spring, or summer) of Arch Away or Internship at a manufacturing company, or C) ENGR 4720 / MANE-4620 Manufacturing Processes & Systems Lab II or equivalent (which may not also count toward the above three course requirement).
  2. A) File for at least one provisional patent on manufacturing, or B) have a paper accepted by the MANE “Student Journal for Design, Research, and EIS” on Lean Manufacturing process design or operation design, or C) receive approval from the faculty coordinating this certificate and submit supplemental documentation on a manufacturing experience.

MANE.EIS – Engineering Innovation for Society Certificate

To receive an EIS Certificate from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE), Rensselaer undergraduate/graduate students in good standing must fulfill the following requirements:

MANE.EIS Certificate – Course Requirements (4 courses):

  1. Satisfactorily complete MANE-2220 Inventor’s Studio 1
  2. Satisfactorily complete MANE-4220 Inventor’s Studio 2
  3. Satisfactorily complete MANE-4330 Inventor’s Studio 3
  4. Satisfactorily complete a 4000 level or higherelective course addressing a global challenge (e.g., Wind Turbine Engineering, LED Design, Solar Cell Design, Sustainable Materials), as approved by the faculty coordinating this certificate.

MANE.EIS Certificate – Experiential Requirements (2 elements):

  1. Satisfactorily complete A) at least one semester of URP on EIS, or B) one term (fall, spring, or summer) of Arch Away or Internship at a sustainability product company
  2. File for at least one provisional patent related to EIS, or B) have a paper accepted by the MANE “Student Journal for Design, Research, and EIS” related to EIS, or C) receive approval from the faculty coordinating this certificate and submit supplemental documentation on an EIS experience.

Graduate Programs

The MANE department offers graduate programs in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, nuclear engineering, nuclear engineering and science, 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 chosen by a student as the adviser will have 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 the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The five-year co-terminal bachelor’s/master’s degree program and the accelerated B.S.-to-PhD program are also available to those MANE undergraduate students 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, https://mane.rpi.edu/, by clicking the “Graduate” link, and in the MANE Graduate Student Handbook available on the website under “Graduate/Student Resources”.

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) or who accelerate their program by one or two courses (such that courses applicable to the subsequent co-terminal degree can be taken in the senior year) generally 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.  For more information click the “Undergraduate” link on the MANE website, https://mane.rpi.edu/.

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 doctoral 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 doctoral 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.

B.S-to-Ph.D program

The MANE Department offers a B.S.-to-Ph.D. Program for MANE undergraduate students with a passion for research.  In this unique program students are able to conduct research during their undergraduate studies, and begin their Ph.D. immediately after receiving their B.S. degree.  As admitted B.S.-to-Ph.D. students transition to graduate status, they will participate in graduate programming seminars and activities that foster leadership, innovation, and research.  For more information click the “Undergraduate” link on the MANE website, https://mane.rpi.edu/.

Outcomes of the Graduate Curricula

Students who successfully complete our graduate programs will be able to:


  • demonstrate advanced proficiency in the core program area.
  • demonstrate proficiency in research techniques (theoretical, computational, and experimental).
  • demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills.
  • demonstrate preparedness for professional careers or further graduate studies.


  • demonstrate advanced proficiency in the core program area.
  • demonstrate proficiency in research techniques (theoretical, computational, and experimental).
  • demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills.
  • independently conduct research resulting in substantial scholarship.

Course Descriptions

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