Jun 18, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2008-2009 
Rensselaer Catalog 2008-2009 [Archived Catalog]

Mechanical Engineering

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Baccalaureate Programs

Freshmen or sophomores who have identified mechanical, aerospace, or nuclear engineering as their major may follow the baccalaureate program below in lieu of the general core engineering program presented earlier. The total number of credit hours required to complete any of these curricula is 128. Dual major programs which lead to a single baccalaureate degree embracing two fields are also available and are described in more detail in the department.

First Year


  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4


  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4

Second Year


  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4

Third Year

  • Mechanical Engineering Core Module, Credit Hours: 6
    (See footnote 3 below)
  • Mechanical Engineering Core Module, Credit Hours: 6
    (See footnote 3 below)
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective, Credit Hours: 4
  • Professional Development II, Credit Hours: 2
    (See footnote 4 below)

Fourth Year

  • Concentration Elective (Restricted) Credit Hours: 3
  • Concentration Elective (Restricted) Credit Hours: 3
  • Concentration Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 7 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4


The mechanical engineering curriculum offers the following six concentration options.


The focus is on the analysis, design, development, and operation of flight vehicles, which is fundamental for students interested in aeronautical engineering. This concentration provides a strong engineering and scientific foundation in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, structural dynamics, vehicular mechanics, and control systems analysis. Student projects in recent years have involved spin preventions in fighter aircraft, trailing vortex dissipation, and helicopter maneuverability.

Applied Mechanics

This concentration provides the opportunity for fundamental study in fluid mechanics and solid mechanics. The objective is to develop broad analytical abilities and encourage critical inquiry. Programs in this area usually continue through the master’s level. Topics have included cellular heat convection, locally separated flow, and inelastic fatigue analysis and fracture. Biomechanics, especially the mechanics of musculoskeletal systems, is part of this concentration.


The concern here is 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. A student interested in the design of specialized mechanical equipment can develop a suitable program from courses in this and other mechanical engineering concentrations.

Energy Systems

This concentration is intended for those interested in energy conversion and the development of mechanical power. Students concerned with the design of equipment in this field should consider this concentration together with the design concentration. Those interested in the fundamentals should consider this concentration together with the applied mechanics concentration.

Manufacturing Concentration

This area is intended for the mechanical engineering student who is interested in manufacturing and is planning a career designing manufacturing equipment, developing new manufacturing techniques, or operating manufacturing facilities.

Space Technology

This is an inherently multidisciplinary area that is offered for students interested in the analysis, design, development, and operations required for space exploration and utilization. Current areas of particular emphasis include the space environment, propulsion, orbital and structural dynamics, structures and control.

Concentration Electives Criteria

Students wishing to obtain any one of these concentrations must adhere to strict concentration electives criteria as follows.The first two courses within the four-course concentration are highly restricted. The first of these should be selected from the courses listed below. These courses define the concentration areas available within mechanical engineering and are thus termed “concentration-defining” electives.

Applied Mechanics


Additional Concentration Electives

The second of the restricted concentration elective courses may be chosen from either:

  • Any upper-level (4000 or above) engineering course associated with the originally defined concentration area. Such courses will be termed “concentration-completing” electives. Through them, a student clearly identifies a concentration within the mechanical engineering major.
  • The original short list of concentration-defining electives. Through these, a student obtains greater breadth within mechanical engineering.

Any student wishing to satisfy these restricted concentration elective requirements in another way may first consult with the adviser and then propose a plan to the associate chair in undergraduate studies for approval. Students are reminded to consult the catalog and the Class Hour Schedule for the availability of a particular course in any given semester.

The second two courses of the four-course concentration are to be selected from any upper-level (4000 or above) course in science, engineering, or mathematics. One of these may be an independent study course, such as a design project or an undergraduate research project. The second course should not normally be a project. However, the associate chair for undergraduate studies may grant approval for an exception based on a particularly valuable research experience.

Concenration Electives may not be taken on a Pass/No Credit basis.

Humanities or Social Sciences Electives

In this area, the electives are based on the Institute and School of Engineering requirements. Students are urged to elect humanities and social science sequences through which they will obtain adequate breadth and depth in subject areas. Students desiring minors in Humanities and Social Sciences must consult the school or department in which the courses are offered to obtain further information and specific requirements.


  1. These required courses may be taken in any order.
  2. Alternative: ENGR 1310.
  3. Choice of Mechanical Design Module and Thermal and Fluids Module. Both modules are required for graduation; each module may be taken in either semester.  The Mechanical Design Module consists of MANE 4030 and MANE 4040 taken concurrently. The Thermal and Fluids Module consists of MANE 4010 and MANE 4020 taken concurrently. Other third year courses may be taken in either semester.
  4. This course will be fulfilled from a list published at the start of the semester. It must be completed before MANE 4260.
  5. Course may be taken either semester.
  6. Can be taken either semester senior year.
  7. Students are encouraged to select a life science course, such as BIOL 1010.
  8. MATH 2010 and MATH 2400 may be taken in either semester of the second year.

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