About the Department

Our department offers two undergraduate degrees:

  1. Mechanical Engineering
  2. Aerospace Systems Engineering.

The department has 28 tenured/tenure track faculty, 3 professors of practice, and several part time faculty supported by six technical and administrative staff. We currently have about 1300 undergraduate students and in the last five years have grown by 50%. In a typical year, we award approximately 100 B.S. engineering degrees. We maintain full ABET accreditation in our eligible programs.

Our major undergraduate student-lead design projects include: Formula Car (both hybrid and conventional), Baja Car, Aero Design, and Human-Powered Vehicle. All these projects are supported by the Society of Automotive Engineers which organizes international student design competitions. Our record over the past ten years is among the best in the nation. The success of our students has established our department as a leader in the area of undergraduate student projects. The student chapter of ASME has also been recognized as the best in North America and has won the prestigious Region V Bendix/Allied Signal/Ingersoll Rand Awards for 13 years. Our graduates consistently achieve high passing grades on the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam; historically the department has an average passing rate close to 90%.

Graduate Education

We offer both M.S. and Ph.D. programs. We have four areas of emphasis in the department:

  1. Thermal-Fluid Sciences,
  2. Mechanics,
  3. Materials,
  4. Controls and Manufacturing.

The department supports over 35 students every year using teaching or instructional assistantship contracts. In a typical year, we have over 120 graduate students and we award approximately 20 M.S., and five Ph.D. engineering degrees. The mechanical engineering faculty support the graduate program with over $2.0M/year in external research funding.

History of the Department

The College of Engineering was instituted with the Mechanical and Civil Engineering programs in 1914, making the College and Department nearly 100 years old. The first department head for Mechanical Engineering was Dr. Fred S. Griffin, who served until 1952. In addition, the department has over 5000 alumni, beginning with 3 in the class of 1919, and adding 110 in the 2008-2009 academic year.

Historical Milestones

1914 Civil and Mechanical Engineering Departments established
1924 Minimum Credit Hours for BS degree for all departments – 280 (probably quarter system)
1932 Students assigned to Co-Op
1936 Aeronautical Option added to Mechanical Engineering (Terminated in 1947)
1939 Industrial Option added to Mechanical Engineering (Terminated in 1968)
1941 Mechanical, including Industrial and Aeronautical Options, first accredited by ECPD
1945 Minimum Credit Hours for BS degree for all departments – 155
1948 Mechanical Engineering Department: Fred S. Griffin, Prof., and Head; E. Kenneth Hamlen, Assistant Prof.; William M. Petry, Assistant Prof., Clarence R. Upp., Associate Prof.; Bernard Wieczorek, Instructor; Earl R. Wilson, Associate Prof.
1956 MS in Engineering Program Approved
1967 Freshman Design courses added
1967 PhD program approved
1968 Engineering located in ASEC
1970 Optional Co-Op established
1973 Transfer to College required 45 credit hours
1977 Semester calendar approved
1968 First MS Degree: "Stress Relaxation of Pre-stressing Steel Wire at Slightly Elevated Temperature by Ramesh W. Shahani"; Advisor : Robert G. Dubensky
1973 First PhD Degree: "An Analytical and Experimental Investigation of the Random Vibrations of a Four-wheeled Vehicle Traversing a Non-Deterministic Terrain" by George R. Doyle; Advisor : Namerto L. Chu
1998 Mechanical Polymer engineering Program established
2000 Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board established
2009 Aerospace Systems Engineering Program established