BS in Mechanical Engineering

As a student studying mechanical engineering at Boston University, you will learn how robots move, bubbles burst, airplanes fly, and big data enables big ideas. You will learn about technological innovations that enable sustainable energy, engineer biological tissues, create new materials, and advance scientific pursuits at the nanoscale and at the scale of our solar system. You will design and create engineering solutions to real-world challenges. The College of Engineering’s goal is to create the societal engineer—a student who will take their engineering education and experiences and improve our society.

Our students can specialize their mechanical engineering studies by concentrating on aerospace engineering, manufacturing, energy technologies & sustainability, nanotechnology, the Grand Challenges, machine learning, or technology innovation. Outside of the classroom, our mechanical engineers lead student-run groups that launch rockets (Rocket Propulsion Group, BURPG), design drones (BU UAV), and build electric and gas-powered racecars (BU Racing; BU Baja SAE). Students perform experimental, computational, and interdisciplinary research with professors who design biomedical devices, build soft robots, study graphene, fold origami, control the flight of drones, utilize additive manufacturing, and levitate drops and bubbles. As a mechanical engineering student, you will design and build products, machines, and research prototypes in the Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC), characterize your creations in the shared facilities of the Photonics Center, turn your ideas into reality at the BUild Lab (Innovate@BU), and collaborate with students in the Questrom School of Business to understand how practicing engineers thrive in industry.

Most of the engineering science courses come from the two major stems of mechanical engineering: (1) energy and fluids, and (2) structures and motion in mechanical systems. During their sophomore and junior years, students take four first-level courses from the structures/motion stem (including two courses in engineering mechanics, mechanics of materials, and materials science) and three first-level courses from the energy/fluids stem (including fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer). In their senior year, students take a systems-level instrumentation course and capstone design experience, and have the opportunity to broaden and deepen their technical background through four advanced elective courses.

Students in the mechanical engineering program gain experience in laboratory settings through experiments associated with all of their natural science courses (in the freshman and sophomore years) and with most of their engineering science courses (in their sophomore and junior years). Laboratory experience culminates in the senior year with an intensive mechanical measurements and instrumentation course.

The required mechanical engineering design experience is integrated throughout the curriculum, beginning in the sophomore year and increasing in scope in each subsequent year. In the sophomore year, one engineering science course per semester requires a design project, and exposure to design is gained through a course in CAD. Students are introduced to machining in our EPIC center through a 2-credit core design course. In the junior year, design projects are required in multiple engineering science and design courses. A 2-credit fundamentals of manufacturing course helps to enable the design experience by feeding into a 4-credit product design course that formalizes design methodologies and covers the professional aspects of engineering, including safety considerations and professional ethics. The instrumentation course incorporates a major measurement design project. In the senior year, the design experience culminates in a capstone design sequence that builds on previous coursework and in which small student teams work on major design projects. As part of the design experience, the professional aspects of engineering are stressed, including professional ethics, teamwork, and oral and written communications.

Computer experience for mechanical engineering students begins in the freshman year with the required, college-wide introductory computer course. It then continues throughout the curriculum through its use in some homework, projects, and laboratories in most subsequent engineering courses. Students gain experience in programming in MATLAB and C; and using commercial software packages for CAD, spreadsheet analysis, finite element analysis, and graphical-interface-driven laboratory systems for data acquisition, data analysis, and instrument control.

The degree also requires four advanced elective courses, which allow for pursuit of specialized interests within engineering. These courses enable the completion of a concentration (optional), and a number of options at the undergraduate and introductory graduate level are available.

The BS program in mechanical engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (www.abet.org).

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the mechanical engineering BS program will have:

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. 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.
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  5. 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.
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Degree Requirements

All first-year, first-time students will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in mechanical engineering will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in the areas of Quantitative Reasoning and Scientific Inquiry, as well as most of the requirements in the areas of Communication and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of electives outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

A total of 135 credits is required for the mechanical engineering BS. In addition to satisfying all BS requirements as listed below, a minimum of 48 credits of coursework must be taken at Boston University in the upper-division program. The upper-division program consists of the program requirements and program electives as listed below for the junior and senior years. Social science, humanities, and writing courses (CAS WR 120 & WR 150–152) taken to satisfy BU Hub requirements cannot be counted toward this requirement. The courses listed below show a sample (but not necessarily unique) sequence for completing the degree.

Required Courses (typical sequence)

Freshman

First Semester (16 credits)

  • CAS CH 131 General Chemistry (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 123 Calculus I (4 cr)
  • CAS WR 120 Writing Seminar (4 cr)
  • ENG EK 100 Freshman Advising Seminar
  • ENG EK 125 Introduction to Programming for Engineers (4 cr)

Second Semester (17 credits)

  • CAS MA 124 Calculus II (4 cr)
  • CAS PY 211 Physics I (4 cr)
  • CAS WR 150 or CAS WR 151 or CAS WR 152 Writing and Research Seminar (4 cr)
  • ENG EK 131 Introduction to Engineering (2 cr)
  • ENG EK 103 Computational Linear Algebra (3 cr)

Sophomore

First Semester (18 credits)

  • CAS MA 225 Multivariate Calculus (4 cr)
  • CAS PY 212 Physics II (4 cr)
  • ENG EK 307 Electric Circuits (4 cr)
  • ENG ME 357 Introduction to CAD and Machine Components (2 cr)
  • Hub elective (4 cr)

Second Semester (18 credits)

  • CAS MA 226 Differential Equations (4 cr)
  • ENG EK 210 Introduction to Engineering Design (2 cr)
  • ENG EK 301 Engineering Mechanics I (4 cr)
  • ENG EK 381 Probability, Statistics, and Data Science for Engineers (4 cr)
  • Hub elective (4 cr)

Junior

First Semester (18 credits)

  • ENG ME 358 Manufacturing Processes (2 cr)
  • ENG ME 303 Fluid Mechanics (4 cr)
  • ENG ME 304 Energy and Thermodynamics (4 cr)
  • ENG ME 305 Mechanics of Materials (4 cr)
  • ENG ME 306 Materials Science (4 cr)

Second Semester (16 credits)

  • ENG ME 302 Engineering Mechanics II (4 cr)
  • ENG ME 360 Product Design (4 cr)
  • ENG ME 310 Instrumentation (4 cr)
  • Hub elective (4 cr)

Senior

First Semester (16 credits)

  • ENG ME 419 Heat Transfer (4 cr)
  • ENG ME 460 Senior Design I (4 cr)
  • Advanced elective (4 cr)
  • Advanced elective (4 cr)

Second Semester (16 credits)

  • ENG ME 461 Mechanical Engineering Capstone Experience (4 cr)
  • Advanced elective (4 cr)
  • Advanced elective (4 cr)
  • Hub elective (4 cr)