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Purdue

College of Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Emerging Skills

The program should assist students in fostering a number of other emerging skills that are becoming increasingly critical to the success of future engineers. These emerging skills include:

  • Leadership.
  • Global engineering skills.
  • Innovation.
  • Entrepreneurship.

To achieve these objectives and outcomes, the School of Mechanical Engineering has developed a comprehensive, integrated curriculum to provide students with a broad base on which to build an engineering career. It is founded on basic sciences, including physics, chemistry and mathematics; computer science and computer graphics; and English composition and communications.

To this foundation, a core of engineering science and design courses are added in three main curriculum stems: mechanical sciences (statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, and structures and properties of materials), information technologies (electric circuits and electronics, instrumentation, system modeling and controls), and thermal-fluid sciences (thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer).

Throughout the core curriculum, students gain extensive laboratory and computer experience via modern facilities in all basic areas of the discipline. In addition, the curriculum provides an integrated innovation, design and entrepreneurship experience. This experience — which begins with a sophomore-level cornerstone course and culminates with a senior-level capstone course — emphasizes innovation, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, communication skills, practical hands-on experience with various product design processes and entrepreneurship. Students then specialize by selecting two restricted electives that provide additional depth in two of the three main stems of the curriculum. Students can further specialize with 12 credit hours of professional electives in engineering, mathematics, natural sciences, select management courses or individualized project courses (ME 49700).

Just as design experiences are integrated throughout the mechanical engineering curriculum, so too are opportunities to communicate technical information, both orally and in writing. Students experience a variety of communications opportunities in progressing through the mechanical engineering program.

As a freshman, each student is required to take both speech and composition courses. These courses lay the foundation for future oral and written communications. In the sophomore seminar course (ME 29000), students learn how to create professional documents and correspondence (e.g., resumes, letters, memos, etc.), develop personal interview skills, learn the basics of Web publishing and develop a global engineering professional profile. In ME 26300, the cornerstone design course, student teams prepare formal design reports, give oral presentations and maintain individual design notebooks. The communications experiences culminate in the capstone design course (ME 46300), in which student teams prepare presentations and reports for the sponsors of their selected design projects and compete in an innovation competition.

A major feature of the curriculum is the flexible 39-credit-hour elective program, of which 24 credit hours are taken during the senior year. This allows for a program with considerable breadth while also permitting the depth and specialization in an area of the student's professional interests.

Because of the wide scope of activities in which the mechanical engineer is engaged and because of the broad spectrum of student interests, mechanical engineering graduates may choose either to enter the profession immediately after receiving their bachelor's degree or go directly to graduate school. In either case, the curriculum provides a firm foundation for continuing education and fosters a commitment to lifelong learning, whether it is as a member of the engineering profession, through formal graduate work or through independent study.

Visit the School of Mechanical Engineering website for more current information about the undergraduate programs.