Mechanical Engineering Program

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Mechanical engineers create products, machines, and technological systems for the benefit of society. Building on a foundation of physical science, mathematics, and an understanding of societal needs and responsibilities, they develop solutions across a wide range of fields from energy to medical devices, manufacturing to transportation, consumer products to environmental compatibility. The undergraduate program in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford exposes each student to intellectual and practical experiences that form a basis from which to develop solutions, and provides an environment that allows for the accumulation of knowledge and self discovery so as to extend the domain within which solutions can be formulated. Graduates of the program have many options, from entry-level work as mechanical engineers to graduate studies in either an engineering discipline or in another field where a broad engineering background is useful. Regardless of the ultimate career choice, graduates leave the program with a solid grounding in the principals and practice of mechanical engineering, equipped to embark upon a lifetime of learning, while employing new concepts, technologies and methodologies.

The Mechanical Engineering department offers a Summer Undergraduate Research Institute ( The 2011 program will include student research training in team settings (e.g., students working together on larger projects directed by staff and faculty), and in individually-directed research settings (e.g., the student will work closely with a faculty advisor or senior graduate student).

The program is open only to Stanford undergraduate students. Students do not necessarily have to be declared ME majors. There is no formal application for participation in the ME SURI. Students who are interested in participating in the ME program should seek out research opportunities directly with ME faculty and secure a commitment/position for the summer by the end of May. Sponsoring faculty will contact the program administrator once a commitment to a student is made. Students can also contact the program administrator, Perry Thoorsell at directly for more information.

Professional licensing is an important aspect of professional responsibility. Although civil engineers may find professional registration more important in securing employment, mechanical engineers should seriously consider pursuing licensing as well. A professional license can be important if you work as a consultant or at a small start-up. An engineer working for a start-up or small technical company must fill a much wider spectrum of professional roles than would be the case working for a larger company. Those roles would typically include certifying drawings and other technical materials that require a license as a professional engineer.

In addition to certifying the accuracy of technical materials produced by yourself or your company, a professional license is important if you have to testify as an expert witness or perform other functions related to the legal system. In many states, including California, you cannot legally use the title “engineer” unless you are a licensed Professional Engineer. In fact the California law requires that “…only a person appropriately licensed with the Board may practice or offer to practice mechanical engineering.”

To attain a professional license you must take the Fundamentals of Engineering (F.E.) examination administered by the California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors ( or equivalent body in the state in which you plan to practice. The examination may be taken at any time, but most people find it easier to pass when completing their undergraduate work and more difficult later on. After passing the F.E. examination you will be eligible to receive an Engineer in Training (E.I.T.) certificate. At least two more years of practical experience and a further examination are required for a full license.

1. Understand basic principles, mathematics and science, and mechanical systems with an ability to analyze, model, synthesize, ideate, iterate, prototype, and implement engineering solutions in a broad range of fields.
2. Understand product development and manufacturing with the capability to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams, provide leadership and technical expertise, and be effective communicators.
3. Prepare for graduate study in engineering or other professional fields.
4. Develop an ethical approach to engineering with concern for society and the environment, and the ability to provide understandable technical expertise to non-technical individuals.
(a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
(b) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
(c) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs
(d) An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
(e) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
(f) An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
(g) An ability to communicate effectively
(h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
(i) A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning
(j) A knowledge of contemporary issues
(k) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
(l) The ability to apply advanced mathematics through multivariate calculus and differential equations
(m) The ability to work professionally in both thermal and mechanical systems areas including the design and realization of such systems
Mathematics and Science
The program requires a minimum 45 units of Math and Science combined. A minimum of 24 units of mathematics are required, which must include a course in Differential Equations (e.g., CME102/ENGR 155A or MATH 53 is required). In addition a course in statistics (CME 106, STATS 110 or STATS 116) is required. A minimum of 20 units of science are required, which must include both chemistry and physics, with a depth in at least one (a depth is defined as three courses). Although CHEM 31X is equivalent to taking CHEM 31A and CHEM 31B, we recommend ME students take CHEM 31X. Students who choose to take CHEM31A/B should note that these two courses combined are considered one quarter worth of chemistry. See the Mathematics and Science Requirement section of this handbook for details.

Physics Depth: Students without advanced placement in Physics take PHYSICS 41, 43, & 45. Students with advanced placement should refer to the chart below for placement details. Note that only AP Physics C, not AP Physics B, will place a student out of a 40-series class requirement.
Chemistry Depth: Students opting to take chemistry as their science depth must also take one quarter of physics from the 40 (calculus-based) series. Courses from the Physics 20 series are not allowed.
Score of 4 or 5 in Mechanics (AP Physics C) Take Physics 43 & 45
Score of 4 or 5 in Electricity & Magnetism (AP Physics C) Take Physics 41 & 45
Score of 4 or 5 for both Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism (AP Physics C) Take Physics 45

Engineering Fundamentals: Three courses required (Fr, So, Jr)
1) ENGR 40 Introductory Electronics (req’d) 5 AS So,Jr
2) ENGR 70A Programming Methodology (req’d) 5 AWSSu Fr,So
3) Fundamental Elective CS 106B or X not allowed; See Figure 3-4 in Chapter 3 for list of approved alternatives

  • ME fundamentals elective may not be a course counted towards other requirements. Students may opt to use ENGR 14, 15, or 30 from the required depth courses as the third fundamental class. However, total units for Engineering Topics (Fundamentals + Depth) must be a minimum of 68 units. Additional options courses may be required to meet unit requirements.

Technology in Society (TIS): One course required from approved list:

ME 190* Ethical Issues in Mechanical Engineering (RECOMMENDED)
STS 101 Science, Technology & Contemporary Society (Aut)
STS 110 Ethics and Public Policy (Wtr)
STS 115 Ethical Issues in Engineering (Spr)
POLISCI 114S International Security in a Changing World (Wtr)
CS 181 Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy (formerly CS 201) (Spr)

Mechanical Engineering Depth Requirements (55-56 units from the following list)

Note: A minimum of 68 units consisting of a combination of ME Depth and Engineering Fundamentals courses must be taken in order to satisfy ABET and SoE graduation requirements. Note that ENGR 102M does not count toward this 68-unit minimum.

ENGR 14 Introduction to Solid Mechanics 3 AWS Fr,So
ENGR 15 Dynamics 3 AS So, Jr
ENGR 30 Engineering Thermodynamics 3 AW So,Jr
ENGR102M* Tech/Professional Writing for ME 1 AW So,Jr
ME70 Introductory Fluids Engineering 4 WS So,Jr
ME80 Mechanics of Materials 4 AS Jr,Sr
ME101 Visual Thinking 4 AWS So,Jr
ME103D* Engineering Drawing 1 AW So,Jr
ME112 Mechanical Engineering Design 4 W Jr,Sr
ME113 Mechanical Engineering Design 4 S Jr,Sr
ME131A/B Heat Transfer & Fluid Mechanics 8 AW Jr,Sr
ME140 Advanced Thermal Systems 5 S Jr,Sr
ME161 Dynamic Systems 4 A
ME203* Manufacturing & Design 4 AW Jr,Sr
*ME 103D, ME 203, and ENGR 102M must be taken concurrently to fulfill the “Writing in the Major” requirement.
1. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Student Services Office must approve any deviation from the Engineering Depth (ME) requirement. Such petitions must be prepared on the School of Engineering petition forms (see the forms section at or in this handbook), approved by the advisor, and submitted by the third week of the quarter before the expected graduation quarter. For example, for a June graduation, a student must submit the petition by the third week of Winter quarter.
2. It is recommended that students review prerequisites for all courses before planning their course sequence
3. Petitions to deviate from School of Engineering requirements (i.e., math, science, Engineering Fundamentals, TIS) must be approved by the Dean’s office in 135 Huang Engineering Center.

Instructions for Declaring Mechanical Engineering (ME-BS)
1. Print a copy of your transcript from Axess.
2. Download and complete an ME program sheet from the School of Engineering UGHB web site ( Please include courses you plan to take as well as those you have already taken. You may pick up a major declaration form from the Mechanical Engineering Student Services Office (Building 530, room 125).
3. Please contact the ME Undergraduate Peer Advisor at for an appointment to go over your program sheet and select an advisor.
4. Discuss the program with your advisor and have him/her approve and sign your completed program sheet and major declaration form.
5. Return all completed documents and transcripts to the Student Services Office, Building 530, room 125.
6. Email Brittney Voelker ( to let her know that you have declared your major so that she may approve it.
7. Attend the quarterly ME Declaration lunch to finalize the process. For more information on the lunch, please speak with Brittney Voelker.

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