Technical Specialization Course Tracks

The following groupings are possible specialty areas that you can study within the mechanical engineering program. Courses outside of ME can be used as an Engineering Technical Elective (ETE) or General Technical Elective (GTE) as noted. A Mechanical Engineering Technical Elective (METE) can also be used for ETE or GTE. A course noted as ETE can also be used for GTE.

Mechanical Engineering in Aerospace Applications

Specialization in the application of mechanical engineering in the aerospace field. Track courses focus on advanced mechanical engineering topics needed in aerospace applications such as fluid dynamics, gas turbines, mechatronics and automatic control systems. Applications and professional opportunities exist in jet engines, rotorcraft, aircraft, and spacecraft design and development.

  • ME 400 – Thermodynamics
  • ME 404 – Gas Turbines
  • ME 421 – Viscous Flow Analysis & Computation
  • ME 445 – Applications of Microcomputers
  • ME 445 – Automatic Control Systems
  • ME 461 – Finite Elements in Engineering
  • AERSP 306 – Aeronautics (GTE)
  • AERSP 309 – Astronautics (GTE)

Vehicle Engineering for the 21st Century

This track includes traditional automotive engineering topics and advanced topics needed to meet today's needs for efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. Track courses include internal combustion engines, vehicle dynamics, fuel cells, hybrid vehicles, and advanced engineering tools such as mechatronics, finite element analysis, and control systems. Applications and professional opportunities exist in traditional the automotive and heavy transportation industries, earthmoving and construction equipment, and agricultural equipment. Emerging opportunities are developing as a result of the world's needs for low carbon emission, high efficiency transportation systems.

  • ME 400 – Thermodynamics II
  • ME 431 – Internal Combustion Engines
  • ME 445 – Applications of Microcomputers
  • ME 446 – Reliability Concepts in Design
  • ME 452 – Vehicle Dynamics
  • ME 455 – Automatic Control Systems
  • ME 460 – Advanced Machine Design Problems
  • ME 461 – Finite Elements in Engineering
  • ME 471 – Noise Control in Machinery
  • ME 481 – Computer Aided Analysis Mechanical Systems

Biomedical Device Engineering

Specialization in the application of mechanical engineering to devices and instruments used in the medical field. Track courses include finite element analysis, automatic control systems, medical imagining, and prosthesis design. Applications and professional opportunities exist throughout rapidly growing medical instrument and patient rehabilitation fields. (A bioengineering minor can be pursued with BSME. A concurrent degree plan is also available.)

  • ME 445* – Applications of Microcomputers
  • ME 455 – Automatic Control Systems
  • ME 461 – Finite Elements in Engineering
  • BioE 201 – Analysis of Molecules and Cells (GTE)
  • BioE 301 – Analysis of Physiological Systems (GTE)
  • BioE 402 – Biomedical Instrumentation and Measurements (ETE or GTE)
  • BioE 406 – Medical Imaging (ETE or GTE)
  • BioE 410 – BioMicrofluids (ETE or GTE)
  • BioE 419 – Artificial Organs and Prosthetic Devices (ETE or GTE)

Combustion Based Energy Conversions

Specialization in conversion of energy from combustion of fuels. Track courses include combustion processes, internal combustion engines, and rocket propulsion. Applications and professional opportunities exist and are wide ranging from power generation, transportation systems, and aerospace fields.

  • ME 400 – Thermodynamics II
  • ME 404 – Gas Turbines
  • ME 430 – Introduction to Combustion
  • ME 431 – Internal Combustion Engines
  • ME 432 – Rocket Propulsion

Machine Dynamics and Design

Specialization in some of the most traditional and enduring mechanical engineering topics of design, motion, and dynamics of mechanical machinery. Track courses focus on the analysis of forces and motions in moving components and the control of noise and vibration resulting from the equipment operation. The most current engineering tools are used to design and analyze mechanical devices for safe, functional and efficient operation. Applications and professional opportunities exist in almost all fields requiring mechanical engineering expertise, including, agricultural equipment, steam turbines, solar power, marine propulsion, and micro-machines.

  • ME 446 – Reliability Concepts in Design
  • ME 460 – Advanced Machine Design
  • ME 461 – Finite Elements in Engineering
  • ME 462 – Lubrication in Machine Design
  • ME 470 – Analysis & Design in Vibration Engineering
  • ME 480 – Machine Dynamics
  • ME 481 – Computer Aided Analysis Mechanical Systems
  • E MCH 400 – Advanced Strength of Material & Design (ETE or GTE)
  • E MCH 402 – Applied & Experimental Stress Analysis (ETE or GTE)
  • E MCH 403 – Strength Design in Materials and Structures (ETE or GTE)
  • E MCH 440 – Nondestructive Evaluation of Flaws (ETE or GTE)
  • E MCH 471 – Engr. Composite Materials (ETE or GTE)
  • E MCH 473 – Composites Processing (ETE or GTE)

Control of Mechanical Systems

Specialization in the control mechanical systems for a specific goal such as maintaining a prescribed motion profile, efficient energy utilization or force application. Courses include control system design and analysis, mechatronics, and robotics. Applications and professional opportunities exist in many engineering fields, including process and equipment automation, aircraft flight systems, medication dispensing, and emission control of combustion processes.

  • ME 445 – Applications of Microcomputers
  • ME 455 – Automatic Control Systems
  • ME 461 – Finite Elements in Engineering
  • ME 481 – Computer Aided Analysis Mechanical Systems

Turbomachinery Based Energy Conversions

Specialization in the efficiency transfer of thermal to mechanical energy. The track courses focus on advanced fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and turbine design and operation. Applications and professional opportunities exist in many areas as the global demand for energy grows exponentially.

  • ME 404 – Gas Turbines
  • ME 411 – Heat-Exchanger Design
  • ME 420 – Compressible Fluid Flow I
  • ME 421 – Viscous Flow Analysis & Computation
  • ME 422 – Principles of Turbomachinery
  • AERSP 412 – Turbulent Flow (ETE or GTE)
  • AERSP 423 – Num. Methods in Fluids (ETE or GTE)

Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering

Specialization in the merging of electronics and mechanical devices to optimize operational efficiency. Topics include computer-mechanical device interfacing, control of mechanical actuators, automatic control systems, and operation of industrial robots. Applications and professional opportunities exist in fields, such as computer control of mechanical mechanisms, process automation, and pharmaceutical production.

  • ME 445* – Applications of Microcomputers
  • ME 455 – Automatic Control Systems
  • ME 456 – Industrial Robotic Applications

Power Engineering

Specialization in the transfer of energy from one form to another, often as electricity in the end. The track is subdivided into nuclear engineering and power plant groupings. Courses in the nuclear engineering sub track provide the mechanical engineer with a fundamental knowledge of the field. The power plant sub track focuses on the conversion thermal energy to mechanical motion necessary to create electrical power, with courses in turbomachinery, heat exchangers, and automatic control systems. Applications and professional opportunities exist in electrical utilities and its support vendors.

  • ME 402 – Power Plants
  • ME 404 – Gas Turbines
  • ME 411 – Heat-Exchanger Design
  • ME 420 – Compressible Fluid Flow I
  • ME 422 – Principles of Turbomachinery
  • ME 433 – Fundamentals of Air Pollution
  • ME 445 – Applications of Microcomputers
  • ME 455 – Automatic Control Systems
  • NucE 301 – Fundamentals of Reactor Physics (GTE)
  • NucE 310W – Issues in Nuclear Engineering (GTE)
  • NucE 401 – Introduction to Nuclear Eng. (ETE or GTE)

Global Engineering via Study Abroad

Experience working in the global economy via a study abroad. Penn State's Global Engineering Education has numerous engineering exchange programs throughout the world. Through overseas study you will gain the critical experience to cultural sensitivities and the work environment. As each of the international partner institutions has different opportunities available, you can tailor your technical course of study. The experience prepares you to work for multinational companies in a variety of industries.

New Product Design and Manufacturing

This track provides a specialization in developing a product starting with a customer need through to a manufactured device. Courses focus on the design process, mechanical component design, design optimization, and manufacturing processes. Applications and professional opportunities range from consumer products to commercial aircraft.

  • ME 240 – Product Dissection (GTE)
  • ME 445* – Applications of Microcomputers
  • ME 446 – Reliability Concepts in Design
  • ME 456 – Industrial Robotic Applications
  • ME 460 – Advanced Machine Design
  • ME 461 – Finite Elements in Engineering
  • ME 471 – Noise Control in Machinery
  • ME 480 – Machine Dynamics
  • ME 481 – Computer Aided Analysis Mechanical Systems

Suggested Technical Specialization Course Tracks for Graduate School Preparation

Mechanical Sciences

  • ME 455 – Automatic Control Systems
  • ME 470 – Analysis and Design in Vibration Engineering
  • ME 480 – Machine Dynamics
  • E MCH 400 – Advanced Strength of Material and Design

Thermal Sciences

  • ME 400 – Thermodynamics
  • ME 420 – Compressible Fluid Flow I
  • ME 421 – Viscous Flow Analysis and Computation
  • ME 430 – Introduction to Combustion
 
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The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519