CoE_engr-mechanics-bs

The Department of Engineering Physics administers the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in engineering mechanics. The B.S. degree in engineering mechanics may be accompanied by an option in astronautics.

Engineering mechanics is the scholarly term for the study of forces and the resulting deformations, accelerations, motions, vibrations and other action that they cause.  As such, engineering mechanics forms the foundation of a degree in aerospace, mechanical or civil engineering and it is fundamental to important parts of biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering and a few other engineering disciplines.  Hence, a degree in engineering mechanics provides a broad basic scientific background which enables its graduates to tackle challenging problems in most fields of engineering. The curriculum emphasizes the basic sciences—mathematics, computer science, physics and the engineering sciences—fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, mechanics, materials science, and electrical engineering. Although the degree program is entitled engineering mechanics at UW–Madison, the program is most comparable to aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering programs at various universities across the United States. However, internationally, this field is more commonly known as “mechanics” rather than “mechanical engineering” or “aerospace engineering.”  A few select universities in the United States offer programs that are similar to UW–Madison’s engineering mechanics program under titles such as “engineering science” or “theoretical and applied mechanics.” 

The objective of the program is to provide the student with a broad background in the fundamental physical sciences and applied mathematics, coordinated with both theoretical and applied engineering methods and experimental techniques. This type of educational background will give the student the degree of versatility necessary for dealing with the variety and complexity of modern technological problems as well as the ability to adapt to the rapidly changing needs and interests of industry, government, and society.

An education in engineering mechanics provides many advantages. First, the foundation offered by a degree in mechanics allows our graduates to more easily interact with co-workers on interdisciplinary teams including chemists, physicists, and mathematicians. Second, many industrial organizations prefer engineers that have a broad, fundamental scientific background rather than a narrow view of just one discipline. Third, and probably most important, great changes have taken place in science and engineering during recent years. Among the most important of these have been the rapid diffusion of scientific knowledge and disciplines into engineering, the increasing use of analytical and computer methods for the solution of practical problems, the need for a better understanding of the properties and behavior of materials, and the increasing need for engineers who can adapt known methods to new situations and develop new experimental and analytical methods.  By focusing on core competency in physics and applied mathematics the engineering mechanics degree prepares students for these challenges.

The required courses taken early in the curriculum are intended to give the student a fundamental background in mathematics, science, and engineering. In addition to developing versatility through exposure to important concepts in various scientific fields, the required courses allow the students to identify areas of interest. With the relatively large number of elective credits available in the latter part of the program, the student may either continue to follow a general program or may prefer to concentrate elective courses in such areas as stress analysis and structural mechanics, dynamics and vibrations, aerodynamics and flight mechanics, experimental mechanics, applied mathematics, materials science, geological engineering, biomechanics, aerospace mechanics, mechanical systems analysis, etc.

Engineering mechanics graduates are sought by most industries and governmental agencies including in particular those participating in the newly developing areas of engineering such as space technology, performance of new structural materials, and so on. Their work often involves participation in design, research and development projects where the problems are sufficiently complex or unusual that their solutions require engineers with (1) a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of engineering, (2) advanced education in the established experimental and analytical methods, and (3) the ability to develop new experimental and analytical methods to attack problems for which standard methods, formulas, and materials have not yet been developed. The program also provides excellent preparation for graduate study in a variety of related disciplines.

Admission to the College as a Freshman

Students applying to UW–Madison need to indicate an engineering major as their first choice in order to be considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering. Direct admission to a major means students will start in the program of their choice in the College of Engineering and will need to meet progression requirements at the end of the first year to guarantee advancement in that program.

Cross-Campus Transfer to Engineering

UW–Madison students in other schools and colleges on campus must meet the course and credit requirements for admission to engineering degree granting classifications specified in the general college requirements. The requirements are the minimum for admission consideration. Cross-campus admission is competitive and selective, and the grade point average expectations may increase as demand trends change. The student’s overall academic record at UW–Madison is also considered. Students apply to their intended engineering program by submitting the online application by stated deadlines for spring and fall. The College of Engineering offers group information sessions for students to learn about the cross-campus transfer process.

Off-Campus Transfer to Engineering

With careful planning, students at other accredited institutions can transfer coursework that will apply toward engineering degree requirements at UW–Madison. Off-campus transfer applicants are considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering by applying to the Office of Admissions with an engineering major listed as their first choice. Those who are admitted to their intended engineering program must meet progression requirements at the point of transfer or within their first two semesters at UW–Madison to guarantee advancement in that program. A minimum of 30 credits in residence in the College of Engineering is required after transferring, and all students must meet all requirements for their major in the college. Transfer admission to the College of Engineering is competitive and selective, and students who have earned more than 80 transferable semester credits at the time of application are not eligible to apply.

Off-campus transfer students are encouraged to discuss their interests, academic background, and admission options with the Transfer Admissions and Advising Coordinator in the College of Engineering: ugtransfer@engr.wisc.edu or 608-262-2473.

Second Bachelor's Degree

The College of Engineering does not accept second undergraduate degree applications. Second degree students might explore the Biological Systems Engineering program at UW–Madison, an undergraduate engineering degree elsewhere, or a graduate program in the College of Engineering.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

The following curriculum applies to students who entered the College of Engineering after fall 2016.

Engineering Mechanics Curriculum

Summary of Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics22
Science13
Engineering Science26
Engineering Mechanics Core31
EMA Electives9
Communication Skills8
Liberal Studies16
Technical Electives3
Total Credits128

Mathematics and Statistics

MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
or MATH 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
or MATH 275 Topics in Calculus I
MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 24-5
or MATH 276 Topics in Calculus II
MATH 234 Calculus--Functions of Several Variables4
MATH 320 Linear Algebra and Differential Equations3
MATH 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis3
STAT 224 Introductory Statistics for Engineers3
Total Credits22-23

Science

CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry (or CHEM 103 & 104)5
PHYSICS 202 General Physics5
PHYSICS 241 Introduction to Modern Physics3
or PHYSICS 205 Modern Physics for Engineers
Total Credits13

Engineering Science

INTEREGR 110 Introduction to Engineering1
INTEREGR 170 Design Practicum2
M E 231 Introductory Engineering Graphics2
E P 271 Engineering Problem Solving I3
or COMP SCI 310 Problem Solving Using Computers
M S & E 350 Introduction to Materials Science3
M E 361 Thermodynamics3
M E 363 Fluid Dynamics3
or CIV ENGR 310 Fluid Mechanics
M E 364 Elementary Heat Transfer3
E C E 376 Electrical and Electronic Circuits3
or PHYSICS 321 Electric Circuits and Electronics
Computing Elective 13
Total Credits26
1

Choose from COMP SCI 367 Introduction to Data Structures, COMP SCI 412 Introduction to Numerical Methods, E M A/​E P  471 Intermediate Problem Solving for Engineers, N E 602 Special Topics in Reactor Engineering

Engineering Mechanics Core

E M A 201 Statics3
E M A 202 Dynamics3
E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials3
E M A/​M E  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab1
E M A 405 Practicum in Finite Elements3
E M A 469 Design Problems in Engineering3
E M A 506 Advanced Mechanics of Materials I3
Select one of the following:3
Experimental Mechanics
Experimental Vibration and Dynamic System Analysis
Advanced Mechanical Testing of Materials
Aerodynamics Lab
E M A 521 Aerodynamics3
E M A 542 Advanced Dynamics3
E M A 569 Senior Design Project3
Total Credits31

Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics Electives

Select 9 credits from any EMA course numbered 500 and above9

Communication Skills

ENGL 100 Introduction to College Composition3
or COM ARTS 100 Introduction to Speech Composition
or LSC 100 Science and Storytelling
or ESL 118 Academic Writing II
E P D 275 Technical Presentations2
E P D 397 Technical Communication3
Total Credits8

Technical Electives

Select 3 credits at a level that requires two semesters of calculus or two semesters of physics.3

Liberal Studies 

College of Engineering Liberal Studies Requirements
Complete Requirements 116
Total Credits16
1

Students must take 16 credits that carry H, S, L, or Z breadth designators. These credits must fulfill the following subrequirements:

  1. A minimum of two courses from the same department or program. At least one of these two courses must be designated as above the elementary level (I, A, or D) in the course listing.
  2. A minimum of 6 credits designated as humanities (H, L, or Z in the course listing), and an additional minimum of 3 credits designated as social science (S or Z in the course listing). Foreign language courses count as H credits. Retroactive credits for language courses may not be used to meet the Liberal Studies credit requirement (they can be used for subrequirement 1 above).
  3. At least 3 credits in courses designated as ethnic studies (lower case “e” in the course listing). These courses may help satisfy subrequirements 1 and 2 above, but they count only once toward the total required. Note: Some courses may have “e” designation but not H, S, L, or Z designation; these courses do not count toward the Liberal Studies requirement.

Total Credits: 121

For information on credit load, adding or dropping courses, course substitutions, pass/fail, auditing courses, dean's honor list, repeating courses, probation, and graduation, see the College of Engineering Official Regulations.

Astronautics Option in Engineering Mechanics

The astronautics option in engineering mechanics prepares students for design, development, and research, with an emphasis on applied mathematics and astronautics. Its purpose is to improve and expand the educational opportunities of students at the university who wish to pursue careers in astronautics and space-related areas. This is accomplished by providing in depth exposure to course sequences in astrodynamics, orbital mechanics, and flight dynamics, as well as a core curriculum of structural and material analysis, advanced dynamics, and vibrations. The program requires a minimum of 127 credits; students selecting this option must submit an option declaration form to the department office.

The following curriculum applies to students who entered the College of Engineering after May 2001.

Summary of Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics22
Science13
Engineering Science26
Engineering Mechanics/Astronautics Core40
EMA Electives3
Communication Skills8
Liberal Studies16
Total Credits128

Mathematics and Statistics

MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
or MATH 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
or MATH 275 Topics in Calculus I
MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 24
or MATH 276 Topics in Calculus II
MATH 234 Calculus--Functions of Several Variables4
MATH 320 Linear Algebra and Differential Equations3
MATH 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis3
STAT 224 Introductory Statistics for Engineers3
or STAT 324 Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers
Total Credits22

Science 

CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry (or CHEM 103 & 104)5
PHYSICS 202 General Physics5
PHYSICS 241 Introduction to Modern Physics3
or PHYSICS 205 Modern Physics for Engineers
Total Credits13

Engineering Science 

INTEREGR 110 Introduction to Engineering1
INTEREGR 170 Design Practicum2
M E 231 Introductory Engineering Graphics2
E P 271 Engineering Problem Solving I3
or COMP SCI 310 Problem Solving Using Computers
M E 361 Thermodynamics3
M E 363 Fluid Dynamics3
or CIV ENGR 310 Fluid Mechanics
E C E 376 Electrical and Electronic Circuits3
M E 364 Elementary Heat Transfer3
E C E 332 Feedback Control Systems3
or M E 446 Automatic Controls
Computing Elective 13
Total Credits26
1

 Choose from COMP SCI 367 Introduction to Data StructuresCOMP SCI 412 Introduction to Numerical MethodsE M A/​E P  471 Intermediate Problem Solving for EngineersN E 602 Special Topics in Reactor Engineering

 

Engineering Mechanics/Astronautics Core 

E M A 201 Statics3
E M A 202 Dynamics3
E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials3
E M A/​M E  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab1
E M A 405 Practicum in Finite Elements3
E M A 469 Design Problems in Engineering3
E M A 506 Advanced Mechanics of Materials I3
Select one of the following:3
Experimental Vibration and Dynamic System Analysis
Experimental Mechanics
Advanced Mechanical Testing of Materials
Aerodynamics Lab
E M A 521 Aerodynamics3
E M A 542 Advanced Dynamics3
E M A 545 Mechanical Vibrations3
E M A/​ASTRON  550 Astrodynamics3
E M A 569 Senior Design Project3
E M A 642 Satellite Dynamics3
Total Credits40

Technical Electives 

Select three credits at an academic level that requires 2 semesters of calculus or 2 semesters of physics as a pre-requisite. E M A 1 may also be used to satisfy this requirement.3

Communication Skills 

ENGL 100 Introduction to College Composition3
or COM ARTS 100 Introduction to Speech Composition
or LSC 100 Science and Storytelling
or ESL 118 Academic Writing II
E P D 275 Technical Presentations2
E P D 397 Technical Communication3
Total Credits8

Liberal Studies 

College of Engineering Liberal Studies Requirements
Complete Requirements 116
Total Credits16
1

Students must take 16 credits that carry H, S, L, or Z breadth designators. These credits must fulfill the following subrequirements:

  1. A minimum of two courses from the same department or program. At least one of these two courses must be designated as above the elementary level (I, A, or D) in the course listing.
  2. A minimum of 6 credits designated as humanities (H, L, or Z in the course listing), and an additional minimum of 3 credits designated as social science (S or Z in the course listing). Foreign language courses count as H credits. Retroactive credits for language courses may not be used to meet the Liberal Studies credit requirement (they can be used for subrequirement 1 above).
  3. At least 3 credits in courses designated as ethnic studies (lower case “e” in the course listing). These courses may help satisfy subrequirements 1 and 2 above, but they count only once toward the total required. Note: Some courses may have “e” designation but not H, S, L, or Z designation; these courses do not count toward the Liberal Studies requirement.

For information on credit load, adding or dropping courses, course substitutions, pass/fail, auditing courses, dean's honor list, repeating courses, probation, and graduation, see the College of Engineering Official Regulations.

Honors Options

Engineering Mechanics Scholars and Distinguished Scholars Program

Students who achieve at least a 3.0 GPA in their first semester, and maintain it throughout their career, may be designated Scholars. They also may be exempted from some formal requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Mechanics degree other than total credits. However, they must meet certain restrictions on the distribution of courses chosen. Students who achieve at least a 3.70 grade point average (GPA) for the first semester of the freshman year or a 3.5 GPA for the first four semesters, may be designated Distinguished Scholars. These students, with the approval of their advisor, may be exempted from most formal requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Mechanics degree other than the total credit hours, so long as they maintain a satisfactory performance record and the main thrust of their work is along the lines of engineering mechanics education. The general education and liberal studies requirements must be met by Scholars and Distinguished Scholars. Students transferring into the engineering mechanics degree program may be eligible to qualify for either of these scholars programs as late as the beginning of the seventh semester.

Honors in Undergraduate Research Program

Qualified undergraduates may earn a Honors in Research designation on their transcript and diploma by completing 8 credits of undergraduate honors research, including a senior thesis. Further information is available in the department office.

  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems. This includes:
    1. an ability to apply knowledge of basic mathematics, science and engineering.
    2. an ability to use advanced mathematical and computational techniques to analyze, model, and design physical systems consisting of solid and fluid components under steady state and transient conditions.
    3. an ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs.
    4. an ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  • an ability to function on multi‐disciplinary teams.
  • knowledge of professional and ethical standards.
  • an ability to communicate effectively.
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.
  • a recognition of the need for, and ability to engage in life-long learning.
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues.

SAMPLE FOUR-YEAR PLAN

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 10915E M A 20133
MATH 2215MATH 2224
Communications A3STAT 224 or 3243
INTEREGR 1101M E 2312
INTEREGR 17022Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MATH 2344MATH 3203
PHYSICS 2025PHYSICS 241 or 2053
E M A 2023M E 3613
E P 271 or COMP SCI 3103E M A 30343
E P D 275 or COM ARTS 1052E M A/​M E  30741
 Liberal Studies Elective3
 17 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
E M A 5063E M A 4053
E M A 542 or 54553Experimental Mechanics Course63
MATH 3213M E 363 or CIV ENGR 3103
M S & E 3503Computing Elective3
E P D 3973Technical Elective3
Liberal Studies Elective3 
 18 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
E M A 4693E M A 5693
E M A 52173EMA Elective3
EMA Elective3EMA Elective3
E C E 3763M E 3643
Liberal Studies Elective4Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 15
Total Credits 128
1

Students should take CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry, 5 cr; students with inadequate preparation in high school chemistry may substitute CHEM 103 General Chemistry I and CHEM 104 General Chemistry II for a total of 9 credits.

2

 Students who were not able to take INTEREGR 170 Design Practicum as freshmen may, with the approval of their advisor, substitute 2 credits of electives from courses offered in the College of Engineering or in the departments of Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics.

3

 Students may substitute PHYSICS 201 General Physics, 5 credits, for E M A 201 Statics, 3 credits, with the approval of their advisor.

4

 M E 306 Mechanics of Materials and M E/​E M A  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab are acceptable substitutions for E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials and E M A/​M E  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab.

5

 Students electing E M A 545 Mechanical Vibrations instead of E M A 542 Advanced Dynamics should note that E M A 545 Mechanical Vibrations is offered in the spring semester only.

6

 E M A 611 Advanced Mechanical Testing of Materials or E M A/​M E  540 Experimental Vibration and Dynamic System Analysis or E M A/​M E  570 Experimental Mechanics or E M A 522 Aerodynamics Lab. Note that E M A/​M E  540 Experimental Vibration and Dynamic System Analysis is typically offered in the fall.

7

 M E 563 Intermediate Fluid Dynamics may be substituted for E M A 521 Aerodynamics.

Astronautics Option in Engineering Mechanics

EXAMPLE FOUR YEAR PLAN

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 1095E M A 2013
MATH 2215MATH 2224
Communications A3STAT 2243
INTEREGR 1101M E 2312
INTEREGR 1702Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MATH 2344MATH 3203
PHYSICS 2025PHYSICS 241 or 2053
E M A 2023M E 3613
E P 2713E M A 3033
E P D 275 or COM ARTS 1052E M A/​M E  3071
 Liberal Studies Elective3
 17 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
E M A 5063E M A 5453
E M A 4053E M A/​ASTRON  5503
M E 363 or CIV ENGR 3103E M A 611, 540, 570, or 5223
MATH 3213M E 3643
E P D 3973Computing Elective3
Liberal Studies Elective3 
 18 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
E M A 4693E M A 5693
E M A 5213E M A 6423
E M A 5423E C E 332 or M E 4463
E C E 3763Technical Elective3
Liberal Studies Elective3Liberal Studies Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits 127

Advising

Each College of Engineering program has academic advisors dedicated to serving its students. Program advisors can help current College of Engineering students with questions about accessing courses, navigating degree requirements, resolving academic issues and more. Students can find their assigned advisor on the homepage of their student center. 

Engineering Career Services

Engineering Career Services (ECS) assists students in identifying pre-professional work-based learning experiences such as co-ops and summer internships, considering and applying to graduate or professional school, and finding full-time professional employment during their graduation year.

ECS offers two major career fairs per year, assists with resume writing and interviewing skills, hosts workshops on the job search, and meets one-on-one with students to discuss offer negotiations.

Students are encouraged to utilize the ECS office early in their academic careers. For comprehensive information on ECS programs and workshops, see the ECS website or call 608-262-3471.

Professors Henderson (chair), T. Allen, Blanchard, Bonazza, Crone, Drugan, Fonck, Hegna, Kammer, Lakes, Smith (also Mathematics), Sovinec, Waleffe (also Mathematics), Wilson; Associate Professor M. Allen, Witt; Assistant Professors Couet, Notbohm, Scarlat, Schmitz; and Affiliate Faculty (see department webpage for list).

Facilities

Facilities available for instruction and research include:

Mechanics Holographic Lab
Viscoelasticity and Composites Lab
Wisconsin Laboratory for Structures and Materials Testing: Materials Testing Lab
Wind Tunnel Laboratory
Structural Mechanics Lab
Structural Dynamics and Vibrations Lab
Fatigue/Fracture Lab
Instructional Computing Lab (in Computer Aided Engineering)
Research Computing Lab