Engineering mechanics is the home of aerospace engineering at UW-Madison. Some of the most exciting innovations in air and space travel require understanding of the engineering mechanics principles at the heart of this major. Whether there are humans in the cockpit or remote-controlled drones, the interaction of an aircraft with its surroundings results in deformation, vibration and dynamic motions that are all explained by engineering mechanics. Even without the atmosphere experienced by aircraft, spacecraft and vehicles that explore distant planets must also withstand a variety of forces and be reliable in environments where repair may not be possible. In both cases, there is a premium on reducing weight and expanding capabilities. This makes aerospace engineering a natural extension of engineering mechanics. Following the same fundamental courses as our engineering mechanics major, students in the aerospace engineering option will apply their education in structural analysis, material science, advanced dynamics and vibrations to specific courses on aerodynamics, flight dynamics, orbital mechanics and propulsion. A highlight of this program is the aerodynamics laboratory where students conduct field experiments on the UW-Madison wind tunnel. Talk to your academic advisor about declaring this option.

The following curriculum applies to students who entered the College of Engineering beginning in Fall 2023.


Mathematics and Statistics 122
Science 110
Engineering Science27
Engineering Mechanics/Aerospace Engineering Core40
Technical Electives5
Communication Skills8
Liberal Studies16
Total Credits128

If the Mathematics and Statistics and the Science requirements are fulfilled with fewer than 30 credits combined, additional math/science credits will be needed to meet the math/science auxiliary credit condition.

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 324 Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers3
Total Credits22


Select one of the following:5-9
Advanced General Chemistry
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
PHYSICS 202 General Physics5
Total Credits10-14

Engineering Science

M E 201 Introduction to Mechanical Engineering3
M E 231 Geometric Modeling for Design and Manufacturing3
E P 271 Engineering Problem Solving I3
or COMP SCI 200 Programming I
or COMP SCI 220 Data Science Programming I
M E 361 Thermodynamics3
M E 363 Fluid Dynamics3
or CIV ENGR 310 Fluid Mechanics
E C E 376 Electrical and Electronic Circuits3
or PHYSICS 321 Electric Circuits and Electronics
M E 364 Elementary Heat Transfer3
E C E 332 Feedback Control Systems3
or M E 346 Introduction to Feedback Control for Mechanical Engineers
or M E 446 Automatic Controls
Computing Elective (select one)3
Programming II
Introduction to Numerical Methods
Intermediate Problem Solving for Engineers
Introduction to Scientific Computing for Engineering Physics
Total Credits27

Engineering Mechanics/Aerospace Engineering Core

E M A 201 Statics (with a grade of C or better)3
E M A 202 Dynamics3
or M E 240 Dynamics
E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials3
or M E 306 Mechanics of Materials
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
Experimental Mechanics Elective (select one)3
Experimental Vibration and Dynamic System Analysis
Experimental Mechanics
Advanced Mechanical Testing of Materials
Aerodynamics Lab
E M A 521 Aerodynamics3
or M E 563 Intermediate Fluid Dynamics
E M A 542 Advanced Dynamics3
E M A 545 Mechanical Vibrations3
E M A 569 Senior Design Project3
Spacecraft & Structural Dynamics Elective (select one)3
Structural Finite Element Model Validation
Satellite Dynamics
Aerospace Fluid Mechanics Elective (select one)3
Flight Dynamics and Control
Rocket Propulsion
Total Credits40

Technical Electives

Choose five credits from:5
Cooperative Education Program (no more than 3 credits)
Courses numbered 300+ in the CoE except for E P D/INTEREGR
Up to 3 credits of independent study such as E M A 599; independent study from other engineering subjects may be approved on an individual basis
Courses numbered 300+ MATH, PHYSICS, COMP SCI, STAT (except STAT 301), ASTRON, MED PHYS, and CHEM departments
Modern Physics for Engineers
Introduction to Modern Physics
Students may also propose any class that they feel will benefit their education path with pre-requisite of two physics or calculus classes. For these courses the advisor will review the request and if approved, recommend a DARS substitution.
Total Credits5

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
INTEREGR 397 Engineering Communication3
Total Credits8

Liberal Studies

College of Engineering Liberal Studies Requirements
Complete Requirements 116
Total Credits16

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 subject area (the description before the course number). 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 in Undergraduate Research

Qualified undergraduates may earn an 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. 

Example Four Year Plan

First Year
CHEM 10915E M A 20133
MATH 2215MATH 2224
Commucations A3M E 2313
M E 20123Liberal Studies Elective or3
or Liberal Studies Elective
M E 20123
 Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 19
Second Year
MATH 2344MATH 3203
PHYSICS 2025Technical Elective3
E M A 20243M E 3613
E P 2713E M A 30343
E P D 275 or COM ARTS 1052E M A/​M E  30741
 Liberal Studies Elective3
 17 16
Third Year
E M A 5063E M A 5453
E M A 4053INTEREGR 3973
E M A 5423M E 3643
M E 363 or CIV ENGR 3103STAT 3243
MATH 3213Computing Elective3
 Experimental Mechanics Course53
 15 18
Fourth Year
E M A 4693E M A 5693
E M A 52163E M A 523 or 52473
E C E 376 or PHYSICS 3213E M A/​ASTRON  550, 610, or 6423
E C E 332, M E 346, or M E 4463Tech Elective2
Liberal Studies Elective4Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 14
Total Credits 131

It is recommended that students take CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry for 5 credits. However, depending on their high school chemistry experience, students may substitute CHEM 103 General Chemistry I and CHEM 104 General Chemistry II for a total of 9 credits.


M E 201 Introduction to Mechanical Engineering can be taken in first or second semester


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


After completing E M A 201 Statics, students may take E M A 202 Dynamics and E M A 303 Mechanics of Materials/E M A/​M E  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab in either order or concurrently.


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 and E M A/​M E  570 Experimental Mechanics are typically offered in the fall. E M A 611 Advanced Mechanical Testing of Materials and E M A 522 Aerodynamics Lab are typically offered in the spring.


M E 563 Intermediate Fluid Dynamics may be substituted for E M A 521 Aerodynamics. Note that M E 563 Intermediate Fluid Dynamics is offered in the spring semester only.


E M A 523 Flight Dynamics and Control is offered in the Spring semester only. E M A 524 Rocket Propulsion is offered in the Fall semester only.