3D printer

Mechanical engineers are problem-solvers who make things work better, more efficiently, and more economically. They are also innovators who creatively design machines and systems that enhance our lives. The Mechanical Engineering discipline spans mathematics, physics, computing, mechanical systems, manufacturing, energy systems and thermal-fluids, to name just a few. Mechanical engineers must also possess good communication skills and be able to work in teams. Mechanical engineers should be aware of social and environmental consequences of their work. In the Mechanical Engineering Department, students receive basic preparation in all of these areas. Additionally, through choice of elective courses they may further specialize in areas such as biomechanics, renewable energy systems, robotics, product design, controls, automotive and advanced manufacturing.

A degree in mechanical engineering prepares students for a range of career opportunities including those in industry, government, consulting, and entrepreneurial activities. Mechanical engineers are in high demand across a range of industries such as automotive, materials processing, heavy equipment, paper, plastics, power, aerospace, medical devices, chemical, electronics, or many other large and small industries. Their work may involve research and development of new products, design of equipment or systems, supervision of production, plant engineering, administration, sales engineering, or testing of individual components or complete assemblies. A degree in mechanical engineering may also be used as a springboard to non-engineering fields, including medicine, law, or business, and provides a broad foundation for graduate work in science and engineering.

In the Mechanical Engineering Department at UW-Madison, course options are grouped according to three major disciplines: Mechanical Systems, Energy Systems, and Manufacturing. The required course list is made up of foundational courses from each of these three sub-disciplines as well as core mathematics and science courses. In addition, the department offers specialization tracks which leverage key expertise within the department. These specialization tracks include Biomechanics and Sustainable Energy Systems.

Mechanical Engineering Disciplines: 

  1. Mechanical systems covers the design and analysis of products and equipment. Mechanical engineers who focus on design conceive of new devices and machines and also refine and improve existing designs. The design engineer must be proficient in kinematics, machine elements, mechanics, strength and properties of materials, dynamics, vibrations, etc.
  2. Energy systems has taken on special significance with the current awareness of the limited energy sources and the effects of energy use on the environment. In this field, mechanical engineers carry out work on the behavior of liquids, gases, and solids as they are used in all types of energy-conversion systems. Automotive engines, gas turbines, steam power plants, refrigeration systems, air pollution control, cryogenics and energy utilization require this type of background. The proficient engineer must have a knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and related subjects.
  3. Mechanical engineers who focus on Manufacturing are involved with planning and selecting manufacturing methods, with designing and developing manufacturing equipment, and with increasing the efficiency and productivity of current manufacturing technologies for polymer, metal, and ceramic products. The manufacturing engineer uses chemistry, materials science, mechanics of materials, materials processing principles and practices, principles of computer control, engineering statistics, data-science and other physical and thermal sciences to improve manufacturing operations and systems, and the products they produce.

Mechanical Engineering Specialization Tracks:

In addition to the core curriculum, the department offers specialization tracks which leverage key expertise within the department. The specialization tracks provide guidance on the selection of elective courses that fit within the regular Mechanical Engineering curriculum. The tracks also allow a student to work on specialization-relevant design projects in their senior capstone design sequence.

Biomechanics: Biomechanics involves the application of mechanical engineering principles to address problems in medicine and biology. Students in the biomechanics track select from elective courses in biology, physiology, tissue mechanics, movement biomechanics, orthopedic biomechanics and biofluidics. There is also the potential to pursue research opportunities with our biomechanics faculty who do work on traumatic brain injury, wearable sensors, prosthetics, orthopedics, cardiovascular mechanics, rehabilitation and more. Students in the biomechanics track can simultaneously complete the Biology in Engineering Certificate (BEC) program with additional classes in advanced biology and a biology in engineering seminar. Students in the biomechanics track are well prepared for traditional mechanical engineering careers, as well as more specialized opportunities in medical device design,  biomechanical systems, and biomechanics research. The biomechanics track can also be used to prepare for graduate programs in biomechanics and professional degrees in medicine and physical therapy.

Sustainable Energy Systems: Energy systems, broadly speaking, encompass the flow of energy from source to end use. From the sun to the laptop, the mantle of the earth to the office building, the Mesozoic Era to today’s jet airliner. There are numerous methods to collect, store and transport this energy. All these methods involve technical challenges and efficiency losses. The Mechanical Engineering student who follows the Sustainable Energy Systems track will take technical electives which cover the fundamental thermodynamics of power generation, the technologies and efficiencies of renewable energy, the social and environmental costs of current technologies and the tradeoffs and compromises engineers must make to fuel modern technological society. Students in the Sustainable Energy Systems track can simultaneously complete the Certificate in Engineering Thermal Energy Systems (CETES) with additional thermal energy-related courses. Energy systems continue to be intertwined with global economics, international relations, corporate sustainability and national policies. A graduate with the technical knowledge of these relationships is appealing to employers in a vast range of engineering fields and industries.

Mechanical Engineering Program Educational Objectives

Graduates from the undergraduate program in mechanical engineering will choose to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their undergraduate years to pursue a wide variety of career and life goals. We encourage this diversity of paths.

Independent of whether our graduates choose to pursue a professional career, postgraduate education, or volunteer service in engineering or a different field; we expect that our graduates will achieve the following objectives within three to five years after graduation:

  1. They will exhibit a fundamental understanding of broader engineering disciplines with strong skills in mechanical engineering, problem solving, leadership, teamwork, and communication.
  2. They will use these skills to contribute to their organizations and communities.
  3. They will make thoughtful, well-informed decisions in their career and life.
  4. They will demonstrate a continuing commitment to and interest in their own and other’s education.

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 minimum admission requirements for admission consideration to engineering degree granting classifications. 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 an online information tutorial and drop-in advising 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 exceeded the 80 credit limit at the time of application are not eligible to apply.

The College of Engineering has dual degree programs with select four-year UW System campuses. Eligible dual degree applicants are not subject to the 80 credit limit.

Off-campus transfer students are encouraged to discuss their interests, academic background, and admission options with the Transfer 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.

Summary of Requirements

The following curriculum applies to undergraduate students admitted to the Mechanical Engineering degree program in Fall 2021 or later. Check with the department for any recent changes. Students admitted before Fall 2021 can locate their curriculum at this link.

Mathematics and Statistics19
Basic Science14
Non–Mechanical Engineering12
Mechanical Engineering Core50
Technical Electives9
Math/Science Electives3
Communication Skills6
Liberal Studies15
Total Credits128


MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 24
MATH 234 Calculus--Functions of Several Variables4
MATH 320 Linear Algebra and Differential Equations3
STAT 324 Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers3
or I SY E 210 Introduction to Industrial Statistics
Total Credits19

All transfer students must have the equivalent of the above courses. If the above requirement is fulfilled with fewer than 19 credits, the balance becomes free elective credits.

Transfer students may fulfill the statistics requirement with other statistics courses having a calculus prerequisite and the approval of the mechanical engineering department via a Course Substitution Form.

Basic Science

Select one of the following:4-5
Advanced General Chemistry
General Chemistry I
COMP SCI 220 Data Science Programming I4
PHYSICS 202 General Physics 15
Total Credits13-14

Students following the normal M E course sequence need not take PHYSICS 201 General Physics to satisfy the prerequisites for PHYSICS 202 General Physics.

Non-Mechanical Engineering

E M A 201 Statics (with a grade of C or better)3
M S & E 350 Introduction to Materials Science3
E C E 376 Electrical and Electronic Circuits3
E C E 377 Fundamentals of Electrical and Electro-mechanical Power Conversion3
or M E 346 Introduction to Feedback Control for Mechanical Engineers
Total Credits12

Mechanical Engineering Core

M E 201 Introduction to Mechanical Engineering3
M E 231 Geometric Modeling for Design and Manufacturing3
M E 240 Dynamics (with a grade of C or better)3
M E 306 Mechanics of Materials (with a grade of C or better)3
M E/​E M A  307 Mechanics of Materials Lab1
Choose one sequence:6
Manufacturing: Polymer Processing and Engineering
and Manufacturing: Metals and Automation
Manufacturing Processes
and Manufacturing Fundamentals
M E 331 Computer-Aided Engineering3
M E 340 Dynamic Systems3
M E 342 Design of Machine Elements3
M E 351
M E 352
Interdisciplinary Experiential Design Projects I
and Interdisciplinary Experiential Design Projects II
M E 361 Thermodynamics (with a grade of C or better)3
M E 363 Fluid Dynamics3
M E 364 Elementary Heat Transfer3
M E 368 Engineering Measurements and Instrumentation4
M E 370 Energy Systems Laboratory3
Total Credits50

Technical Electives

The mechanical engineering curriculum requires a total of 9 credits of technical electives. A minimum of 3 of those 9 credits must be from formal M E courses numbered 400 and higher. A formal course is defined as a class that meets regularly in a lecture format to study a selected topic. The educational mission is assisted with homework and exams. Formal courses include online courses but do not include seminar, survey, independent study, research, topics, or similar courses.9
Technical electives include formal courses in engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, statistics, and computer science courses numbered 400 and higher. INTEREGR and E P D courses are limited to those listed below. The following courses are also accepted as technical electives:
ANAT&PHY 335 Physiology5
BMOLCHEM 314 Introduction to Human Biochemistry3
BSE 351 Structural Design for Agricultural Facilities3
BSE 364 Engineering Properties of Food and Biological Materials3
BSE/​ENVIR ST  367 Renewable Energy Systems3
CBE 320 Introductory Transport Phenomena4
CBE 326 Momentum and Heat Transfer Operations3
CHEM 341 Elementary Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 343 Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 345 Organic Chemistry II3
CIV ENGR 311 Hydroscience3
CIV ENGR 320 Environmental Engineering3
CIV ENGR/​G L E  330 Soil Mechanics3
CIV ENGR 340 Structural Analysis I3
CIV ENGR 370 Transportation Engineering3
CIV ENGR 392 Building Information Modeling (BIM)3
CIV ENGR 415 Hydrology3
COMP SCI 300 Programming II3
COMP SCI 320 Data Science Programming II4
COMP SCI/​E C E  354 Machine Organization and Programming3
E C E 320 Electrodynamics II3
E C E 330 Signals and Systems3
E C E 340 Electronic Circuits I3
E C E 342 Electronic Circuits II3
E C E/​COMP SCI  352 Digital System Fundamentals3
E C E 353 Introduction to Microprocessor Systems3
E C E/​COMP SCI  354 Machine Organization and Programming3
E C E 355 Electromechanical Energy Conversion3
E C E 356 Electric Power Processing for Alternative Energy Systems3
E P 272 Engineering Problem Solving Using Maple1
E P D 660 Core Competencies of Sustainability3
INTEREGR 301 Engineering and Biology: Technological Symbiosis1-4
I SY E 315 Production Planning and Control3
I SY E 323 Operations Research-Deterministic Modeling3
I SY E/​PSYCH  349 Introduction to Human Factors3
INFO SYS 371 Technology of Computer-Based Business Systems3
MATH 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis3
MATH 322 Applied Mathematical Analysis3
M E 273 Engineering Problem Solving with EES1
M S & E 330 Thermodynamics of Materials4
M S & E 332 Macroprocessing of Materials3
M S & E 352 Materials Science-Transformation of Solids3
N E 305 Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering3
PHYSICS 205 Modern Physics for Engineers3
PHYSICS 241 Introduction to Modern Physics3
PHYSICS 311 Mechanics3
PHYSICS 321 Electric Circuits and Electronics4
PHYSICS 322 Electromagnetic Fields3
PHYSICS 325 Optics4
STAT 311 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I3
STAT 312 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics II3
STAT 333 Applied Regression Analysis3
STAT 349 Introduction to Time Series3
STAT 351 Introductory Nonparametric Statistics3
Up to 3 technical elective credits may be obtained for non-formal courses such as independent study courses (M E 489, M E 491, M E 492, and other engineering independent study courses numbered 399 and higher); Cooperative Education (M E 1); and E P D 690, "Wisconsin Engineer Magazine."

Math/Science Electives

The mechanical engineering curriculum requires 3 credits of math/science electives. CHEM 104 or CHEM 109 and any formal course listed as a biological science and numbered 100 or higher will satisfy this requirement. In addition, any formal course offered by an engineering department, or listed as a physical or natural science, and numbered 200 or higher, will also satisfy this requirement. INTEREGR and E P D courses will not satisfy the math/science elective requirement. 3
Total Credits3

Communication Skills

ENGL 100 Introduction to College Composition3
or LSC 100 Science and Storytelling
or COM ARTS 100 Introduction to Speech Composition
or ESL 118 Academic Writing II
INTEREGR 397 Engineering Communication (was EPD 397 before Fall 2020)3
Total Credits6

Liberal Electives

The Mechanical Engineering curriculum requires 15 credits of liberal elective courses. See College of Engineering Liberal Studies Requirements for details.
Complete Requirements15
Total Credits15

Additional Information

Students fulfilling all course requirements with fewer than 128 credits must comply with the credit minimum by taking additional free elective credits. Students in good academic standing may take free elective courses pass/fail (see the College of Engineering Official Regulations for details). Pass/fail courses do not count toward specific degree requirements.

Independent Studies and projects courses:

M E 291 Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Projects1-3
M E 299 Independent Study1-3
M E 489 Honors in Research1-3
M E 491 Mechanical Engineering Projects I1-3
M E 492 Mechanical Engineering Projects II1-3

Students must have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or a 3.0 GPA for their previous two semesters and have written permission to enroll from their research advisor.

For information on credit loads, 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 Research Program

The ME Department's Undergraduate Honors in Research Program allows students to participate in the creation of new knowledge and experience the excitement of the research process. Students in the program write and submit a senior thesis. Admission requirements include:

  • At least two semesters completed on the Madison campus with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5;
  • Majoring in Mechanical Engineering;
  • Approval of an appropriate professor who will serve as the thesis advisor.

The "Honors in Research" designation will be awarded to graduates who meet the following requirements:

  • Satisfaction of the requirements for an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering;
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.3;
  • Completion of a total of at least 6 credits of M E 489 Honors in Research;
  • Receive a final grade of at least "B" in M E 489;
  • Completion of senior thesis.

Students must certify completion of the program with their M E 489 advisor the term they intend to graduate. To certify program completion students must complete the appropriate form and submit to student services.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.


First Year
MATH 2215MATH 2224
CHEM 109 or 10315E M A 20123
M E 2013M E 2313
or Communication A
Communication A or3
Liberal Studies Elective3
 Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 16
Second Year
MATH 2344MATH 3203
M E 30623M E 24023
M E/​E M A  3071Math/Science Elective3
COMP SCI 2204M S & E 3503
Liberal Studies Elective3STAT 3243
 15 15
Third Year
M E 3313M E 3423
M E 36123M E 3633
M E 3403INTEREGR 397 (was EPD 397)3
PHYSICS 2025E C E 3763
M E 3103M E 3113
 Liberal Studies Elective3
 17 18
Fourth Year
M E 3513M E 3523
M E 3643M E 3703
M E 3684Technical Elective3
M E 346 or E C E 3773Technical Elective3
Technical Elective3Liberal Studies Elective3
 16 15
Total Credits 128

CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry may be taken in place of CHEM 103 General Chemistry I. If CHEM 103 is taken, students may need to take additional free electives to meet the minimum number of credits required for the degree.


E M A 201 Statics, M E 240 Dynamics, M E 306 Mechanics of Materials, and M E 361 Thermodynamics each require a minimum grade of C.


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 (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.


Darryl Thelen (Chair)
Christian Franck
Jaal Ghandhi
Dan Negrut
Gregory F. Nellis
Tim Osswald
Frank Pfefferkorn
John Pfotenhauer
Xiaoping Qian
Douglas Reindl
David Rothamer
Scott T. Sanders
Krishnan Suresh
Lih-sheng Turng

Associate Professors

Peter Adamczyk
Mark Anderson
Melih Eriten
Katherine Fu
Sage Kokjohn
Tom N. Krupenkin
Franklin Miller
Sangkee Min
Mario F. Trujillo
Michael Zinn

Assistant Professors

Joseph Andrews
Lianyi Chen
Corinne Henak
Wenxiao Pan
Pavana Prabhakar
Alejandro Roldan-Alzate
Josh Roth
Shiva Rudraraju
Stephan Rudykh
Dakota Thompson
Mike Wagner
Michael Wehner
Xiangru Xu

Lecturers and Teaching Faculty/Professors

Arganthael Berson
Glenn Bower
Michael Cheadle
Michael De Cicco
Kristofer Dressler
Randy Jackson
Andrew Mikkelson
Jason Oakley
Erick L. Oberstar
Jeffrey Roessler

See also Mechanical Engineering Faculty Directory.


Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Note: Undergraduate Program Educational Objectives and Student Outcomes are made publicly available at the Departmental website. (In this Guide, the program's Student Outcomes are designated by our campus as "Learning Outcomes.")