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Department of Mechanical Engineering

Research and Independent Projects

Undergraduate research and projects offer unique educational opportunities and all undergraduates are encouraged to participate. All BSME students are required to have at least one full-semester project experience through the ME43 Senior Design Project.

ME 94 - Undergraduate Research

Students who wish to engage in additional undergraduate research or independent projects enroll in ME94: Undergraduate Research (3 credits). With the supervision of a faculty member and often in collaboration with others, students focus on a topic of scientific or practical interest. Undergraduate projects often require students to perform laboratory experimentation and/or numerical simulations, giving them an opportunity to gain practical experience and be exposed to graduate level engineering education. The Department will not grant course credit for ME94 unless the following requirements are fulfilled:

  1. An undergraduate with junior or senior standing can take one semester of Undergraduate Research (ME 94) for credit as an ME Concentration Elective.
  2. All ME 94 research projects must have a ME faculty advisor who is responsible for project assessment and grading. The student and advisor must meet at least every two weeks, but are encouraged to meet weekly.
  3. All students intending to enroll in ME 94 need to submit a one-page proposal (form available here) within two weeks of the start of the semester (same as the Last Day for AS&E students to ADD courses). If the proposal is not submitted by the deadline, the student will not be given permission to enroll in the course. The proposal must be signed by the advisor and Department Chair. A scan of the form will be placed in the student's electronic file.
  4. The ME 94 grading process will include an end-of-term poster presentation that will be evaluated by all faculty who participate. These evaluations should be in the form of a single "presentation" score. It is suggested that presentations account for 20% of the overall grade.

ME 96 - Thesis

Students who want to pursue an independent project for more than a single semester are expected to do so by writing an undergraduate thesis (ME 96, 3 credits) in the second semester of their independent project.

  1. Given the scope of work and time commitment necessary for thesis preparation, a senior may take one semester of ME96-Thesis as a concentration elective after the successful completion of a semester-length research and/or design effort. Prior research/design effort may be: ME94-Undergraduate Research, ME43-Senior Design Project, or concentrated summer research work with a faculty mentor in the ME Department.
  2. A student is required to have a thesis committee as well as a faculty advisor for a Senior Thesis. The student and advisor must meet at least every two weeks, but are encouraged to meet weekly.
  3. All students enrolled in ME96 must submit a one-page proposal within two weeks of the start of the semester (same as the Last Day for AS&E students to ADD courses). If the proposal is not submitted by the deadline, the student will not be given permission to enroll in the course. The proposal form is available here. The proposal must be signed by the advisor and Department Chair. A scan of the form will be saved in the student's file.
  4. Each student registered for ME96 will present his/her thesis during the reading period. The presentation will last 30 minutes (20 minute presentation and 10 minute Q&A).
  5. The grade for the thesis will be awarded by the faculty advisor in consultation with the thesis committee and other faculty members attending the presentation.
  6. The Department may award thesis honors (honors, high honors, highest honors) in which case an Honors Thesis Form must also be completed, signed, and returned to the program administrator in Dowling Hall. A scan of these forms will be placed in the student's electronic file.

The guidelines for awarding of honors are as follows:

  • No Honors - Default
  • Honors - Excellent piece of work as judged by the thesis committee, which consists of the advisor and one additional committee member.
  • High Honors - Based on advisor's input, the work is worthy of publication (e.g. the advisor and student intend to submit the work for publication at a later date).
  • Highest Honors - The work has been accepted or submitted for publication in a refereed conference proceedings or journal.