Design Focus

Design is critical for many aspects of mechanical engineering, and spans a broad spectrum. Design helps give form to a better world and help solve problems we face. Engineers design machine components, mechanical devices, new materials, large systems, and even manufacturing or service processes. Underlying these activities lies a fundamental knowledge of the traditional areas of fluids, thermal, solids, and dynamics, but also a host of cross-cutting skills. As design often refers to the act of creating new things, engineering designers must master ideation, drawing, analysis, concept selection, prototyping, and testing. Today, almost all engineering companies view design as a primary mission focus to ensure innovation and competitiveness.

At Cornell, we offer courses that are aimed at design competencies, with a focus on product design (consumer, medical, and innovative) and the design and improvement of mechanical systems (machines, tools, and vehicles). Students in our product design program take courses in design methods, microcontrollers, 3d printing and prototyping and analysis coupled with other courses in entrepreneurship, management, and programming. These students usually go on to work for design and product firms like Apple, Shark Ninja, and OXO. Many students have also gone to create their own companies (check out Timur Ozekcin at Cylera).

Students who choose a more core-focused mechanical engineering design track take courses in dynamics, materials, analysis, heat transfer, and manufacturing, bolstering these skills with courses in management, risk, and leadership. These students often go on to work in the aerospace, space, manufacturing, and industrial sectors.

Apoorva Kiran with 3D Printer



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A Design Sample Schedule

There is no required program of courses. (The following is a possible model.)


MAE 5340 Innovative Product Design (3 cr)

MAE 5250 Computer Aided Manufacture (1cr)

MAE 5270 Design Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (1 cr)

MAE 5940 Professional Development for MEng in MAE (1 cr)

MAE 5700 Finite Element Analysis (4 cr)

DEA 6510 Human Factors and Inclusive Design (3 cr)

MAE 6900 MEng Project (3 cr)


MAE 5210 3D Printing Parts that Don’t Break: From Processing to Performance (4 cr)

MAE 5260 Design for Manufacture and Assembly (1 cr)

MAE 5210 Dimensional Tolerancing in Mechanical Design (1 cr)

NBA 5070 Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers (3 cr)

ENMGT 5920 Product Management (3 cr)

MAE 6900 MEng Project (3 cr) 

Other Possible Courses

There are hundreds of courses to choose from. Your specific goals will determine the courses you take.

Sample of possible courses

Studies in Design Thinking, Architectural Robotics, Generative Design Studio, Human Factors and Inclusive Design, The Ambient Environment, Applied Ergonomic Methods, Advanced Microcontroller Design, Mechatronics, Integrated Micro Sensors and Actuators, Mechanics of Composite Structures, Design for Manufacture and Assembly, Advanced Product Design, Advanced Product Design, Applied Dynamics: Robotics, Vehicles, Machines and Biomechanics, Engineering Vibrations, Enterprise Engineering Colloquium, Additive Manufacturing Fundamentals & Processes, Intro to Design and Innovation, The Business Idea Factory


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Faculty teaching in the design area include:

 Keith Evan GreenKeith Evan Green


Architectural Robotics Lab



Guy HoffmanGuy Hoffman

Associate Professor

Human-robot Collaboration & Companionship Lab



Rob ShepherdRobert F. Shepherd

Associate Professor 

Organic Robotics Lab



Matt UlinskiMatt Ulinski

Senior Lecturer




Maha HajiMaha Haji

Visiting Assistant Professor

Symbiotic Engineering and Analysis Laboratory



Mostafa HassaniMostafa Hassani

Senior Research Associate

Hassani Group



Atieh MoridiAtieh Moridi

Assistant Professor

Moridi Research Group

Past Projects

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  • Design of a Novel Pedicle Screw
  • Design and development of a modular, autonomy-assisted helium
  • Mechanical Design for CCAT-p Wall Climbing Robot
  • Consumer Product Design
  • Designing Smart Garment for accurate VR body reconstruction
  • Vectorized Thrust Modules for Underwater Robotics
  • Leaf-inspired Rain-energy harvesting device
  • Human-Robot Collaborative Design Tangible User Interface
  • 0th Response: Saving Lives via Drones


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Graduates from the Master of Engineering in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering with a Design Focus go on to work in the following companies:

  • Bumblebee Spaces
  • Sportsfield Specialties
  • SharkNinja
  • Watson Furniture
  • Zoox
  • FormFactor
  • Apple
  • Zebra Technologies
  • littleBits
  • Huawei
  • ASML
  • MIDI Product Development
  • Google
  • Carbon3D
  • Moog
  • Sensata
  • OXO