Mechanical Engineering Major

Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering Degree Requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Science degree at Cornell University in the Major of Mechanical Engineering, a student must complete the Common Curriculum of the College of Engineering together with the Mechanical Engineering Major Program. The requirements for under- and upper class years are given below. More information on electives, major approved electives, and courses can be found in alternate formats in the Engineering Handbook, and in the Course Catalogue.

First Three Semesters (Typical) Common Curriculum
CreditsSubjectNumber of Courses
4Computing: CS1112 or 1110 MATLAB is recommended(1)1
3Introduction to Engineering (ENGRI 1xxx)1
7Engineering distribution (ENGRD 2020(2)); ENGRD 2210(3)2
6First-Year Writing Seminars2
3Liberal Studies(4)1

Total: 55 Credits, 15 courses 

Upper-class Five Semesters (Typical) Common Curriculum
CreditsSubjectNumber of Courses
15Liberal Studies(4)5
6Advisor Approved Electives(5)2

Total: 21 Credits, 2 courses

Mechanical Engineering Major Program
 CreditsSubjectNumber of Courses
31Required Mechanical Engineering Courses(3): MAE 2030, MAE 2250, Electrical Circuits(6): MAE 3780 (recommended)/ ENGRD 2100/ Physics 3360, MAE 3230, 3240, 3260, 3270, 4272(7), 43009
Mechanical Engineering Major Program Electives(8):
9Major Approved Electives(13)3
3/4Senior Design Elective(12)1
3/4Math Elective(9)1
Probability and Statistics Requirement(10)
3Technical Elective(11)1

Total: 49-51;Credits, 15;courses

Four Years Total: 125-127 Credits, 32 Classes


(1) Computing:

A CS programming course is required. Students may take either CS 1112 or CS 1110; CS 1112 is recommended.

(2,3) Satisfactory completion (C- or better)

of ENGRD 2020-Statics and Mechanics of Solids,and ENGRD 2210-Thermodynamics, fulfills the distribution and Major Program requirements. Students who earned below a C- in ENGRD 2020 will be unable to progress to MAE 3270 - Mechanical Properties and Selection of Engineering Materials unless a C-or better is earned.

(4) Liberal Studies Distribution:

Students should use the current Courses of Study as the master list of approved liberal studies courses. Lists of additional approved courses and unacceptable courses are also available in Engineering Advising, 180 Rhodes Hall. College of Engineering Liberal Studies Policy.

(5) Advisor Approved Electives:

These courses must be an appropriate part of an overall educational plan or objective and approved by the student's faculty advisor. To maximize flexibility (i.e. the option for study abroad, COOP, Internships, pre-med, and flexibility during the upper class years), the Sibley School Faculty recommends that students delay completion of Advisor Approved Electives until after Term 5. Students should seek the consent of their advisor prior to taking a course for an Advisor Approved Elective. (Please note: research, project teams, liberal studies curses 2000+, or courses used toward a minor are automatically approved for this requirement.) Students should consult with the Engineering Advising Office, 180 Rhodes Hall, if approved electives are approved before M.E. affiliation. Up to six credits of Advisor Approved Electives are allowed for ROTC courses at the level of 3000 or above, or if they are co-listed in an academic department.

Advisors are likely to approve courses in business, economics, and language that serve the student's educational and academic objectives. In other cases, a student's interests might be better served by approved electives that expand the Major or other parts of the curriculum, including the liberal studies requirement. Students may concurrently fulfill their advisor approved electives with courses they are using to satisfy a Minor, with their advisor's approval.

Advisors may approve non-technical Engineering elective-eligible courses as Advisor Approved Electives, e.g., CEE 3230, various ORIE courses, and other Engineering management courses. MAE 4980, Teaching Experience in Mechanical Engineering, and BSOC courses may satisfy Advisor Approved Electives.

(6) Electrical Circuits:

This program requirement may be satisfied by MAE 3780/3783 -Mechatronics(recommended), ENGRD 2100 - Introduction to Circuits for Electrical and Computer Engineers, or PHYS 3360 -Electronic Circuits.

(7) Engineering Communications Requirement (formerly Technical Writing requirement): 

MAE 4272 satisfies this Common Curriculum requirement.

(8) Major Program Electives: 

The Major Program Electives requirement consists of the following:

  • one designated 4000+ MAE senior design elective (12) (minimum of three credits)
  • one designated math elective (9) (minimum of three credits)
  • three MAE 3000+ courses (13) (minimum of six credits as Major Approved Elective l,ll, and III)
  • one appropriate technical elective (11)
  • one course containing significant probability and statistics coursework (10)

The total number of credits in the Major Program electives must be at least 18. The total number of credits of 3000+ level MAE classes must be at least 9; Major Approved Electives may offer a senior design version. Students may not use one course to fulfill both the Major Approved Elective and Senior Design requirement.

(9) Math Elective:

One major course must be an approved, engineering-relevant mathematics course that is taken after Math 2940.
Note that the starred (*) courses also satisfy the probability and statistics requirement (see #10 below, for more information about the probability and statistics requirement).

Courses currently approved to satisfy the math elective requirement:

  • *ENGRD 2700 -Basic Engineering Probability and Statistics,
  • *CEE 3040 -Uncertainty Analysis in Engineering,
  • ENGRD/CEE 3200 -Engineering Computation,
  • *ECE 3100 -Introduction to Probability and Inference for Random Signals and Systems, or
  • *BTRY 3010 Biological Statistics I,
  • *ECON 3110 -Probability Models and Inferences for the Social Sciences
  • *ENGRD/ECE 2720 -Data Science for Engineers, or
  • *CS 2800 -Mathematical Foundations of Computing.

(10) Probability and Statistics Requirement (effective for May 2019 graduates and beyond)

The probability and statistics requirement can be satisfied either through a satisfactory score (4 or 5) on the CEEB Advanced Placement Exam in Statistics1, or by taking an approved course. A course satisfying the probability and statistics requirement can also be used as a math elective (MathE), OR a technical elective (TechE), OR an advisor approved elective (AAE), as indicated below. A satisfactory score on the Advanced Placement Exam cannot be used to satisfy additional requirements.

If you are planning to use your AP Statistics score, please email the undergraduate office at least a month before the start of your final semester. This will allow time for use to verify your score while you still have a chance to take a different course if needed.

Courses currently approved to satisfy the probability and statistics requirement:

  • ENGRD/ORIE 2700 - Basic Engineering Probability and Statistics (MathE OR TechE OR AAE)
  • CEE 3040 - Uncertainty Analysis in Engineering (MathE OR TechE OR AAE)
  • CS 4750 – Foundations of Robotics (TechE OR AAE)
  • ECE 3100 – Introduction to Probability and Inference for Random Signals (MathE OR TechE OR AAE)
  • BTRY 3010 - Biological Statistics I (MathE OR TechE OR AAE)
  • ENGRD/ECE 2720 - Data Science for Engineers (MathE OR TechE OR AAE)
  • ECON 3110 - Probability Models and Inferences for the Social Sciences (MathE OR TechE OR AAE)
  • CS 2800” Mathematical Foundations of Computing (MathE OR TechE OR AAE)
Probability and Stats Requirement
Probability & Stats RequirementClassTitleMath  Elec.Tech  Elec.Adv. Appr. Elec.
YesENGRD/ORIE 2700Basic Engrg. Prob. & Stats*OR*OR*
YesCEE 3040Uncertainty Analysis in Engrg.*OR*OR*
YesCS 4750Foundations of RoboticsNO*OR*
YesECE 3100Intro. to Prob. & Inference for Random Signals*OR*OR*


BTRY 3010Biological Statistics I*OR*OR*
YesENGRD/ECE 2720Data Science for Engineers*OR*OR*
YesECON 3110Probability Models and Inferences for the Social Sciences*OR*OR*
If taken with CS 4850CS 2800Mathematical Foundations of Computing**OR*
If taken with CS 2800CS 4850Math. Foundations for the Info. Age*OR*OR*

(11) Technical Elective: 

A Technical Elective may include many courses at an appropriate level, chosen from Engineering (2000+), Mathematics (2940+), or Science [Physics (2214+), Chemistry (2090+), or Biological Sciences. Most 2000+ technical-level courses in Engineering will be accepted (note: Engineering economic, business, management, financial or organization courses, e.g., CEE 3230, will NOT be accepted, with the exception of MAE 4610). The following 1000-level courses in biology are accepted: BIOG 1440; BIOG 1445; BIOMG 1350; BIOEE 1610, and BIOSM 1610. Technical courses at the 2000+ level in biological sciences are accepted. No AP Biology credit can be used to fulfill the technical elective. Please contact the M.E. undergraduate program office to verify eligibility of specific courses. No form is required for the technical elective.

(12) Senior Design Elective: 

All "Design Courses", including independent research and project teams, are designated as courses ending in the number 1 (MAE 4XX1). You must choose a design course/research/team project that is indicated in this way and your Senior Design project MUST be advised by a Mechanical Engineering faculty member. The senior design requirement must be taken during your senior year in M.E., concurrently with or after taking MAE 4300. The courses in the designated group of design courses each requires a design-oriented final project.

Approved Senior Design Electives:

Senior Design credit for project teams or projects with individual faculty members requires registration for a minimum of 3 credits in MAE 4291. Students may also opt to take the 4-credit Senior Design version of a course (listed below) to fulfill the Senior Design requirement. Students should consult the Courses of Study to determine when these courses will next be offered.

  • MAE 4021: Wind Power
  • MAE 4121: Community Wind Energy Research
  • MAE 4131: Mechanics of Composite Structures
  • MAE 4161: Spacecraft Technology and Systems Architecture
  • MAE 4221: Introduction to Internet of Things--Technology and Engagement
  • MAE 4231: Intermediate Fluid Dynamics
  • MAE 4291: Supervised Senior Design Experience (for at least 3 credits)
  • MAE 4341 Innovative Product Design via Digital Manufacturing
  • MAE 4351 Interdisciplinary Design Concepts (if MAE 4351 is taken, you may not use MAE 4341 to fulfill other B.S. M.E. requirements)
  • MAE 4441: Spacecraft Thermal Management
  • MAE 4631: Advanced Product Design
  • MAE 4641: Orthopaedic Tissue Mechanics
  • MAE 4671: Polymer Mechanics
  • MAE 4721: Advanced Applications of Finite-Element Analysis Using ANSYS
  • MAE 4861: Automotive Engineering Design

When fulfilling the senior design requirement with an independent research project or project team endeavor, students must enroll in MAE 4291 for a minimum of 3 credits. All senior design courses require the completion of a culminating design report and summary. The signed Senior Design Report and Executive Summary will automatically be submitted to the M.E. undergraduate office upon completion of the report via the online form.

(13) Major-Approved Electives I, II, and III: 

Students must complete any three upper-level Mechanical Engineering electives from the major-approved electives list. Typically, these courses will require one or more of the junior courses as pre-requisites.

Other Requirements:

A grade of C- or better is required for all Math, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, and Engineering courses used to satisfy the B.S. M.E. requirements except, MAE 3780 (or ENGRD 2100 or PHYS 3360, if taken), PHYS 2214, MAE 4272, MAE 4291, and MAE 4300; those courses require a passing grade of D- or better. Courses in which students fail to earn a required minimum passing grade must be re-taken.
A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 is required to remain in good academic standing and to graduate from the B.S. M.E. program.
Each student must also satisfactorily complete two terms of physical education and pass the University swim test. If this requirement is not satisfied previously, it must be taken during the first term of registration in the Sibley School. External transfer students are typically exempt from the physical education and swim test requirements.

Transfer Credit from Other Colleges:

If a student seeks credit for courses taken at another institution, prior approval must be obtained from the Sibley School and the College of Engineering. The College of Engineering does not recognize all higher-education institutions, therefore, pre-approval of courses to be transferred is recommended. A grade of C or better is required for transferring of credit. Only courses taken at Cornell are included in Cornell's term or or cumulative grade point averages.