Undergraduate FAQs

Will my B.S. degree be awarded in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering?

The Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering awards B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Graduate degrees are awarded in Mechanical Engineering or Aerospace Engineering. Eligible engineering students, including B.S., M.E. candidates may earn a Minor in Aerospace Engineering.

How should I design my academic plan?

Affiliated students in M.E. should follow the B.S., M.E. flowchart (accessible version of B.S. M.E. flowchart) as a guide (Pre-Med students: Pre-med Flowchart). Prerequisites are strictly enforced. You are encouraged to seek technical advice from your MAE Faculty Advisor.  For administrative and graduation requirement-related advice go to 125 Upson Hall.

What are Major Approved Electives 1, 2, and 3?

Major Approved Electives 1, 2, and 3 consist of three upper-level courses (minimum 9 credits) which must be chosen from the approved list of Major Approved Electives.  Students have the choice of selecting three courses, focusing on one topic, or three courses chosen from three areas. MAE 4900 (research - not required) and/or MAE 4291 (required - senior design) will not fulfill this requirement.  Students may not use a Major Approved Elective to also fulfill the Senior Design requirement.

What are Advisor Approved Electives?

The Advisor Approved Electives requirement consists of two courses (minimum 6 credits) that must be pre-approved by your MAE Faculty Advisor. It is strongly recommended that you discuss this requirement with your advisor before you take courses toward this requirement. The Advisor Approved Electives form or advisor approval by e-mail must be completed and submitted to 125 Upson Hall prior to graduation. Deadline for submission of the form is April 15 (if you anticipate May or August graduation), or November 15 (if you intend to graduate after completing the Fall term).

How many credits are required to be in Good Standing?  

Students are required to take a minimum of 12 credits each semester to be considered full-time and in Good Standing. Students are prohibited from taking fewer than 12 credits during any semester if they are an international student, or for those who are a recipient of a particular financial aid or scholarship package.  Student athletes who are under NCAA jurisdiction may not take fewer than 12 credits each semester.  According to the College of Engineering policy, students need 12 credits each semester to be eligible for the Dean's List citations.

What is a 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; BIO EE 1610, and BIOSM 1610.  In addition, credit for advanced placement biology, and technical courses at the 2000+ level in biological sciences are accepted. Please contact the M.E.  undergraduate program office in to verify eligibility of specific courses. 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, however, these will not fulfill the Technical Elective requirement. No form is required for the technical elective.

If I am taking courses towards certification of a Minor outside of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, can I use any of those Minor courses to also satisfy M.E. degree requirements?

Consult the Engineering Handbook for eligibility and guidelines concerning Minors.  For Mechanical Engineering degree candidates, Minors can typically fulfill three M.E. degree requirements--one technical elective and two advisor approved electives.  In some cases, major approved electives may also count toward a minor. Minors will be posted on official transcripts after an application has been submitted and completion has been certified by the offering Major.  Students pursuing a Minor in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Robotics or Applied Math are required to submit an application for pre-approval of the selection of courses. 

What is MAE 1900/4900?

Students have the opportunity to work on independent research projects and team projects under MAE Faculty guidance. MAE 1900, Freshman and Non-Technical Projects in M.E., is an elective, intended for freshmen enrolling in independent research and for other students in non-technical roles on project teams (e.g. business team). MAE 4900, Individual and Group Projects in Mechanical Engineering, is an elective, intended for sophomores, juniors and seniors doing research or working in technical roles on project teams. There are no mandatory requirements to take an MAE 4900 independent research project with a Faculty member or to be enrolled in an MAE 4900 project or team project to graduate. MAE 4900 may not satisfy any Major Approved Electives.

If a report is required by your research/project advisor, your MAE 4900 report should be submitted to your faculty project advisor at least 2 weeks before the end of the semester to allow time for grading and consideration for awards.

MAE 4900 electives may fulfill a technical elective or, with advisor's consent, an advisor approved elective(s).

Project approval forms are required for enrollment in MAE 1900, 4250, 4291, and 4900. This form is an agreement between you and your project faculty advisor and is required for enrollment in these courses, each semester.

Project approval forms, with instructions may be found on the MAE Forms page.

How do I fulfill the M.E. Senior Design Requirement?

MAE 4291, Supervised Senior Design Experience, satisfies the senior design requirement, as do several 4-credit approved senior design courses. All of the MAE courses that will satisfy senior design, end in 1 (4XX1). The senior design requirement can be fulfilled in 3 ways:

  • By working on a design focused independent research project with a faculty member (3 credits minimum),
  • Working on a design focused project as part of a project team (3 credits minimum), or
  • By enrolling in a 4-credit senior design version of an MAE course, such as MAE 4341, 4131, etc.

More information and a list of senior design courses can be found on the undergraduate program page.

MAE 4291 may not satisfy any Major Approved Electives.

What are the procedural details for submitting my senior design report?

Your senior design report, along with the Content Summary Form and your responses to the Design Requirement questions, should be submitted to your design instructor at least 2 weeks before the end of the semester to allow time for grading and consideration for awards. Consult the undergraduate program page for details about requirements and submission.

When I attempt to enroll electronically independent research or senior design under MAE 1900, 4900, or 4291, I am unable to register.  Does this mean those sections are full?

The courses are not full. Enrollment approval is required for MAE 1900, 4291, and 4900 (forms can be found on the MAE forms page or in 125 Upson Hall). These forms require the approval/signature of your research faculty advisor. Submit completed and signed forms to 125 Upson Hall to receive a permission code for online enrollment.

How do I find out what research projects are available?

Many undergraduate independent research opportunities are listed on our website. Students may contact faculty directly about posted or possible new research opportunities. Enroll in MAE 1900, 4291, or 4900 to receive credit (1-3) for independent research (a project approval form will be required for enrollment-see previous questions regarding instructions for enrollment in independent research).

What is the process for certification for the B.S. M.E. degree?

Second-semester juniors and first-semester seniors are required to participate in a degree audit. Each student will meet with the M.E. Undergraduate Advisor & Coordinator to review current progress toward degree requirements and review plans for completing remaining requirements. Students will receive an invitation at the beginning of those two semesters to set up a meeting for their audit. These degree audits are very important for confirmation that you're progressing toward degree completion and that all important requirements have been met. 

What is A.S.M.E.?

The American Society for Mechanical Engineers (A.S.M.E.) is an active student-run Cornell Chapter of the organization, comprised of an executive board of M.E. students. M.E. students are encouraged to participate. Visit http://orgsync.rso.cornell.edu/org/cornellasme/home for more details.

Is Cornell's Study Abroad Program available to M.E.'s ?

Yes, students can take advantage of a range of opportunities through Cornell Abroad and you can study abroad for either one semester of for a full academic year. For additional information, visit Engineering Advising in 180 Rhodes Hall. 

What about Co-op?

Engineering students typically go to their Co-op assignment in their first semester of their junior year. M.E. students have the opportunity to take MAE 3230, 3240, 3250, and 3260 during the Summer prior to their assignment. Visit the Engineering Career Center's website for more information about the Engineering Cooperative experience.

Can I take Co-op courses during the summer if I am not participating in the Cooperative program?

Yes, any student may take any course offered in the Summer, providing the prerequisites have been met.

How can I get information about early admission into M.Eng. while still an undergraduate or admission into other graduate degree programs in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering?

Please visit the Graduate Programs section of the Mechanical Engineering website for more information. Click here for requirements and instructions.

Who do we go to for letters of recommendation?

See your advisor and/or a professor from one of your courses or research projects who knows you.

How do I determine my Major grade point average?

You calculate your Major grade point average (gpa) by calculating all the courses taken at Cornell in the M.E. Field Program: Engrd 2020, Engrd 2210, TAM 2030, Mechatronics/Electrical Circuits (MAE 3780 or Engrd 2100 or Phys 3360), MAE 2120, MAE 2250, MAE 3230, MAE 3240, MAE 3250, MAE 3260, MAE 3272, MAE 4272, MAE 4300, Senior Design Elective, Math Elective (TAM 3100 or Engrd 2700 or CEE 3040, or Engrd 3200) - Technical Elective, and Major Approved Elective I and II. These courses reflect the B.S., M.E. Major Program Required and Major Approved Electives requirements. 
For students participating in the Early M.Eng. Program:  Grades for students who are concurrently completing their final semester of the B.S., M.E. degree and completing their first semester of M.Eng. courses, will be included in their undergraduate degree gpa.   

What are recent curriculum revisions for M.E. students?

Students matriculating Fall 2012 and beyond will be required to complete an Intro to Computing course (using Matlab is recommended for students who plan to join Mechanical Engineering). For Mechanical Engineering students who matriculated prior to to Fall 2012, a 1-credit CS transition course is required in addition to fulfilling the Intro to Computing requirement.  

For additional information:

Consult the MAE website for MAE-Major requirements information.

Consult the College of Engineering Handbook for College administrative/policy information.

Questions or concerns? 

Contact the M.E. Program Advisor, in 125 Upson Hall.