Undergraduate Program

The objectives of the undergraduate program in mechanical engineering are as follows:

The Mechanical Engineering Department at Columbia University is dedicated to graduating mechanical engineers who:

  1. Practice mechanical engineering in a broad range of industries
  1. Pursue advanced education, research and development, and other creative and innovative efforts in science, engineering, and technology, as well as other professional careers
  1. Conduct themselves in a responsible, professional, and ethical manner
  1. Participate as leaders in their fields of expertise and in activities that support service and economic development nationally and throughout the world

Highly qualified students are permitted to pursue an honors course consisting of independent study under the guidance of a member of the faculty.

Upon graduation the student may wish to enter employment in industry or government, or continue with graduate study. Alternatively, training in mechanical engineering may be viewed as a basis for a career in business, patent law, medicine, or management. Thus, the department’s undergraduate program provides a sound foundation for a variety of professional endeavors.

The program in mechanical engineering leading to the B.S. degree is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Undergraduates who wish to declare mechanical engineering as their major should do so prior to the start of their junior year. Students who declare in their second year should follow the Standard Track.Students who wish to declare during or after the fall semester of their junior year must first obtain approval from the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Of the 21 points of elective content in the third and fourth years, at least 12 points of technical courses, including at least 6 points from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, must be taken. A technical elective can be any engineering course offered in the SEAS bulletin that is 3000 level or above.Those prior remaining points of electives are intended primarily as an opportunity to complete the four-year, 27-point nontechnical requirement. Consistent with professional accreditation standards, courses in engineering science and courses in design must have a combined credit of 48 points. Students should see their advisers for details.

Undergraduate students who intend to pursue graduate studies in engineering are strongly encouraged to take the combination of a stand-alone course in linear algebra (either APMA E3101 or MATH UN2010) and a stand-alone course in ordinary differential equations (either MATH UN2030 or UN3027), instead of the combined topics course APMA E2101. In addition, such students are encouraged to take a course in partial differential equations (APMA E3102 or E4200) as well as a course in numerical methods (APAM E3105 or APMA E4300) as technical electives. Ideally, planning for these courses should start at the beginning of the sophomore year.

Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam

The FE exam is a state licensing exam and the first step toward becoming a Professional Engineer (P.E.). P.E. licensure is important for engineers to obtain—it shows a demonstrated commitment to professionalism and an established record of abilities that will help a job candidate stand out in the field. Ideally, the FE exam should be taken in the senior year while the technical material learned while pursuing the undergraduate degree is still fresh in the student’s mind. In addition to the FE exam, achieving P.E. licensure requires some years of experience and a second examination, which tests knowledge gained in engineering practice. For more information, please see http://ncees.org/exams/fe-exam/.

The Mechanical Engineering Department strongly encourages all seniors to take this exam and offers a review course covering material relevant to the exam, including a practice exam to simulate the testing experience. The FE exam is given in the fall and spring of each year. The review course is offered in the spring semester, concluding before the spring exam.

Integrated B.S./M.S. Program

The Integrated B.S./M.S. Program is open to a qualified group of Columbia juniors and makes possible the earning of both a B.S. and an M.S. degree in an integrated fashion. Benefits of this program include optimal matching of graduate courses with corresponding undergraduate prerequisites, greater ability to plan ahead for most advantageous course planning, opportunities to do research for credit during the summer after senior year, and up to 6 points of 4000-level technical electives from the B.S. requirement may count toward the fulfillment of the point requirement of the M.S. degree. Additional benefits include simplified application process, no GRE is required, and no reference letters are required. To qualify for this program, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and strong recommendations from within the Department. Students should apply for the program by
April 30 in their junior year. For more information on requirements and access to an application form, please visitme.columbia.edu/integrated-bsms-program.