Undergraduate Program

The Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Program at Columbia University has the following Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) for its graduates:

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

As stated on the Mechanical Engineering department website, graduates of the Mechanical Engineering program at Columbia University will attain:

    1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
    2. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
    3. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health, and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
    4. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
    5. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
    6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
    7. An ability to communicate effectively
    8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
    9. A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning
    10. A knowledge of contemporary issues
    11. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
    12. Additionally, graduates of the Mechanical Engineering program at Columbia University will also attain:

    13. An ability to apply principles of basic science and mathematics (including multivariate calculus and differential equations)
    14. An ability to model, analyze, design, and realize physical systems, components or processes
    15. An ability to work professionally in both thermal and mechanical systems areas

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, http://www.abet.org

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 18 points of elective content in the third and fourth years, at least 9 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 45 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 this website.

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 visit this website.

Express M.S. Application

The Express M.S. Application is offered to current seniors, including 3-2 students, who are enrolled in the BS program. In the Express M.S. Application, a master’s degree can be earned seamlessly. Graduate classes are available for seniors to apply toward their M.S. degree and the advanced courses that will be taken have been designed to have the exact prerequisites completed as an undergraduate. Other advantages include the opportunity for better course planning and creating a streamlined set of courses more possible. Additional benefits include simplified application process, no GRE is required and no reference letters are required.To qualify for this program, your cumulative GPA should be at least 3.5. For more information on requirements and access to an application, please visit this website.