Feb 25, 2021  
2020-2021 General Catalog 
2020-2021 General Catalog

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Department Head: Zhongquan Charlie Zheng
Location: ENGR 419D
Phone: (435) 797-2878
FAX: (435) 797-2417
E-mail: zzheng@usu.edu
WWW: mae.usu.edu

Undergraduate Program Director: Nick Roberts
Location: ENGR 419N
Phone: (435) 797-9455
FAX: (435) 797-2417
E-mail: nick.roberts@usu.edu

Graduate Program Director: Tadd Truscott
Location: ENGR 419J
Phone: (435)797-8246
FAX: (435) 797-2417
E-mail: tadd.truscott@usu.edu

Undergraduate Advising:
Engineering Advising Center, Engineering 314, (435) 797-2705

Graduate Advising:
Engineering 417, (435) 797-0330, joan.rudd@usu.edu

Degrees offered: Bachelor of Science (BS),  Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Mechanical Engineering; Master of Science (MS) in Aerospace Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Aerospace Engineering

Undergraduate emphasis: Aerospace Engineering

Graduate areas of interest: Solid Mechanics, Dynamics and Controls, Thermo/Fluids, Aerospace

Full details of the learning objectives, assessment plan, student outcomes, and evidence of continuous improvement for these programs of study can be found at engineering.usu.edu/mae/assessment/undergraduate/abet-mechanical for undergraduate programs and mae.usu.edu/assessment/graduate for graduate programs.

Undergraduate Programs


The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering provides graduates with a foundation of knowledge and experience upon which to build successful careers in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, or other fields where a strong engineering background is required or desirable. Undergraduate programs emphasize mechanical engineering fundamentals and computer-based problem solving, while teaching students to learn, synthesize, and communicate engineering information. Graduate programs emphasize fundamental and applied research, providing students with enhanced preparation for engineering practice, research, and education. Students, faculty, and staff are committed to excellence in learning, discovery, and engagement in an environment that fosters diversity and mutual respect.

Undergraduate Program Educational Objectives (Mechanical Engineering)

  • Graduates will succeed in entry-level engineering positions with mechanical or aerospace firms in regional, national, or international industries, as well as with government agencies.
  • Graduates will succeed in the pursuit of advanced degrees in engineering or other fields where a solid foundation in mathematics, science, technology, and engineering fundamentals is required.

Undergraduate Student Outcomes (Mechanical Engineering)

Program outcomes are statements describing the units of knowledge or skill students are expected to acquire from the program to prepare them to achieve the program educational objectives. These are typically demonstrated by the student and measured by the program at the time of graduation. The Mechanical Engineering degree is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.

The Mechanical Engineering Program Outcomes are given as:

  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science and mathematics
  2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental and societal contexts.
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Assessment and Quality Improvement

The MAE faculty and staff are committed to excellence and to continuous quality improvement. A responsive assessment and feedback process involving major constituencies, including faculty, students, alumni, and industrial employers of students and graduates, is in place and ongoing.

The Program

Mechanical Engineering graduates are prepared to pursue careers in such widely diverse industries as aerospace, agricultural equipment, automotive, biotechnical, chemical processing, composite materials, computer equipment, defense, electrical utilities, food processing, industrial equipment, manufacturing, materials processing, nuclear, petroleum, robotics, and solar energy. Most Mechanical Engineering graduates are prepared for graduate studies and enhanced career prospects in engineering or other areas, such as consulting, law, medicine, business management, or teaching. In addition, students who are preparing to apply for admission to medical school will find that Mechanical Engineering provides an excellent foundation for the increasingly technology-oriented field of medicine.

Students may choose to obtain an Aerospace Engineering emphasis within the Mechanical Engineering BS degree. The Aerospace Emphasis focuses on the mechanics and dynamics of both flight within the atmosphere and space flight. Included within its scope are studies in aerodynamics, aircraft flight dynamics and control, aircraft design, spacecraft orbital mechanics, spacecraft attitude motion and control, and space systems design. Graduates who complete the aerospace engineering emphasis are prepared to pursue careers in aircraft design and development, aircraft flight testing, spacecraft and space systems design, and spacecraft trajectory design and analysis. As fully qualified Mechanical Engineers, graduates with the aerospace engineering emphasis are also well-prepared to pursue graduate studies or careers in the industries listed above under Mechanical Engineering.

The first two years of the MAE curriculum are structured to concentrate on the fundamentals of mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science, and basic engineering science. During the second two years, students apply these fundamentals to more concentrated courses in the essentials of mechanical or aerospace engineering. Laboratory activities and computer usage are integrated throughout the curriculum to give students opportunities for hands-on exposure to modern computer hardware and software, as well as other modern hardware and laboratory facilities. Engineering design activities begin during the first two years and progress in depth as the student’s proficiency increases. The engineering design experience culminates in a capstone senior design course, integrating the engineering coursework into a focused, realistic design project.

A passing grade on the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, the first step in becoming a licensed professional engineer, is required for graduation. Past experience has shown that the USU Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students are well-prepared for this locally administered, national exam.

For additional information on academic requirements, see the College of Engineering and the Undergraduate Graduation Requirements sections of this catalog. The four-year plan is suggested for students employed less than 20 hours per week.

Admission and Graduation Requirements

Freshman and transfer students must satisfy the admission policies and entrance requirements of the University (General Education Requirements), the College of Engineering, and the Department. Each new student will be assigned an advisor, who will help plan an educational program fulfilling the student’s professional goals. Placement of incoming students will depend on high school and/or prior college coursework.

New Freshman Admission

New freshman applicants are expected to have 1) graduated from a regionally accredited high school with a minimum 3.5 GPA, 2) a minimum ACT score of 24, or SAT score of at least 1160, 3) a minimum math ACT score of 25, 4) a minimum 113 Admissions Index score, and 5) met the requirements to enroll in calculus. In order to be admitted in good standing, all five requirements must be met.


At the beginning of each school year, each student should obtain a detailed, four-year requirement sheet. This sheet, which lists semester requirements may be obtained from the Engineering Advising Center, ENGR 314. All students in the department follow the pre-professional engineering curriculum for the freshman and sophomore years. Prior to the junior year, the student must apply for admission to the professional program. If a student desires the aerospace emphasis, they must meet with their advisor for correct curriculum. Students who are unable to take courses during the semester indicated on the curriculum requirement sheet may develop alternative schedules, consistent with prerequisites and the timing of course offerings.

GPA Requirement

A 2.8 GPA in all technical courses is the minimum standard which pre-professional students must attain in order to be considered for admission to the MAE professional program.

Financial Support

Scholarships, assistantships, grants-in-aid, and work-study programs are available to undergraduate students through the University. In addition, the MAE department employs undergraduates to assist in engineering research and development. Cooperative education and industrial employment opportunities for students are coordinated by the University Career Services Office.

Concurrent BS/MS Program

The concurrent BS/MS program allows eligible students to begin taking graduate-level classes during their senior year. This permits them to complete requirements for both the BS degree and the master’s degree concurrently. Students in this program have a greater selection of graduate courses since many graduate courses are taught during alternate years. Both the BS and MS degrees can generally be earned with 150 total credits, although students should note that a Plan C MS requires 3 extra credits. To be eligible, students must apply at the end of the junior year (completed 90 credits of Mechanical Engineering BS degree requirements) and have at least a 3.5 overall and admission GPA (calculated using all grades from semesters covering last 60 credits) as of the end of their junior year. (For more information, see College of Engineering .)

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program offers students in all colleges and majors the unique opportunity to deepen their educational experience with hands-on practical applications of their academic knowledge. The Honors Program admits incoming, transfer, and existing USU students based on application. High achieving students with at least one year remaining are encouraged to apply.  See the University Honors Program catalog entry and website (honors.usu.edu) for more information.

Students may also earn an Undergraduate Research Scholar designation on their transcripts. See VP Research undergraduate link: research.usu.edu/undergradresearch/awards/.

Additional Information

For more information about Bachelor of Science requirements and the sequence in which courses should be taken, see major requirement sheet, available from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Graduate Programs

Admission Requirements

All students intending to pursue graduate studies at Utah State University must complete an Application for Admission to the School of Graduate Studies. In addition to the general graduate admission requirements, the MAE department requires all graduate applicants to have: a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or a closely related engineering discipline; a minimum admission GPA of 3.3 (calculated using all grades from last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits earned); and GRE scores at or above the 40th percentile for Verbal Reasoning and 70th percentile for Quantitative Reasoning. All MAE graduate students are expected to be well acquainted with FORTRAN, C, or C++, or MATLAB.

GPA Requirement

All students who complete a graduate degree at USU must maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA. Consult with your department for additional requirements. 


Departmental research projects are funded by both government agencies and private industry. Current research topics include analytical and experimental structural dynamics, computational and experimental fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, plastics and composite materials, numerical modeling and design of composite structures, buried structures, thermodynamics, heat transfer, cryogenics, intelligent control systems, manufacturing automation, spacecraft control, design and analysis of space systems, orbital mechanics, remote sensing, robotics, design theory and methodology, and production modeling and simulation.

Financial Assistance

A number of teaching and research assistantships are available to graduate students through the department and are awarded on a competitive basis each year. For information about tuition awards and waivers see the policy at rgs.usu.edu/graduateschool/finances/tuition.

Acceptance to pursue graduate studies in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering does not imply a commitment to any type of financial aid. All awards for financial aid are made on a competitive basis after applicants are admitted to graduate school.  

EN Faculty 

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