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School of Engineering

Course II -- Mechanical Engineering

The Mechanical Engineering department, famous for its televised 2.70 competition, is the second largest major, with 391 undergraduate students and about 350 graduate students.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ernest G. Cravalho said Course II has the “broadest and most general programs of engineering.” As a result, the department has some additional requirements over other engineering majors.

Course II is a “hands-on department” where the 58 faculty work to make the courses fun, Cravalho said. Some lecturers are also hired directly from industry. The department emphasizes an undergraduate education and recently overhauled its curriculum.

About 40 percent of Course II students are female, the remaining 60 percent are male.

Students learn about manufacturing and design controls, mechanics and materials, and thermodynamics, fluids, and heat transfer. Differential Equations (18.03), Mechanical Engineering Tools (2.670), and Measurement and Instrumentation (2.671) are a few of the core classes. In 2.670, a required IAP class, students learn about using programs like Matlab and Pro/Engineer and build a stirling engine.

Overall, the core curriculum consists of three two-course sequences: statics and dynamics, systems and controls, and thermal fluids. Students then take design and manufacturing classes. In 2.009, for example, students take a project from concept to a working prototype and then present the product to an audience. Students in that class are graded based upon students, faculty, and guest evaluations. Students also take two elective classes from an extensive list, including graduate-level classes.

While some core classes are large, the department attempts to keep recitation sizes under 20 students, Cravalho said.

After graduation, about two-thirds of Course II majors will eventually earn a higher degree, with one-third entering graduate school immediately and the other third entering within five years. Of those returning to school, about half end up earning an MEng or PhD degree from the Institute.

The Career Services office reports that salaries for those with SB degrees in Mechanical Engineering range from $41,400 to $54,000, with an average of $48,000.

Students in Course II are assigned to a faculty adviser; the department also reviews academic performance of all undergraduates every term.

Almost all Course II professors offer UROP positions. About 15 percent of Course II students participate in UROP within the department.

The Pi Tau Sigma honor society administers course evaluations within the department, which are used in determining faculty promotion.--Anna K. Benefiel