MAE Undergraduate Programs
Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees are offered in both Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Aerospace Engineering (AE). The newly revised engineering curricula in the degree programs of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering provide a strong foundation in mathematics, science and also provide excellent exposure to engineering applications. In addition, these programs offer great flexibility for students who want to tailor a program to their specific interests.The undergraduate programs are designed to provide the professional development required for students to gain and achieve significant levels of engineering responsibility.
Appropriately, the curricula focus on developing the student’s technological capabilities as well as giving the students the flexibility to achieve their personal goals. For example, the programs allow the students to minor in business, other engineering disciplines or areas of arts and science.The academic programs begin with an emphasis on the knowledge of the basic subjects: mathematics, chemistry and physics. A sequence of science and mathematics courses prepares the students for advanced engineering analysis.
Early in their program, students also take courses which introduce engineering concepts, computer-graphics, computational software, and engineering design methodologies.As the basic science courses are being mastered, a sequence of engineering courses develops problem solving abilities in contemporary problem areas.The knowledge and abilities gained in the foundation courses are applied in advanced courses, which require increased maturity in applying analytical skills, problem solving techniques and the use of computer-based computational “tools,"
Advanced courses differ depending on the particular curriculum. Required departmental courses assure the development of a sound foundation upon which to build a career. Furthermore, students choose technical electives from departmental courses or from other engineering or science disciplines.
Required laboratory courses provide experience in the use of basic and advanced experimental methods. Applications cover the full range of mechanical and aerospace engineering areas. To ensure that each student has ”hands-on” experience with the latest in test equipment and modern experimental methods, a two-semester lab sequence in the third year builds on basic skills and science background to develop an appreciation for modern measurement techniques in addition to the core requirements of a chemistry lab and two physics labs.In all labs, student groups are small so that all students participate. Go to our undergraduate labs and facilities page for more information.
The structure of the third-year labs is at the forefront of engineering education. Student teams develop hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, and analyze the data to test the hypotheses. This structure is informed by our mission statement where we remain committed to not merely transmitting a set of facts to our students, but to enabling them to “teach themselves new knowledge and ideas to solve problems far beyond the factual boundaries of their education.”
Professional development also requires an appreciation of complex social, legal, ethical, economic, political and international factors which have important impact on the engineering profession. Consideration of professional ethics, product liability, and engineering economic aspects of design are included in the curriculum. Elective courses are selected from offerings in the areas of technology, culture, communications, economics and the humanities. Fourth-year students are required to write a senior thesis to demonstrate their ability to address a specific technical problem of significant scope and sophistication and to communicate the results of this research to an audience of peers.
Leadership and teamwork are also expected of engineers. Both are gained through experiences of working in student groups which conduct laboratory experiments, develop designs for large projects, prepare reports and make oral presentations.
Students are strongly encouraged to participate in student professional societies and student projects. Student sections of ASME, SAE, ASHRAE, AIAA and the Space Advancement Society are nationally active and have won several awards and competitions.
Upon completion of the mechanical or aerospace engineering curriculum, students will have:
- An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
- 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
- An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
- An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgements, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and social contexts
- 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
- An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgement to draw conclusions
- An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies
The Program Educational Objectives for both Undergraduate Programs in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering reflect not only the breadth and technical skills expected of each discipline, but the Jeffersonian principles of free inquiry, ethical conduct, creativity, and continuous personal growth that form the backbone of the University of Virginia.
- Graduates of the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Virginia have the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will allow them to make tangible contributions, meet new technical challenges, contribute effectively as team members, and be innovators in the analysis, design and implementation of solutions to problems with mechanical devices and systems. They communicate effectively and interact responsibly with colleagues, clients, employers and society.
- Graduates of the Aerospace Engineering program at the University of Virginia have the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will allow them to make tangible contributions, meet new technical challenges, contribute effectively as team members, and be innovators in the analysis, design, and implementation of solutions to problems with aerospace vehicle systems. They communicate effectively and interact responsibly with colleagues, clients, employers and society.
Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Bachelor’s of Science degrees are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.