University of California, Riverside

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Prospective Undergraduate Students

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Undergraduate Advisor - Professor V. Sundararajan


The Vision of the Department is to be nationally recognized as an innovator in both research and education in mechanical engineering. The formulation of the specific objectives of the undergraduate Mechanical Engineering program has been guided by the strong belief that the program should provide an equivalent of a liberal arts education for the 21st century. The Mechanical Engineering program objectives are to produce mechanical engineers who:

  • Have the knowledge and skills to adapt to the changing engineering environment in industry.
  • Are able to pursue and succeed in graduate studies
  • Have the educational breadth and the intellectual discipline required to enter professional careers outside engineering, such as business and law.
  • Have an ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Engage in a lifetime of learning.

These objectives are met through:

  • Strong training in the areas of mathematics, science, and the fundamentals of mechanical engineering that constitute the foundation of the discipline.
  • Extensive laboratory and hands-on experience to strengthen understanding of fundamental principles.
  • Extensive use of computer simulation in the solution of problems and in design.
  • Application of knowledge to design problems common to modern mechanical engineering practice.
  • Introduction of machine shop and fabrication techniques into the curriculum to emphasize the relationship between design and fabrication.
  • Freedom for the student to mold his or her program of professional specialty studies by allowing each student to choose from a number of technical electives and to create her or his own senior year design project under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • Emphasis on both oral and written communication throughout the curriculum.
  • A well-rounded and balanced education achieved through required studies in selected areas of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum is structured so that most of the required courses in mathematics and the basic sciences (physics and chemistry) are taken in the first two years. In addition, three one-unit, Introduction to Mechanical Engineering, courses are offered in the first year. These classes focus on design, solids modeling, and computational engineering tools required for mechanical engineers. Engineering topics are covered primarily in courses offered during the second, third and fourth years. Additional science topics (Biology) are covered in the third year. Students can also take elective courses in specialized topics such as Applied Finite Element Methods, Transport Phenomena in Living Systems, Vibrations, Environmental Impacts of Energy Production, Mechatronics, Combustion and Energy Systems, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, etc., in the senior year.


Most ME courses, including laboratory courses, incorporate design. Design addresses real-world problems whose solution requires creativity and consideration of alternatives to achieve stated objectives. The design component can occupy a significant fraction of course time and is usually conducted in teams. The culmination of the students' design experience is a three-quarter capstone design course, in which students draw upon various aspects of their previous engineering science and design knowledge to address a meaningful design problem. The first quarter focuses on engineering economics, engineering/professional ethics, and review of fundamental design concepts. In the second quarter, project (concept) analysis, preliminary evaluation (economical and technical), data and literature collection, and preliminary process design and evaluation is carried out. The third quarter of the capstone design course focuses on the final detailed technical design of the process (equipment sizing and specification, etc.), followed by prototyping and construction of hardware, and detailed technical analysis of the final design. The course concludes with a formal oral presentation and written technical report.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

College Information

Bourns College of Engineering
446 Winston Chung Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5190
Fax: (951) 827-3188