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Program: B.S., Mechanical Engineering

Program Description

Mechanical Engineering majors at CSUN receive a solid education in the fundamentals of the discipline augmented by hands-on experience that employers have found to be invaluable. Design concepts and projects are integrated throughout the curriculum.

The freshmen and sophomore years provide the student with a breadth of knowledge that is required in specialized courses and in the career work of the mechanical engineer. During these years, students take courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer programming, engineering materials, engineering mechanics, electrical systems and mechanical design. The junior year courses include engineering economics, engineering dynamics, strength of materials, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mechanical design, the numerical analysis of engineering systems, and computer-aided analysis and design.

The senior year is composed of a group of required and elective courses that are related to the student’s area of specialization within Mechanical Engineering. The required courses include system dynamics, mechatronics and two semesters of senior design. Students can take their electives to obtain more in-depth knowledge in the following areas: aerospace engineering, automotive engineering, controls engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical design and thermal-fluid systems.

The Mechanical Engineering department takes a practical approach to engineering, offering hands-on design experience as well as theoretical knowledge. That’s an advantage on the job because our graduates have had experience constructing projects, not just analyzing and designing them. A key to this practical training is the department’s Senior Design Program, which is modeled on the industry work groups that students will encounter on the job. Like professional engineers, students design and develop a project, from conception through manufacture. In the process, they gain valuable experience in working as a team, overcoming technical and management challenges, and developing communication skills. Past senior design projects have included an autonomous intelligent ground vehicle, battle-bots, a Formula SAE race car, a human-powered vehicle, unmanned aerial systems, and systems for petroleum polluted soil and water cleanup.

Program Requirements

The CSUN Mechanical Engineering program assumes that students have a strong high school preparation in science, mathematics and English. High school courses should include four years of mathematics, four years of English and at least one year of Chemistry and Physics with labs. The mathematics courses should include geometry, trigonometry and algebra. Calculus is desirable.

CSUN provides the opportunity for students who have not had a complete background of pre-engineering work in high school to take courses to prepare for the major. These additional courses will not count toward the major and may increase the time to graduate. CSUN provides testing as outlined below to ensure that students start their engineering coursework at an appropriate level.

Exam Requirements

The University requires all beginning students to take the Entry Level Mathematics Exam (ELM)* and the English Placement Test (EPT)* or to obtain an exemption to these requirements by their score on an equivalent test prior to enrolling in their courses. Refer to the section of this Catalog titled Policies-Admission for further details on these exams and alternative tests.

*Effective Fall 2018, the ELM and EPT Exams have been replaced with Multiple Measures Assessment.

In addition to these general University requirements, students entering the Mechanical Engineering program need to take the following exams:

  1. Mathematics Placement Test (MPT) is required prior to enrollment in MATH 150A. Students who have passed or are exempt from the ELM should take this exam prior to enrolling in their classes so they may be placed in the appropriate mathematics course. Students with scores of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB or BC exams are exempt from the MPT.
  2. Chemistry Placement Test (CPT) is required with a minimum score of 40 prior to enrolling in CHEM 101. Students who do not achieve this score must complete CHEM 100 with a grade of “C” or better before taking CHEM 101. An advisor will review the details of these examinations with each student before they enroll in their courses.

Special Grade Requirements

  1. All students must pass the English Placement Test with a score of 151 or higher to enroll in any engineering courses at the 200-level.
  2. All students must complete the lower division writing requirement before enrolling in any 300-level engineering courses.
  3. Students who have completed 56 units and have met the lower division writing requirement are required to take the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Examination (UDWPE) as early as possible and no later than the semester in which 75 units are completed. Students who have not attempted the exam by the completion of 75 units will have a hold placed on their subsequent class registration and may delay their graduation.
  4. Senior year courses cannot be taken unless the student has previously completed, or is concurrently completing, all freshman-, sophomore- and junior-year requirements. A grade of “C-” or better is required in all courses in the major. The Mathematics department requires a grade of “C” in prerequisite courses.

Course Requirements

1. Lower Division Required Courses (47 units)

a. Freshman Year

CHEM 101/L General Chemistry and Lab (4/1)
MATH 150A Calculus I (5)
MATH 150B Calculus II (5)
ME 101/L Introduction to Mechanical Engineering and Lab (1/1)
ME 186/L Computer-Aided Design and Lab (1/1)
PHYS 220A/L Mechanics and Lab (3/1)

b. Sophomore Year

2. Upper Division Required Courses (52 units)

a. Junior Year

AM 316 Engineering Dynamics (3)
AM 317 Mechanics Lab (1)
CE 340 Strength of Materials (3)
ME 309 Numerical Analysis of Engineering Systems (2)
ME 330 Machine Design (3)
ME 335/L Mechanical Measurements and Lab (1/1)
ME 370 Thermodynamics (3)
ME 375 Heat Transfer I (3)
ME 386/L Computer-Aided Analysis and Design and Lab (2/1)
ME 390 Fluid Mechanics (3)
MSE 304 Engineering Economic Analysis (3)

b. Senior Year

ME 384 System Dynamics: Modeling, Analysis and Simulation (3)
ME 435/L Mechatronics and Lab (2/1)
ME 486A Senior Design in Mechanical Engineering I (2)
ME 486B Senior Design in Mechanical Engineering II (2)
ME 491 Experimental Methods in Thermal-Fluids Systems (1)

c. Upper Division Senior Electives (12 units)

Students must select 12 units of electives from 400- and/or 500-level engineering courses. These electives, together with the required senior year courses listed above, constitute the student’s Mechanical Engineering senior year. The elective program must be approved by the Mechanical Engineering department before the student files a graduation check. Up to 6 units from the following list of non-ME courses may be taken as senior electives.

AM 410 Vibration Analysis (3)
CE 460/L Engineering Hydrology and Lab (2/1)
CE 487 Water Pollution (3)
ECE 410/L Electrical Machines and Energy Conversion and Lab (3/1)
ECE 411 Electric Power Systems (3)
ECE 412 Power Electronics (3)
ECE 420 Digital Systems Design with Programmable Logic (3)
ECE 425/L Microprocessor Systems and Lab (3/1)
ECE 440/L Electronics II and Lab (3/1)
ECE 501 Introduction to Biomedical Engineering (3)
MSE 527/L Mechanical Behavior of Materials and Lab (2/1)

3. General Education (27 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog.
Mechanical Engineering majors follow a modified General Education program depending on the year and enrollment status as a college student. Returning and transfer students should consult an advisor before planning their General Education programs. The requirements for students entering in Fall 2006 or later under the new Plan R is described here. Continuing students and some first-time transfer students may elect to continue with the former GE Plan C. Students should refer to prior Catalog editions and consult with an academic advisor in selecting their required GE courses.

Mechanical Engineering students are required to take courses in the following GE sections: Analytical Reading and Expository Writing (3 units), Oral Communication (3 units), Social Sciences (3 units), Arts and Humanities (6 units), Comparative Cultural Studies (6 units) and Title 5 (6 units). All other GE requirements are met through completion of courses in the major.

Students are required to complete one upper division Subject Explorations or Title 5 course that satisfies the Information Competency requirement.

Total Units in the Major: 99

General Education Units: 27

Total Units Required for the B.S. Degree: 126


Department of Mechanical Engineering
Chair: J. Michael Kabo
Jacaranda Hall (JD) 4513
(818) 677-2187

Student Learning Outcomes

Educational Objectives

The undergraduate mechanical engineering program should prepare a student to enter the engineering profession as a skilled practitioner who can make a solid contribution to the field, find job satisfaction and have a lifelong career. To accomplish these overall goals, during the first few years following program completion, a graduate is expected to:

  1. Have an engineering job or a position that utilizes the application of their engineering education in the workplace.
  2. Demonstrate a record of professional development activities related to the successful practice of engineering.
  3. Accept additional responsibilities to meet evolving workplace needs and be regarded by colleagues and supervisors as an effective member of their organization.

Student Learning Outcomes

The outcomes listed below have been defined for the Mechanical Engineering program. These outcomes as defined in ABET 2000 Criterion 3 have been modified to include the outcomes required by the program-specific criteria as given by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The following is the list of the outcomes:

  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 mechanical/thermal system, component or process to meet desired needs.
  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 and societal context.
  9. A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in lifelong learning.
  10. A knowledge of contemporary issues.
  11. An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.