Current Undergraduate Students
The requirements for graduation are summarized in formal checksheets that are maintained by the Registrar. Our latest approved checksheets are located on the Registrar’s website.
Note that prerequisite and course offering information on the newer checksheets is for reference only and is subject to change.
The ME department makes unofficial degree path sheets to summarize the requirements contained in the formal checksheets in a flow chart. The degree path sheets summarize prerequisite and corequisite requirements, which may change without notice. These are only for reference only to aid you in planning your courses:
*** Please see below for alternate course plans for co-op jobs and for schedules with lighter course loads. ***
Please consult your ME advisor if you choose to deviate from the degree path sheets. Dropping the wrong course can cause a 1 year delay in graduation, as senior courses are only offered once per year. Some courses must be completed before a set number of attempted required credits to avoid academic probation and should be considered a priority – see the degree path sheet or graduation checksheet for details.20
Transfer students will be assigned an ME advisor after they matriculate. The advisors will work with new students to make long-term course plans and with with class registration for the first semester. Once students move to mechanical engineering from general engineering, they will retain that same advisor for their career in ME.
The Transfer Guide includes information on course equivalencies for transfer and AP, IB, CLEP, and Cambridge exams.
For current students interested in taking transfer courses over the summer through a Virginia Community College School System (VCCS) school, please see the combined timetable for the VCCS colleges. Be sure to fill out a transfer credit request form before enrolling in the transfer course to ensure you have selected the correct course.
Transfer credits are not awarded until after the Registrar’s Office receives an official transcript from your transfer school showing a final grade of C or higher.
Some students may wish to spread out their schedules and delay their graduation. An excellent way to lighten semester course loads while getting engineering work experience is to accept a full-time, paid engineering co-op position.
Students can work for virtually any company as a co-op as long as the company agrees to the meet the employer requirements set by Career Services. Signing up for a formal co-op position through Career & Professional Development allows the student to be considered as a full time student for insurance and other purposes.
Below are sample course plans for co-op students. Please consult with a Mechanical Engineering advisor for personalized plans based on the classes you have completed and the term you plan to start working. Note that students must be here for a consecutive Fall/Spring during their senior year to complete their year-long senior design team-based project.
New Curriculum (Class of 2022 and later):
- Sample co-op schedules with 8 academic terms
(for students comfortable with the typical course load or who may have AP or transfer credits to lighten their load)
- Sample co-op schedules with 9 academic terms
(for students desiring a lighter schedule or who may need room to fit courses for a minor or additional classes required of our military students)
Please consult with an ME advisor as early as possible if you are entering as a General Engineering freshman with lots of AP credit; it may be possible to graduate in 4 years while squeezing in a co-op work term during the academic year if you plan early.
Military students who have additional course requirements above the 129 credits required for a BSME degree often spread their schedules out to 5 years. A sample Five-Year Military Plan (Class of 2022 and later) keeps the required BSME courses at or below 15 credits per semester, with the lightest loads taken while the student is taking sophomore and junior level engineering courses.
Please consult your academic advisor if you need help making a personalized schedule or if you are planning to drop a course and would like to know how this may impact your schedule.
Students must complete general education requirements based on the year that they enter Virginia Tech. ME students entering prior to Fall 2018 fall into the old Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE) requirements, while students entering Fall 2018 or later fall under the Pathways to General Education requirements. For either set of general education requirements, students must take these courses in the A/F grading system unless the courses are only offered P/F. Students earning AP, IB, CLEP, or transfer credits for course(s) which exactly match those in the general education guidelines may be use these course(s) to satisfy general education requirements.
For students entering Fall 2018 or later, general education requirements not automatically covered by the ME curriculum, which students must select on their own include:
- 6 credits Pathways Concept 2 (Critical Thinking in the Humanities)
- 6 credits Pathways Concept 3 (Reasoning in the Social Sciences)
- 3 credit Pathways Concept 6A (Critique & Practice in the Arts (NOT Critique & Practice in Design, which is covered by ENGE1215/1216) , and
- 3 credits Pathways Concept 7 (Critical Analysis of Identity & Equity in the US).
For students entering prior to Fall 2018, general education requirements not automatically covered by the ME curriculum, which students must select on their own include:
- 6 credits CLE Area 2 (Ideas, Cultural Traditions, and Values)
- 6 credits CLE Area 3 (Society and Human Behavior)
- 1 credit CLE Area 6 (Creativity and Aesthetic Experience) , and
- 3 credits CLE Area 7 (Critical Issues in a Global Context).
To see which general education requirements you have/have not satisfied: Please apply for a degree through Hokie SPA if you have not done so already (this is NOT the same as selecting ME as your major while in GE). Note that you can update your application for degree at any time to change your graduation date if your plans change, so don’t be afraid to apply for a degree. A Degree Audit Report available through Hokie SPA will show you which courses counted towards the various areas and which areas are still unfulfilled.
Note: A single course cannot fulfill two general education requirements unless it is a Pathways Concept 7 (or CLE Area 7) course which also fulfills Pathways Concept 2 or 3 (or CLE Area 2 or 3) . A student taking one of these courses would meet both requirements, but may need 3 credits of free electives to reach the required number of credits to graduate. Please see the ME checksheets for a full list of graduation requirements and consult your academic advisor if you have questions.
Our technical elective lists are included at the bottom of our graduation checksheets:
Note that some technical electives listed may have major restrictions or prerequisites that may prevent you from enrolling in that course.
For the classes of 2020 & 2021, a total of 15 credits of technical electives is required. A limit of 6 credits may be selected from List #2, which includes “soft” technical classes such as independent study (ME4974), undergraduate research (ME4994), 2000-level technical electives, and ENGL3764 (technical writing).
For the Class of 2022 and beyond, a total of 12 credits of technical electives are required for graduation. A limit of 3 credits may be selected from List #2, which includes “soft” technical classes such as independent study (ME4974), undergraduate research (ME4994), 2000-level technical electives, and ENGL3764 (technical writing).
For students entering in the 2020-2021 academic year or graduating in 2023 and later, 6 credits of technical electives must be ME or NSEG classes.
If you wish to receive technical elective credit for a course that is not on this list, please fill out a Request for Technical Elective Credit form and return it to 113 Randolph.
Technical electives should be selected to match your career interests. Popular areas include:
- Biomechanics Biomedical Engineering
- Green Engineering
- Industrial Design
- Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Machine Design
- Nuclear Engineering
- Thermal Fluids
Note that prospective employers will be more impressed if you have taken courses that meet their needs than if they saw an unrelated minor listed on your resume. You can always bring attention to your choice of technical electives on your resume by including a statement such as: “I concentrated in automotive engineering by taking the following courses …” (That would certainly get an auto manufacturer’s attention more than a math minor would!)
If you are not sure what area you would like to specialize in, you should consider taking general technical electives in a variety of areas and pursue engineering internships or co-op jobs as a means of exploring potential careers.
Are you interested in automotive engineering? Would you like to have a summer experience studying automotive engineering at Germany’s top Mechanical Engineering institute? Consider taking the Automotive Engineering summer program at Technische Universitat Darmstadt. For more information on this and other study abroad programs, please use the search tool on VT Global Education website.
Independent Study (4974) or Undergraduate Research (4994) courses provide students an opportunity to work individually with a professor. In order to enroll in one of these, the student and professor must work together to fill out an undergraduate research/independent study form. The deadline for submission of this form is the first day of classes in the semester the course is to be taken. Students must have a 2.5 overall GPA and a 2.0 in-major GPA to participate in Undergraduate Research or Independent Study.
For students graduating in 2021 and earlier, a total of up to 6 credits of Independent Study and/or Undergraduate Research may be used as List #2 technical elective credits. A maximum of 6 credits may be selected from List #2 out of the required 15 credits of technical electives; all other technical elective credit must be selected from List #1. Students graduating in 2022 and later can use up to 3 credits of Independent Study or Undergraduate Research (4994 or 4974) as List #2 technical elective credit, with a maximum of 3 credits from List #2 able to count towards the required 12 credits total of technical electives.
The Nuclear Engineering minor requires 6 courses (18 credits), which includes MATH2214 (Differential Equations) plus 15 credits of nuclear engineering courses, which will count as technical electives for ME students. Non-ME students should contact their departmental advisor to find out about the possibility of counting the nuclear engineering courses towards their department’s technical elective requirements.Students considering employment in the nuclear industry should consider concentrating their technical electives in the nuclear engineering area. Suggested courses include:
- NSEG 3145/NSEG 3146 – Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering – Parts I (Fall) and II (Spring)
- NSEG 3604 – Radiation Detection and Shielding
- NSEG 4214 – Nuclear Power Plant Operations
- NSEG 4204 – Nuclear Fuel Cycle
- NSEG 4214 – Nuclear Power Plant Operation
- NSEG 4424 – Reactor Thermal Hydraulics
- MSE 4384 – Nuclear Materials
- NSEG 4974/NSEG 4994 – Independent Study/Undergraduate Research on a nuclear-related project (requires college and departmental approval on an individual basis).
Mechanical engineering students can also choose to work on a nuclear engineering-related senior design project (ME 4015/ME 4016).
Some students have a strong interest in an area outside of the ME Department that they wish to pursue as a minor or as a second major. To sign up for a minor or major, please visit the website for the department offering that program. Note that you need to either complete all requirements for that major/minor or drop the major/minor in order to receive your ME degree.
Some of the more common minors earned by ME students are:
- Math (requires 9 credits of math courses beyond the required courses for an ME degree; courses can be selected to also count as ME technical electives); please see the Math Minor listing in the Undergraduate Catalog for more information.
- Industrial Design (requires 18 credits total including a 6 credit summer studio; 6 credits (IDS2034 & IDS2044) may also count as List #2 technical electives); please see the Industrial Design listing for more information.
- Green Engineering (requires 18 credits which can count towards technical electives and Area 7); please see the Green Engineering listing for more information.
- Engineering Science & Mechanics (requires 12 credits which may also count as technical electives); please see the Minor in Engineering Science and Mechanics listing for more information.
- Physics (requires 16 credits of physics courses beyond the required courses for an ME degree; courses can be selected to also count as ME technical electives); please see the Physics Minor listing for more information.
- Business (requires minimum of 24 credits beyond the required courses for an ME degree if ECON2005/2006 are taken as Area 3 electives); please see the Business Minor listing for more information.
To access the checksheets for all minors offered at VT, please visit the Registrar's website.
Students can double major in any two majors as long as they meet the requirements for both degrees. Please see the Graduation Requirement listings for checksheets summarizing the requirements for any major at Virginia Tech. Students wishing to double major in two similar majors (like Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering) should consider a bachelors (BS) degree in one major and a masters degree (MS) in the second major.
If a student meets the requirements for two majors and also earns 30 more credits beyond the credits required for the for the primary major, they can earn a double degree (two separate degrees rather than one degree with both majors listed). For more information about degrees and second majors, please see the Registrar’s website.
The B.S. program in Mechanical Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.
Student Outcomes for Undergraduates
Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree, the students will have obtained:
- 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 judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal 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 judgment to draw conclusions.
- an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.
Please refer to the Undergraduate Course Catalog and Academic Policies to learn more about the Mechanical Engineering department’s objectives, employment opportunities, course offerings, and policies.