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Oklahoma State University

Undergraduate Programs of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (BSME & BSAE)

Who are Mechanical & Aerospace Engineers?

No other profession unleashes the spirit of innovation like Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. From research to real-world applications, mechanical and aerospace engineers discover how to improve lives by creating bold new solutions that connect science to life in unexpected, forward thinking ways. Few have such a direct and positive effect on everyday lives and we count on mechanical and aerospace engineers, and their imaginations, to help us meet the needs of the 21st century.

Mechanical and aerospace engineers know that life takes engineering, and that their disciplines provide freedom to explore, shape the future, encompass an enterprising spirit, and call for limitless imagination. Engineering makes a world of difference and is essential to our health, happiness, and safety. Creative problem solving, while turning dreams into reality, is the core of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. These professional disciplines involve the invention, design, and manufacture of devices, machines and systems that serve the ever-changing needs of modern society.

Mechanical engineering is an exceedingly diverse field that spans an exceptionally wide range of systems, devices and vehicles. Mechanical engineers are vitally concerned with all forms of energy production, utilization and conservation. They are the key professionals in bringing about the green revolution, finding ways to reduce or eliminate pollution, minimize waste, reduce energy usage, and re-use waste, scrap, and recycled goods. They deal with everything mechanical and energy-consuming, whether small or large, simple or complex—from fuel cells to nuclear power plants, gas turbine engines to interplanetary space vehicles, artificial limbs to life support systems, robotic manipulators to complex automatic packaging machines, precision instruments to construction machinery, household appliances to mass transit systems, heating and air-conditioning systems to off-shore drilling platforms, and powered home and garden appliances to vehicles of all types. In virtually every organization where engineers are employed, mechanical engineers will be found.

The BS degree program in mechanical engineering together with the premedical option in mechanical engineering, is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the ABET under the criteria for mechanical and similarly named engineering programs.

Aerospace engineering is concerned with the science and technology of flight, and the design of air, land and sea vehicles for transportation and exploration. This exciting field has led people to the moon and continues to lead in the expansion of frontiers deeper into space and into the ocean’s depths. Because of their unique backgrounds in aerodynamics and lightweight structures, aerospace engineers are becoming increasingly involved in solving some of society’s most pressing and complex problems, such as high-speed ground transportation and pollution of the environment.

The BS degree program in aerospace engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the ABET under the criteria for aerospace and similarly named engineering programs.

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What will I learn?

Because mechanical engineering is perhaps the broadest of all engineering disciplines, the program provides not only excellent grounding in all engineering fundamentals, but also allows some flexibility in selecting controlled technical electives to suit the student’s interests. In this selection, no one area may be unduly emphasized at the expense of another. For the aerospace engineering and the mechanical engineering premedical programs, prescribed course work provides students with more focused development. Graduates are fully competent as mechanical or aerospace engineers, with abilities in design, and in-depth knowledge in their areas of concentration.

As a fundamental component of all BS programs, engineering design is strongly emphasized in the junior and senior years but is integrated throughout the curriculum. Most MAE courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels include some design content, ranging from a minimum of one-half to a maximum of four credit hours of design content. Each professional school course builds upon the preceding mechanical and aerospace engineering courses to develop in the student the ability to identify and solve meaningful engineering problems. The course work is specifically sequenced and interrelated to provide design experience at each level, leading to progressively more complex, open-ended problems. The course work includes sensitizing students to socially-related technical problems and their responsibilities as engineering professionals to behave ethically and protect occupational and public safety. The program culminates in a senior-year design course in which students integrate analysis, synthesis, and other abilities they have developed throughout the earlier portions of their study into a capstone experience. The design experiences include the fundamental elements and features of design with realistic constraints such as economics, safety, reliability, social and environmental impact, and other factors. At this point, students are able to design components, systems and processes that meet specific requirements, including such pertinent societal considerations as ethics, safety, environmental impact and aesthetics. Students develop and display the ability to design and conduct experiments essential to specific studies and to analyze experimental results to draw meaningful conclusions.

An integral part of this educational continuum, from basic science through comprehensive engineering design, are learning experiences that facilitate the students' abilities to function effectively in both individual and team environments. The program also provides every graduate with adequate learning experiences to develop effective written and oral communication skills. State-of-the-art computational tools are introduced and used as a part of their problem-solving experiences. Finally, the students’ experience in solving ever-more-challenging problems gives them the ability to continue to learn independently throughout their professional careers.

The broad background and problem-solving ability of mechanical and aerospace engineers make them suited to engage in one or more of the following activities: research, development, design, production, operation, management, technical sales and private consulting. Versatility is their trademark. A bachelor’s degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering is also an excellent background for entering other professional schools such as medicine, dentistry, law or business (MBA). The premedical option in mechanical engineering is available for students wishing to enroll in medical school or continue on to graduate study in this area.

In the professional school, (essentially the junior and senior years of the program) mechanical and aerospace engineering students extend their study of the engineering sciences and consider applications of fundamental principles and analysis tools to the solution of real technological problems of society. Some design courses involve students in the solution of authentic, current and significant engineering problems provided by industrial firms. Students may also help smaller firms that need assistance with the development of new products.

The student designs, with the guidance of an adviser, an individualized program of study consistent with his or her interests and career plans. Some students terminate their studies with a bachelor’s degree, while others receive one of several graduate degrees.

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The value of accreditation (ABET)

We are proud to have programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET accreditation is a significant achievement. We have worked hard to ensure that our program meets the quality standards set by the profession. Because it requires comprehensive, periodic evaluations, ABET accreditation demonstrates our continuing commitment to the quality of our program – both now and in the future.

You should be proud, too. When you choose an accredited program, you are choosing wisely. Accreditation assures that a program has met quality standards set by the profession. To employers, graduate schools, and licensure, certification, and registration boards, graduation from an accredited program signifies adequate preparation for entry into the profession. In fact, many of these groups require graduation from an accredited program as a minimum qualification. Be proud that you have chosen an ABET-accredited program. ABET accreditation is an important indicator of the commitment of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering to the quality of undergraduate instruction and may be a key to your professional future.

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Program Educational Objectives

Program educational objectives are statements that describe the expected accomplishments and professional status of mechanical and aerospace engineering graduates three to five years beyond the baccalaureate degree. The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University is dedicated to graduating mechanical and aerospace engineers who:

  1. Develop exemplary careers and become leaders to the greater benefit of society.
  2. Earn a reputation as responsible and ethical professionals.
  3. Develop innovative technologies and adapt to changing professional and societal norms with wisdom and integrity.

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Student Outcomes

Student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that students acquire as they progress through the program. The student outcomes for students graduating from the mechanical and aerospace engineering BS programs are:

  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 system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability;
  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, economic, environmental, and societal context ;
  9. a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning;
  10. a knowledge of contemporary issues;
  11. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

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ABET Specific Program Criteria

In addition to the Student Outcomes, ABET requires specific program criteria which must be supported by the curricula and are unique to engineering disciplines. For the BSME Program, the ABET specific ME program criteria are broken into three elements. The ME curriculum prepares graduates to:

  • ME1 – apply principles of engineering, basic science and mathematics (including multivariate calculus and differential equations);
  • ME2 – model, analyze, design, and realize physical systems, components or processes; and
  • ME3 – be prepared to work professionally in either thermal or mechanical systems areas while taking courses in each area.

For the BSAE Program, the ABET specific AE program criteria are broken into three elements. The AE curriculum prepares graduates to:

  • AE1 – have knowledge of the following aeronautical topics: aerodynamics, aerospace materials, structures, propulsion, flight mechanics, and stability and control;
  • AE2 – have knowledge of some of the following astronautical topics: orbital mechanics, space environment, attitude determination and control, telecommunications, space structures, and rocket propulsion; and
  • AE3 – have design competence which includes integration of aeronautical or astronautical topics.

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Student Demographics

Students who have been admitted to Oklahoma State University can declare the major of their choice as freshmen. Engineers are dedicated professionals. Engineering students must dedicate themselves to the rigor of engineering education as freshman and sophomores in STEM related course work. The engineering schools of Oklahoma State University operate on a professional school concept. Engineering students take very similar core courses as freshmen and sophomores. Near the end of their sophomore year, students will apply to the engineering professional school of their choice. Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering are two of their possible choices. Although many students initially declare themselves as mechanical or aerospace engineers, they may find their calling lies in other fields of engineering or in other colleges as they experience the engineering core course work. The table below shows the numbers of students who declare themselves as mechanical or aerospace engineers each academic year (AY), those who were admitted to professional school that AY and finally those who graduated in that AY:

  PROGRAM AY 2009-10 AY 2010-11 AY 2011-12 AY 2012-13 AY 2013-14 AY 2014-15
Student Declarations Aerospace Engineering 283 315 334 373 361 360
  Mechanical Engineering 607 641 681 741 843 978
Professional School Admissions Aerospace Engineering 45 37 61 48 44 62
  Mechanical Engineering 85 98 109 106 141 149
Degrees Granted Aerospace Engineering 38 40 47 39 52 57
  Mechanical Engineering 99 94 107 108 143 168


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Where are the Student Outcomes and Specific Program Criteria taught?

The student outcomes are taught at increasing levels throughout the undergraduate curriculum. They are taught at formative, introductory levels in the engineering core course work. They are taught at higher levels and are assessed in MAE junior and senior level courses. The following link shows where the student outcomes are taught and assessed in MAE courses. The courses where specific program criteria are taught are also indicated: Course/Student Outcomes Matrix.pdf

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