Technical Electives Course Descriptions

ME 400: Thermodynamics of Propulsion and Power Systems (3 cr)
Fall Semester
Analysis and modeling of propulsion and power systems, including combustion, compressible flow through nozzles, chemical equilibrium, and moist air systems. Prerequisites: ME 300; ME 320. Prerequisite or concurrent: ME 410. Sample syllabus »

ME 403: Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Engines (3 cr)
Fall Semester (odd years)
Introduction to Fundamentals of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (PEFCs). Includes fundamentals of electrochemistry, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer materials, and manufacturing issues of PEFCs. Prerequisite M E 300, Prerequisite or concurrent: M E 320, ME 410. Sample syllabus »

ME 404: Gas Turbines (3 cr)
Fall Semester
Thermodynamic cycles relating to gas turbines; analysis and performance of compressors, combustion chambers, single- and multi- stage turbines; recent developments. Prerequisites: ME 320.

ME 405: Indoor Air Quality Engineering (3 cr)
Fall Semester
Prediction of the motion of contaminants (both gaseous particulate) in gas streams; analysis of ventilation systems and air pollution control systems; comparison of experimental sampling techniques. Prerequisite: ME 320.

ME 406 (NUC E 406): Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics (3 cr)
Spring Semester (odd years)
Statistical description of systems composed of large numbers of particles in the context of classical and quantum mechanics; basic concepts of probability theory and thermodynamics as they relate to statistical mechanics. Prerequisites: M E 300 or ME 201, or M E 302 or CH E 303; MATH 230 or MATH 231. Sample syllabus »

ME 420: Compressible Flow I (3 cr)
Fall Semester
Introductory compressible flow (gas dynamics), mathematical background, and physical concepts of isentropic flow, shock waves, expansion waves, and applications. Prerequisite: ME 320. Sample syllabus »

ME 422: Principles of Turbomachinery (3 cr)
Spring Semester
Application of Newton’s laws of motion and basic laws of thermodynamics to analysis of fluid flow in turbomachinery. Prerequisite: ME 320. Sample syllabus »

ME 427: Aerodynamics for Mechanical Engineers (3 cr)
Spring Semester
The primary objective of this course is to teach students how to apply concepts relating to incompressible flows to solve aerodynamic design problems. Prerequisite: ME 320. Sample syllabus »

ME 430 (EGEE 430): Introduction to Combustion (3 cr)
Fall and Spring Semesters
Concepts related to laminar and turbulent premixed and non-premixed combustion with applications to propulsion and stationary systems. Prerequisites: ME 201 or ME 300 or EME 301. Sample syllabus »

ME 431: Internal Combustion Engines (3 cr)
Spring Semester
Thermodynamic aspects of internal combustion engine design and performance; two- and four-stroke cycle, supercharged and non-supercharged, diesel and spark-ignition types. Sample syllabus »

ME 433: Fundamentals of Air Pollution (3 cr)
Spring Semester
Natural and man-made sources of pollution; atmospheric dispersion; biological and health effects; control systems; legislation and regulations. Prerequisite: ME 201 or ME 300. Sample syllabus »

ME 444: Engineering Optimization (3 cr)
Spring Semester
Problem formulation, algorithms and computer solution of various engineering optimization problems. Prerequisites: MATH 220; MATH 230 or MATH 231; CMPSC 200, or CMPSC 201 or CMPSC 202. Sample syllabus »

ME 452: Vehicle Dynamics (3 cr)
Spring Semester
Investigations of three-dimensional dynamics and design into the study of vehicle dynamics including tire forces, suspension, and stability. Prerequisite: ME 370. Prerequisite or concurrent: ME 450. Sample syllabus »

ME 455: Automatic Control Systems (3 cr)
Spring Semester
Dynamic analysis of systems involving automatic control of position, speed, power, flow, pressure, temperature, and other physical quantities. Prerequisites: ME 320; ME 450. Sample syllabus »

ME 456 (IE 456): Industrial Robot Applications (3 cr)
Fall Semester
Introduction to robotics, with emphasis on robot selection, programming, and economic justification for manufacturing applications. Prerequisites: MATH 220; MATH 250 or MATH 251; I E 305 or ME 360; CMPSC 200 or CMPSC 201. Sample syllabus »

ME 460: Advanced Machine Design Problems (3 cr)
Spring Semester
Special machine design problems in unusual type springs; gear problems and involutometry; cam design and application; multiple diameter shaft deflections and ball bearings. Prerequisite: ME 360; ME 370. Sample syllabus »

ME 461: Finite Elements in Engineering (3 cr)
Fall and Spring Semesters
Computer modeling and fundamental analysis of solid, fluid, and heat flow problems using existing computer codes. Prerequisites: CMPSC 200, CMPSC 201 or CMPSC 202; E MCH 213, E MCH 210 or E MCH 210H. Sample syllabus »

ME 480: Mechanism Design and Analysis (3 cr)
Fall Semester
Design and analysis of mechanical linkages including kinematic synthesis and dynamic analysis. Linkages for a variety of applications are considered. Prerequisite: E MCH 212. Prerequisite or Concurrent: CMPSC 200. Sample syllabus »

ME 481: Introduction to Computer-Aided Analysis of Machine Dynamics (3 cr)
Spring Semester
Techniques and formulations for computer based kinematic and dynamic analyses of machines. Prerequisite: E MCH 212. Prerequisite or Concurrent: CMPSC 200. Sample syllabus »

ME 494H: Senior Honors Thesis (6 cr max)
The Senior (Honors) Thesis is a requirement for students participating in the Schreyer Honors Program in Mechanical Engineering. It is a valuable component of the entire honors program for the student participating in this program — using, extending, and integrating what he/she has learned, developing a sense of mastery of information and knowledge, and providing an achievement worth noting. Up to six credits of honors course work may be devoted to thesis preparation. Though department policy or a thesis supervisor may approve fewer than six credits in no case may more than six honors credits be earned for a thesis. For students in the Schreyer Honors Program, six credits of senior thesis may be substituted for:

  • 3 credits of Capstone Design Project, if the effort meets the criterion stated in “Design Project Course Substitutions” on page 2.3 is satisfied, and
  • 3 credits of Engineering Technical Elective (ETE) or General Technical Elective (GTE).

— OR —

  • 3 credits of Engineering Technical Elective (ETE) and 3 credits of General Technical Elective (GTE).

The Honor’s Thesis capstone experience approval form can be downloaded at M E 494H Thesis Substitution Registration Form.

ME 496: Independent Studies (1-6 cr)
Students engaged in independent study under the supervision of an ME faculty member may use up to 6 credits of ME 496 for the Engineering Technical Elective requirement (ETE) or General Technical Elective (GTE). Students cannot register for ME 496 without having made arrangements with a faculty member and receiving the permission of the student’s adviser. In addition to registering for ME 496, a Project Registration form must be submitted in 139/140 Reber Building. The Department requires that students have an overall GPA not less than a 3.0 to enroll in ME 496.

ME 497: Special Topics
New or experimental courses will be offered from time to time as an ME 497X course.

Career Resources
Study Abroad


With more than 60 faculty members, 330 graduate students, and 1,000 undergraduate students, the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering embraces a culture that welcomes individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise. Our faculty and students are innovating today what will impact tomorrow’s solutions to meeting our energy needs, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems. We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S.) graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at

Department of Mechanical Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519