2013-2014 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda) 
    Aug 16, 2018  
2013-2014 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Program Director: Richard Thorsen

The Mechanical Engineering Program offers degrees of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. A Minor in Aerospace Engineering  is offered as well as an Interdisciplinary Minor in Nuclear Sciences and Engineering  (offered in collaboration with the Department of Applied Physics). A Mechanical Engineering Minor  is offered for students majoring in other engineering disciplines. It is designed to provide students with the fundamentals of the mechanical engineering discipline and allow them to persue careers related to mechanical engineering. Both the aerospace engineering minor and the nuclear sciences and engineering minor can be integrated seamlessly into the BS in Mechanical Engineering program. The BS in Mechanical Engineering can be completed full-time or part-time. There is no evening program, so part-time students take the same classes as full-time students. Transfer students, all of whom must meet minimum residence requirements set by the Institute, are welcomed. A number of articulation agreements with several colleges provide a smooth transfer to the Institute. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, which provides comprehensive support to prospective transfer students, should be consulted for details.

The Mechanical Engineering Program also offers two graduate degrees, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. For each level, the student must choose one of the following specialty areas:

  • Aerospace engineering (PhD only)
  • Controls and dynamic systems
  • Fluid dynamics and thermal systems
  • Materials engineering (PhD only)
  • Mechanics and structural systems

All mechanical engineering degrees are offered to full-time and part-time students.

Mechanical Engineering Profession

Mechanical engineering is a dynamic, evolving profession and the most diverse of the engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers invent, innovate and create the physical systems and devices that define modern society. These systems and devices include automobiles and aircrafts, robots and power plants, medical devices and artificial limbs, and advanced nanomaterials and smart structures. The breadth and depth of mechanical engineering contribute significantly to the development of three technologies that are expected to define the 21st century: bioengineering, nanotechnology and green energy. Undergraduate and graduate mechanical-engineering programs prepare Polytechnic graduates for practice in diverse technical industries as well as in corporate management, law, medicine and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Aerospace Engineering Profession

Aerospace engineering is the art and science associated with the design and performance of aircraft, spacecraft and other airborne and space-related devices and systems. The scientific aspects of aircraft and spacecraft design are rooted in mechanical engineering and, in particular, in the broad areas of low- and high-speed flows, strength and stability of extremely lightweight structures, aero-thermochemistry and propulsion, guidance and control, materials engineering, and thermodynamics and heat transfer.

Moon and planetary vehicles, deep-space probes and space habitats, once confined to the realm of science fiction, are now realities. Vehicles now under design or projected for the future challenge the imagination. They also challenge the current knowledge base and state of the art of the technologies involved.

To meet these extraordinary challenges, aerospace engineers must understand the scientific principles that give them the greatest possible potential, flexibility and adaptability. Conflicting requirements imposed by such considerations as safety, reliability, cost, maintenance, and production and handling often demand compromises to attain optimum design. Aerospace engineers are responsible to resolve such issues. The hallmark of aerospace engineers is an ability to push the boundaries of knowledge and lead teams of specialists to achieve mission-specific goals. The Minor in Aerospace Engineering prepares students to meet these challenges and follow successful careers in aerospace related industries.

Nuclear Engineering Profession

The Nuclear Engineering field is experiencing a major resurgence from the skeptical public attitude of the 1970s and 1980s that resulted in a stagnated nuclear power industry for more than two decades. At the same time nuclear technologies have emerged in many fields to provide advanced solutions to challenging problems, such as food processing, Instrumentation, diagnostics and perhaps most importantly in the medical industry where many nuclear-based diagnostic and therapeutic procedures have saved and improved the lives of millions. In addition, growing concerns regarding global warming have again shifted the attitude of the public to amore favorable view of the potential benefits of nuclear power, which is inherently carbon free and thus can play a substantial role in curbing carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

To meet the demands of this resurgent industry, engineers proficient in the fundamentals of the nuclear sciences and engineering are needed. Developing new nuclear based medical diagnostic technologies, new electric power reactor systems, inherently safe reactors, nuclear-based sensors, and instruments for non destructive testing of structures and materials are some of the many fields where engineers with knowledge of the fundamentals of this fascinating field can get engaged. The Interdisciplinary Minor in Nuclear Sciences and Engineering prepares graduates for rewarding and successful careers in these nuclear sciences and engineering related fields.

Undergraduate Program

Goals and Objectives

The objectives of the undergraduate BS in Mechanical Engineering program at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University is for its graduates to:

  • engage and advance in professional careers in mechanical or related engineering, or other career paths that include industry, academia and governmental or non-governmental organizations; and
  • seek continuous professional development and lifelong learning through graduate studies, continuing education credits and professional registration.

The Program

To support program goals, the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum balances basic scientific and engineering principles and practice. Emphasis in the basic sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry and materials) as well as basic engineering sciences (mechanics of materials, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer, measurement systems and controls) is balanced by a parallel emphasis in engineering practice: laboratory experience, engineering design and computer-based analysis and design.

During the program’s first two years a series of courses in mathematics, from calculus to multivariable calculus and differential equations, provides students with the backgroundto understand and to solve complex equations of engineering physics. A series of courses in physics introduces the fundamentals of the physical world in all areas, including modern physics. Finally, a series of courses in chemistry, materials science and computer science introduce these fields, which are at the core of modern engineering research and practice, to the students.

A series of courses in the basic engineering sciences build on the knowledge acquired in mathematics, physics and materials sciences to provide the fundamental knowledge at the core of modern mechanical engineering. Engineering mechanics (statics and dynamics), mechanics of materials, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, measurement systems and control systems form the basis of modern mechanical engineering. They also provide the needed foundation for students to excel in any major subdiscipline in mechanical engineering. Another series of courses that includes computer-aided design, finite elements method and machine design, introduces students to the tools of modern mechanical-engineering practice. Computerbased tools have emerged over the last 20 years to revolutionize the practice of mechanical engineering, offering unsurpassed capabilities in analyzing and simulating complex engineering systems, as well as increasing dramatically engineering-enterprise productivity. In dedicated classes, students learn to use the latest, state-of-the-art computer tools.

This required course work is complemented by a series of seven mechanical-engineering laboratory courses in materials science, statics, mechanics of materials, measurement systems, automatic controls, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Finally, the students are given the opportunity to select from a broad range of elective courses to complement their education by building breadth and depth in one or more mechanical engineering sub-disciplines. Popular offerings over the last few years have been courses in energy systems, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, nanomaterials and composites, mechatronics, microelectromechanical systems and in intellectual-property strategies for engineers.

Throughout the curriculum, a series of courses introduces the concepts, methods and tools of engineering design. Emphasis is on the systematic process of design and the related innovation and creative content. Three aspects of design addressed through the course content are:

  • the concept of design and the corresponding concept of multiple solutions;
  • the process of design; and
  • the tools and skills for design.

The first aspect of design includes both the creative element, since the problem most likely lacks a unique solution, and project work. The second includes introduction to the systematic process of design, represented by concurrent engineering, quality management and the product-realization process, as well as other emerging concepts that set the framework for modern design. The third includes design tools, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA), as well as the underlying engineering theory for designing and analyzing components and systems.

The curriculum of integrated design exposure and experience evolves over the four years of the program. In their first year, students take EG-UY 1001 Engineering and Technology Forum , EG-UY 1003 Introduction to Engineering and Design , and ME-UY 1012 Introduction to Mechanical Engineering , to gain an initial comprehensive exposure to how things are designed and built. These courses also introduce students to ethical issues in engineering research and practice. Students work in team projects and learn the basics of effective, professional report writing and presentations. Sophomore students take ME-UY 2112 Computer Aided Design , where they are introduced to state-of-the-art computer-aided drafting tools, ME-UY 2213 Statics , and ME-UY 2211 Statics Laboratory , to enhance their understanding of static equilibrium of rigid bodies, and  MT-UY 2813 Introduction to Materials Science , and MT-UY 2811 Materials Science Laboratory , to study the structure of engineering materials and examine the impact of material properties on design.

In the junior year, students take ME-UY 3513 Measurement Systems , to learn how to design experiments; ME-UY 3333 ME-UY 3333 Thermodynamics , to understand the design of thermodynamic systems; ME-UY 3313 Fluid Mechanics , to understand design of fluid and thermal systems; ME-UY 3233 Machine Design , to consider the design aspects of machines and mechanical systems; ME-UY 3223 Dynamics , to consider the design of systems where motion is involved; and ME-UY 3413 Automatic Control , to explore the control of mechanical, aerospace, robotic, thermofluid, and vibrating systems and processes.

Finally, the design experience culminates with the Capstone ME-UY 4112 Senior Design I  and ME-UY 4113 Senior Design II  courses, during which students work in teams of four to six to conceptualize, design, fabricate and test an engineering product or system. In addition to the systematic and creative processes of design, the capstone design experience includes engineering consideration of safety, ethics, economic analysis, project planning, and budgeting and quality. These courses focus heavily on communications aspects, including report writing and oral presentations. Finally, many mechanical engineering elective courses offered contain significant design experience.


Graduates of the Mechanical Engineering Bachelor of Science program are employed in a wide range of industries, including primarily:

  • National defense
  • Aerospace
  • Energy generation and distribution
  • Telecommunications
  • Consulting firms (mostly infrastructure related)
  • Petrochemical, Pharmaceutical and other process industries
  • Government
  • A variety of small and medium size engineering firms

At the same time, Polytechnic graduates find opportunities in emerging fields, such as in biomedical systems and devices, nanotechnology and mechatronics. Alumni have used their basic mechanical engineering education as a springboard to law, medicine, corporate management and entrepreneurial ventures.

Finally, a substantial number of graduates continue their studies toward a Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in mechanical or related disciplines. Some of those obtaining a PhD degree pursue rewarding careers in academia and research organizations.

Special Departmental Requirements

For graduation, students must meet the Institute requirement of a 2.0 GPA or better. Seniors with GPAs of 3.5 or better may take certain graduate courses as electives with approval from the departmental adviser. Students on academic probation usually are permitted to preregister for the next semester, but are obliged to consult with their adviser after grades are posted and before classes begin. In addition, all ME majors must satisfy the following minimum GPA requirements, as table below:

Number of Full-Time Semesters Completed Minimum Required Cumulative GPA Minimum Number of Credits Earned
1 1.50 8
2 1.70 16
3 1.85 28
4 2.0 40
5 2.0 56
6 2.0 68
7 2.0 84
8 2.0 96
9 2.0 112
10 2.0 128

 Any student who does not meet the requirements above after the first semester will be automatically placed on final probation. Any student who does not meet the requirements above after the second semester will be automatically disqualified.

Transfer Students

All transfer students must meet the Institute’s minimum residency requirement of 66 credits. In addition, transfer students in the Mechanical Engineering Program are required to take all junior and senior mechanical engineering courses and technical electives at Polytechnic. Qualified graduates of two-year pre-engineering programs, such as those offered at several community colleges and four-year liberal-arts colleges, often may fulfill the requirements for BS in Mechanical Engineering in two additional years. Since such programs vary from college to college, students should meet with the mechanical engineering undergraduate adviser for guidance. The Institute has formal articulation agreements with some colleges; as a result, students from these schools have a series of transfer courses preapproved. Students with some course work toward a degree also may apply for transfer credit upon application to Polytechnic. In all cases, transfer credit is granted based upon equivalence to Polytechnic courses.

The process is expedited by previous decisions. Past transfer credit granted to students from the same college is a good indicator for prospective students. However, the adviser must be consulted in all cases for a current decision. Course content changes over the years at Polytechnic and other colleges, and content comparison determines decisions in each case. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to meet with the undergraduate adviser apart from the registration process to achieve a proper evaluation. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions offers information on past decisions for a given college and can arrange a meeting with the departmental undergraduate adviser. Graduates of technology programs may be able to fulfill the requirements for a BS in Mechanical Engineering in two to three-and-one-half years depending upon the scope and level of their previous education. The same is true for graduates of practical engineering and other such programs in various countries. Consult with the undergraduate adviser for details.

Typical Program of Study for the Bachelor of Science Degree

The program consists of five components:

  • Engineering core, 50 credits
  • Mechanical engineering electives, 9 credits
  • Mathematics, sciences and introduction to engineering, 42 credits
  • Humanities and social sciences, 24 credits
  • Free electives, 6 credits

Graduate Program

Programs of study that lead to the MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering are available in each of five specialty areas:

  • Aerospace engineering (PhD only)
  • Controls and dynamic systems (MS and PhD)
  • Fluid dynamics and thermal systems (MS and PhD)
  • Materials engineering (PhD only)
  • Mechanics and structural systems (MS and PhD)

A bachelor’s degree and a good academic record in mechanical engineering from a reputable college or university are generally required for admission to the graduate program. Students with exceptional undergraduate performance (typically with a GPA of 3.5 or better) can be admitted directly to the PhD program. Applicants with degrees from fields other than mechanical engineering may be admitted, but may have to complete additional studies to achieve a comparable background. Courses required to achieve this status are specified as part of the admission evaluation. Undergraduate courses specified for this purpose cannot count toward credits for the graduate degree. Graduate programs are subject to prior approval of a graduate adviser designated by the department.

To graduate, all students are required to have a 3.0 GPA or better in each of the following: in the average of all graduate courses taken at Polytechnic (whether or not some of these courses are being used to satisfy specific degree requirements); in the average of all courses submitted for the graduate degree sought (MS or PhD); in each guided studies, readings, projects, thesis and dissertation courses or credits enrolled.

Goals and Objectives

The objectives of the MS in Mechanical Engineering are for its students to acquire the skills necessary to:

  • develop in-depth expertise in at least one subdiscipline of mechanical engineering (e.g., Fluid Dynamics and Thermal Systems; Mechanics and Structural Systems; and Controls and Dynamic Systems) to prepare for a rewarding professional career or for studies toward a PhD or other degrees;
  • diversify their knowledge by taking advanced courses in other disciplines; and
  • enhance their professional careers by acquiring knowledge of how to formulate, analyze and design components and systems by using modern advanced analytical and computational-engineering tools.

The objectives of the PhD in Mechanical Engineering are for its students to master the skills necessary to:

  • obtain deep knowledge in one of the areasof mechanical engineering (e.g., materials, aerospace, fluid dynamics and thermal systems, mechanics and structural systems and controls and dynamic systems) through advanced courses and research;
  • obtain a broad understanding of other engineering and science disciplines so they can participate in interdisciplinary research;
  • identify problems, formulate research programs to address them, conduct research and produce results that advance the fundamental understanding of a certain subdiscipline by completing a dissertation in the chosen subdiscipline; and
  • communicate results of their research and other work effectively through conference presentations and refereed journal publication.

Double-Degree Partnerships

Double-Degree Partnership with Sapienza University of Rome

The department offers a double-degree option in Mechanical Engineering from the Sapienza University of Rome and NYU-Poly. Students complying with the degree requirements of both institutions will be granted a double-degree. Details for the program can be found on the departmental website.

Double-Degree Partnership with the Polytechnic of Bari

The department offers a double-degree option in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Dynamic Systems and Control from the Polytechnic of Bari and NYU-Poly. Students complying with the degree requirements of both institutions will be granted a double degree. Details for the program can be found on the departmental website.


    Non-DegreeBachelor of ScienceMaster of ScienceDoctor of Philosophy