Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) Degree

The program leading to the BSME degree is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, https://www.abet.org.

Program Learning Outcomes (Student Outcomes) for the BSME Degree

Upon completing the BSME degree, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. 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.
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Program Educational Objectives for the BSME Degree

Within 3 to 5 years of graduation, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree alumni from Rice will be exceptional engineers who are:

  1. Successful and on track to become leaders in the global workforce; and/or
  2. Students in top-rated post-graduate programs. 

Requirements for the BSME Degree

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BSME degree must complete:

  • A minimum of 33 courses (87 credit hours) to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 127 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 21 courses (50 credit hours) taken at the 300-level or above. 
  • The requirements for one area of specialization (see below for areas of specialization). When students declare the major in Mechanical Engineering (associated with the BSME degree), students must additionally identify and declare one of four areas of specialization, either in:
    • Computational Engineering: covers the tools need to simulate and study a range of systems, both fluidic and solid, and to make predictions about behavior and performance of those systems; or
    • Mechanics/Dynamics: provides a background in the fundamentals of solid interactions and control systems, and is highly relevant in areas such as robotics, solid mechanics, and tissue mechanics; or
    • Thermal Fluids: integrates topics from thermodynamics, fluids, and heat transfer to study renewable and conventional energy systems, aerospace/aeronautics, and surface interactions; or
    • Breadth in Mechanical Engineering: encompasses concepts from across the areas of specialization to prepare students for working in cross-cutting fields. 

Because of the common core requirements, it is possible for students to change their area of specialization at any time, even after initially declaring the major. To do so, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

The BSME degree prepares students for the professional practice of engineering. The degree program's goals and objectives are available on the departmental website. Lists of representative undergraduate courses and the usual order in which they are taken are available from the department.

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor, or where applicable, the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. (Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the major's Official Certifier.) Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Mechanical Engineering 87
Total Credit Hours Required for the BSME Degree127

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Basic Math and Science Courses (Required Pre-Requisites)
CHEM 121GENERAL CHEMISTRY I3
or CHEM 111 AP/OTH CREDIT IN GENERAL CHEMISTRY I
CHEM 123GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY I1
or CHEM 113 AP/OTH CREDIT IN GENERAL CHEMISTRY LAB I
MATH 101SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS I3
or MATH 105 AP/OTH CREDIT IN CALCULUS I
MATH 102SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS II3
or MATH 106 AP/OTH CREDIT IN CALCULUS II
MATH 211ORDINARY DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS AND LINEAR ALGEBRA3
MATH 212MULTIVARIABLE CALCULUS3
PHYS 101
PHYS 103
MECHANICS (WITH LAB)
and MECHANICS DISCUSSION
4
PHYS 102
PHYS 104
ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM (WITH LAB)
and ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM DISCUSSION
4
Computational and Applied Mathematics
CAAM 210INTRODUCTION TO ENGINEERING COMPUTATION3
or MECH 210 INTRODUCTION TO NUMERICAL METHODS
CAAM 335MATRIX ANALYSIS3
or MATH 354 HONORS LINEAR ALGEBRA
or MATH 355 LINEAR ALGEBRA
CAAM 336DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING3
Senior Design 1
MECH 407CAPSTONE DESIGN PROJECT I4
MECH 408CAPSTONE DESIGN PROJECT II3
Laboratory Courses
MECH 231 - SOPHOMORE LAB 31
MECH 331JUNIOR LABORATORY I1
MECH 332JUNIOR LABORATORY II1
MECH 340INDUSTRIAL PROCESS LAB1
Mechanical Engineering
MECH 200CLASSICAL THERMODYNAMICS3
MECH 202MECHANICS/STATICS3
MECH 203MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN TOOLS3
MECH 310RIGID BODY DYNAMICS3
MECH 315STRESS ANALYSIS3
MECH 343MODELING OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS4
MECH 350MECHANICAL ELEMENTS3
MECH 371FLUID MECHANICS I3
MECH 420 / ELEC 436FUNDAMENTALS OF CONTROL SYSTEMS3
MECH 481HEAT TRANSFER3
Elective Requirements
Limited Elective
Select 1 course from the following departmental course offerings at the 300-level or above: CAAM, DSCI, MATH, STAT.3
Technical Electives 2
Select 1 from the following Areas of Specialization (see Areas of Specialization below):9
Computational Engineering
Mechanics/Dynamics
Thermal Fluids
Breadth in Mechanical Engineering
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Mechanical Engineering 87
University Graduation Requirements *38
Total Credit Hours125

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Areas of Specialization

Students must complete the requirements as listed for one of the following areas of specialization for the BSME degree program. A minimum of 3 courses (minimum of 9 credit hours) must be taken in the area of specialization.

Area of Specialization: Computational Engineering

To fulfill the BSME degree requirements, students pursuing the Computational Engineering area of specialization must complete:

  • 1 course (3 credit hours) from the area of specialization Core Requirement
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from the area of specialization Elective Requirements
Core Requirement
MECH 417FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS3
or MECH 454 COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS
Elective Requirements
Select 2 from the following:6
FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS 1
COMPUTATIONAL STRUCTURAL MECHANICS AND FEM
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS 1
ADVANCED COMPUTATIONAL MECHANICS
NUMERICAL METHODS FOR ENGINEERS
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID-STRUCTURE INTERACTION
APPLIED MONTE CARLO ANALYSIS
Total Credit Hours9

Footnotes and Additional Information

Area of Specialization: Mechanics/Dynamics

To fulfill the BSME degree requirements, students pursuing the Mechanics/Dynamics area of specialization must complete:

  • 1 course (3 credit hours) from the area of specialization Core Requirement
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from the area of specialization Elective Requirements
Core Requirement
MECH 412VIBRATIONS3
Elective Requirements
Select 2 from the following:6
ADVANCED MECHANICS OF MATERIALS
DYNAMICS AND CONTROL OF MECHANICAL SYSTEMS
FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS
COMPUTATIONAL STRUCTURAL MECHANICS AND FEM
INTRODUCTION TO ENERGY-EFFICIENT MECHATRONICS
ALGORITHMIC ROBOTICS
DESIGN OF MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS
NEUROMUSCULOSKELETAL MODELING AND SIMULATION
INTRODUCTION TO ROBOTICS
INTRODUCTION TO FLIGHT MECHANICS
Total Credit Hours9

Area of Specialization: Thermal Fluids

To fulfill the BSME degree requirements, students pursuing the Thermal Fluids area of specialization must complete:

  • 1 course (3 credit hours) from the area of specialization Core Requirement
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) from the area of specialization Elective Requirements
Core Requirement
MECH 454COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS3
or MECH 472 THERMAL SYSTEMS DESIGN
Elective Requirements
Select 2 from the following:6
FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS 1
THERMAL SYSTEMS DESIGN 1
MICROSCOPIC THERMODYNAMICS AND TRANSPORT
MECH 482 - CONVECTIVE HEAT TRANSFER 2
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID-STRUCTURE INTERACTION
TRIBOLOGY: THE STUDY OF FRICTION, LUBRICATION, AND WEAR
INTRODUCTION TO HYDRODYNAMIC STABILITY
AEROSPACE PROPULSION
GAS DYNAMICS
INTRODUCTION TO AERONAUTICS
Total Credit Hours9

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Area of Specialization: Breadth in Mechanical Engineering

To fulfill the BSME degree requirements, students pursuing the Breadth in Mechanical Engineering area of specialization must complete:

  • 3 courses (9 credit hours) from the area of specialization Elective Requirements
Elective Requirements
Select 3 from the following:9
VIBRATIONS
FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS
THERMAL SYSTEMS DESIGN
Total Credit Hours9

Policies for the BSME Degree 

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: https://oaa.rice.edu. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Departmental Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the BSME degree should be aware of the following departmental transfer credit guidelines:

  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director (and/or the program’s official transfer credit advisor) on an individual case-by-case basis.

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Mechanical Engineering website: https://mech.rice.edu/

Opportunities for the BSME Degree

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

Fifth-Year Master's Degree Option for Rice Undergraduate Students    

Rice students have an option to pursue the Master of Mechanical Engineering (MME) degree by adding an additional fifth year to their four undergraduate years of science and engineering studies.

Advanced Rice undergraduate students in good academic standing may apply to the MME degree program during their junior or senior year. Upon acceptance, depending on course load, financial aid status, and other variables, they may then start taking some required courses of the master's degree program. A plan of study will need to be approved by the student's undergraduate advisor and the MME program director. 

As part of this option and opportunity, Rice undergraduate students:

  • must complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree and the master's degree independently of each other (i.e. no course may be counted toward the fulfillment of both degrees).
  • should be aware there could be financial aid implications if the conversion of undergraduate coursework to that of graduate level reduces their earned undergraduate credit for any semester below that of full-time status (12 credit hours). 
  • more information on this Undergraduate - Graduate Concurrent Enrollment opportunity, including specific information on the registration process can be found here.

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Mechanical Engineering website: https://mech.rice.edu/