Frequently Asked Questions

Question:  Will my B.S. degree be awarded in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering?

Answer:  The Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering awards B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Graduate degrees are awarded in Mechanical Engineering or Aerospace Engineering. Eligible engineering students, including B.S., M.E. candidates may earn a Minor in Aerospace Engineering.

Question:  How should I design my academic plan?

Answer:  Affiliated students in M.E. should follow the B.S., M.E. flowchart as a guide (Pre-Med students use this flowchart). Prerequisites are strictly enforced. You are encouraged to seek technical advice from your MAE Faculty Advisor and administrative and graduation requirement-related advice from Nanette Peterson, Undergraduate Program Advisor and Coordinator, 104 Upson Hall.

Question:  What are Major Approved Electives I and II (formerly Concentrations)?

Answer:  Major Approved Elective l and Major Approved Elective ll consist of two upper-level courses (minimum 6 credits) which may be chosen from the approved list of Major Approved Electives Major Approved Electives.  Students have the choice of selecting two courses, focusing on one topic, or two courses chosen from two areas. MAE 4900 (research – not required) and/or MAE 4xx1 (required – senior design) will not fulfill this requirement.  Students may not use a Major Approved Elective to also fulfill the Senior Design requirement.

Question:  What are Advisor Approved Electives?

Answer:  The Advisor Approved Electives requirement consists of two courses (minimum 6 credits) that must be pre-approved by your MAE Faculty Advisor. It is strongly recommended that you discuss this requirement with your advisor before you satisfy this requirement. The Advisor Approved Electives form or approval by e-mail must be completed and submitted to 108 Upson Hall before graduation. Deadline for submission: May 1 (if you anticipate May or August graduation), or December 1 (if you intend to graduate after completing the Fall term).  Students should provide their advisor with their advisor approved elective selections in advance.

Question:  How many credits are required to be in Good Standing? What are the requirements for Dean’s List eligibility?

Answer:  Students are required to take a minimum of 12 credits each semester to be considered full-time status and in Good Standing. Students are prohibited from taking fewer than 12 credits during any semester if they are an international student, or for those who are a recipient of a particular financial aid or scholarship package.  Student athletes who are under NCAA jurisdiction may not take fewer than 12 credits each semester.  Pro-rated tuition may only be applied in the ninth semester. According to the College of Engineering policy, students need 12 credits each semester to be eligible for the Dean’s List citations. For additional Dean’s List criteria, visit:

Question:  What is a Technical Elective?

Answer:  Any math, chemistry and physics courses beyond the College of Engineering core curriculum are accepted, in addition to many 2000+ Engineering courses and Bio 1000+ courses (with the exception of BSOC courses and BIONB 3210; these courses will not satisfy the techncial elective requirement). Note: Engineering business, communication, and organization courses are excluded for fulfilling a technical elective, with the exception of MAE 4610.

MAE 4980, TA for credit,  may only fulfill an advisor approved elective.  A form is not required for the technical elective. See the M.E. undergraduate coordinator in 104 Upson Hall for questions.

Question:  If I am taking courses towards certification of a Minor outside of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, can I use any of those Minor courses to also satisfy M.E. degree requirements?

Answer:  Consult the Engineering Handbook for eligibility and guidelines concerning Minors.  For Mechanical Engineering degree candidates, Minors can typically fulfill three M.E. degree requirements–one technical elective and two advisor approved electives.   Minors will be posted on official transcripts after an application has been submitted and completion has been certified by the offering Major.  Students pursuing a Minor in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, or Applied Math are required to submit an application for pre-approval of the selection of courses.

Question:  What is MAE 1900/4900?

Answer:  Students have the opportunity to work on independent research projects and team projects under MAE Faculty guidance. MAE 1900, Freshman and Non-Technical Projects in M.E., is an elective, intended for freshmen enrolling in independent research and for other students in non-technical roles on project teams (ex. business team). MAE 4900, Individual and Group Projects in Mechanical Engineering, is an elective, intended for sophomores, juniors and seniors doing research or working in technical roles on project teams. There are no mandatory requirements to take an MAE 4900 independent research project with a Faculty member or to be enrolled in an MAE 4900 project or team project to graduate. MAE 4900 may not satisfy Major Approved Elective I or II.

If a report is required by your research/project advisor, your MAE 4900 report should be submitted to your faculty project advisor at least 2 weeks before the end of the semester to allow time for grading and consideration for awards.

MAE 4900 electives may fulfill a technical elective or, with advisor’s consent, an advisor approved elective(s).

Project approval froms are required for enrollment in MAE 1900, 4250, 4291, and 4900. This form is an agreement between you and your project faculty advisor and is required for enrollment in these courses, each semester.

Project approval forms, with instructions may be found on the MAE Forms page.

Question:  How do I fulfill the M.E. Senior Design Requirement?

Answer:  MAE 4291, Supervised Senior Design Experience, satisfies the senior design requirement, as do several 4-credit approved senior design courses. Additional information can be found here.

The Design Elective requirement may only be satisfied as an M.E. senior. This elective may be fulfilled with a designated 4-credit approved MAE senior design elective course, e.g., MAE 4021, 4231, 4641, 4701, 4861, or by enrollment in MAE 4291 as an independent research project or project team endeavor, for a minimum of 3 credits. MAE 4291 may not satisfy a Major Approved Elective I or II.

A Senior Design Project Approval Form is required to be completed and submitted if you are enrolled in any MAE 4291.

MAE 4291 is research with a design report submitted to your project faculty advisor at the end of the term. A completed Design Report Content Summary Form and responses to the Senior Design Requirement questions must be completed as part of your senior design report and submitted to your design instructor. The signed Design Report Content Summary Form and your attached responses to the Senior Design Requirement questions must be submitted to 106 Rhodes Hall (your design instructor will maintain possession of your senior design report).

Question:  What are the procedural details for submitting my senior design report?

Answer:  Your senior design report, along with the Content Summary Form and your responses to the Design Requirement questions, should be submitted to your design instructor at least 2 weeks before the end of the semester to allow time for grading and consideration for awards. Consult Senior Design for where to submit paperwork.

Question:  When I attempt to enroll electronically for a team/independent research project or senior design section for MAE 1900/4900 or MAE 4291, I am unable to register. Does this mean those sections are full?

Answer:  Project Approval Forms are required for enrollment in MAE 1900, 4250, 4291, and 4900 (forms can be found on the MAE forms page or in 108 Upson Hall). These forms require the approval/signature of your research project/team advisor. Submit completed and signed forms to 108 Upson Hall to receive a permission code for online enrollment.

Question:  How do I find out what research projects are available?

Answer:  Many undergraduate independent research opportunities are listed here. Students may contact faculty directly about posted or possible new research opportunities. Enroll in MAE 1900, 4291, or 4900 to receive credit (1-3) for independent research (a project approval form will be required for enrollment-see previous questions regarding instructions for enrollment in independent research).

Most team projects hold information sessions in the beginning of the semester and are advertised via e-mail, posters, or in the Sundial, the College’s weekly electronic newsletter. Click here for information on current project teams.

Question:  What is the process for certification for the B.S. M.E. degree?

Answer:  Seniors are required to complete an audit.  A completed graduation checklist will be reviewed by the student and undergraduate coordinator in the student’s last to final semester and again in the student’s final semester. Graduation dates are January, May, and August.  Outstanding graduation-related paperwork is to be completed and submitted prior to graduation.  All forms can be found here. Transfer credits, petitions, and Advanced Placement, need to appear on transcripts for credit to be applied.

Question:  What is A.S.M.E.?

Answer:  The American Society for Mechanical Engineers (A.S.M.E.) is an active Cornell Chapter student-run body comprised of an executive board of M.E. students. M.E. students are encouraged to participate. Visit for more details.

Question:  Is Cornell’s Study Abroad Program available to M.E.’s ?

Answer:  Yes, students can take advantage of a range of opportunities through Cornell Abroad and you can study abroad for either one semester of for a full academic year. For additional information, go 167 Olin Hall.

Question:  What about Co-op?

Answer:  Engineering students typically go to their Co-op assignment in their first semester of their junior year. M.E. students have the opportunity to take MAE 3230, 3240, 3270, and 3260 during the Summer prior to their assignment. Click here for additional information about the Engineering Cooperative experience.

Question:  Can I take Co-op courses during the summer if I am not participating in the Cooperative program?

Answer:  Yes, any student may take any course offered in the Summer, providing the prerequisites have been met.

Question:  How can I get information about early admission into M.Eng. while still an undergraduate or admission into other graduate degree programs in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering?

Answer:  Please visit the Graduate Programs section of the Mechanical Engineering website for more information. Click here for requirements and instructions.

Question:  Who do we go to for letters of recommendation?

Answer:  See your advisor and/or a professor from one of your courses or research projects who knows you.

Question:  How do I determine my Major grade point average?

Answer:  You calculate your Major grade point average (gpa) by calculating all the courses taken at Cornell in the M.E. Field Program: Engrd 2020, Engrd 2210, TAM 2030, Mechatronics/Electrical Circuits (MAE 3780 or Engrd 2100 or Phys 3360), MAE 2120, MAE 2250, MAE 3230, MAE 3240, MAE 3250 (or 3270), MAE 3260, MAE 3272 (or 3280), MAE 4272, MAE 4300, Senior Design Elective, Math Elective (MAE 3100 or Engrd 2700 or CEE 3040, or Engrd 3200) – Technical Elective, and Major Approved Elective I and II. These courses reflect the B.S., M.E. Major Program Required and Major Approved Electives requirements.
For students participating in the Early M.Eng. Program:  Grades for students who are concurrently completing their final semester of the B.S., M.E. degree and completing their first semester of M.Eng. courses, will be included in their undergraduate degree gpa.

Question:  What are recent curriculum revisions for M.E. students?

Answer:  The addition of MAE 3270, first offered Su and Fa 2017 (replacing MAE 2120 and MAE 3250), and MAE 3280 (replacing MAE 3270), first offered Sp 2018.

Question:  Additional Information

Answer:  Consult the M&AE website for M&AE-Major requirements information.

Consult the College of Engineering Handbook for College administrative/policy information.

Questions or concerns?  Contact the M.E. Program Advisor,, in 106 RH.

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