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Frequently Asked Questions

Advisor Assignments

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Advising Requirement

All students enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Department must undergo procedural advising every semester before being released to register for courses.

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Accreditation

The ME Department's B.Sc. and M.Eng. programs are individually accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that accredits college and university programs in the disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. ABET accredits programs, not departments. UofL ME is the only mechanical engineering department in the nation with programs accredited at both the baccalaureate level and masters level.

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Utility of the M.Eng. Degree

The entire Mechanical Engineering academic program is structured around the concept of an advanced professional degree, i.e., the M.Eng. degree. In return for the extra academic year, M.Eng. candidates receive the following benefits:

  • A masters-level technical degree; something that the vast majority of the nation's new engineering graduates are unable to claim. The extra degree generally translates into a higher starting salary and better career advancement opportunities.
  • Improved job opportunities. Historically, job placement rates for Speed School graduates have been considerably higher than national norms, and a primary reason for this performance is the availability of the M.Eng. degree.
  • Added maturity and experience through completion of the capstone research project or M.Eng. thesis. This work also provides an area of technical specialization and a chance to work closely with a faculty advisor on a long-term project.
  • Three semesters of additional academic preparation. This extra academic work equips graduates to better deal with the technical demands of their jobs.
  • If academically eligible for this program of study, holders of a Speed School Mechanical Engineering B.Sc. degree are strongly advised to pursue the M.Eng. degree.

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Difference between M.Eng. and M.Sc. Degrees

Master of Engineering Degree

  • Application and practice oriented
  • Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org
  • Relatively inflexible curriculum due to accreditation requirements
  • Includes both a thesis option and a non-thesis option
  • Thesis standards established by Speed Scientific School
  • Degree granted through Speed Scientific School

Master of Science Degree

  • Research oriented
  • Not accredited (nationally, no engineering M.Sc. degrees are accredited)
  • Flexible curriculum
  • Thesis is required
  • Thesis standards established by the University of Louisville Graduate School
  • Degree granted through the Graduate School

There is no difference in difficulty between the two programs; in fact most thesis-option M.Eng. programs of study satisfy M.Sc. requirements. Students holding an engineering B.Sc. from an institution other than the University of Louisville should generally choose the M.Sc. degree. Students holding the Mechanical Engineering B.Sc. from the University of Louisville should choose the M.Eng. degree.

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M.Eng. Non-Thesis Alternative

The non-thesis track of the M.Eng. program has been designed by the Mechanical Engineering faculty to be equivalent to the thesis track in terms of both quality and rigor. While the non-thesis track is more structured, it still requires a research project, complete with a faculty defense and final report equivalent to a thesis. Credit hour totals for both tracks are identical.

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Thesis Topics

Students may identify suitable thesis topics through a number of routes:

  • Each autumn semester the department holds a thesis topics seminar, where faculty outline and discuss potential projects with interested students. If interested in a topic, the student is responsible for approaching the faculty sponsor.
  • Faculty who have external funding for a research project often hire M.Eng. or M.Sc. students to work as graduate research assistants (GRA). The project work then forms the basis of a thesis. GRA openings are publicized by class announcements and flyers.
  • Students who have personal access to a research topic, a strong interest in a specific technical area, or simply a good idea may propose a project to a potential faculty advisor. The listing of faculty research interests in this handbook may be used for identifying candidates with appropriate backgrounds.

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Academic Difficulties

Students may experience academic difficulties in a course due to a number of causes, including

  • Miscommunication regarding a professor's expectations,
  • A course load or work schedule that makes it difficult to satisfy course requirements,
  • Inadequate preparation in course prerequisites.

In each case, the first course of action should be an early, frank discussion of the problem with the instructor, followed, if necessary, by a meeting with the assigned academic advisor.

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