Degree Planning

Mechanical Engineering (M E) Curriculum


Flowcharts are provided as a visual example for how the 129-credit Mechanical Engineering (M E) curriculum can be sequenced. Students’ plans will vary greatly depending on their initial placement in math and science courses, transfer/AP credits, and semester work load (credit) comfort.

General Education Requirements

Mechanical Engineering students are required to take 15 credits in the humanities and social sciences for a well-rounded undergraduate education. General education courses (“gen eds”) help students develop communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills that are important to employers. See this document for full details on general education requirements and for which courses are approved:

Technical Electives

Technical electives (“tech electives”) allow students to tailor their Mechanical Engineering degree to their personal academic and career interests. Technical electives are generally 300+ level STEM or business courses and 15 credits of technical electives are required. See this document for full details on technical elective requirements and for which courses are approved:

Undergraduate Handbook

The Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Handbook contains details for students, staff, and faculty on departmental structure, policies, procedures, and degree requirements.

Independent Study (M E 490)

For flowcharts and detailed instructions how to submit a proposal for an Independent Study research project, please review the Undergraduate Independent Study – 490 website. The forms and approval process differ according to whether your research is done with a Mechanical Engineering faculty member (i.e., M E 490) or a faculty member in a different department (e.g., C E 490). No more than 6 credits of Independent Study (490) courses may count towards tech elective credit.


    • Catalog – comprehensive guide to all courses, degree programs, and policies at Iowa State
    • Schedule of Classes – up-to-date list of course offerings for current and upcoming semesters
    • Course Equivalency Guides – comprehensive conversion tables for course offerings at Midwestern community colleges
    • TRANSIT – transfer course translator
    • GPA Calculator –calculator to help determine cumulative, term, and/or course group (e.g., Basic Program, Foundations) grade point average (GPA)
    • Program of Study Template – modifiable template to help students map out their curricular plan
    • M E Academic Grievance Process – flowchart explaining process for filing a formal grievance about an ME course’s structure or grading
    • M E Academic Grievance Form – form for filing a formal grievance about an ME course’s structure or grading