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The mechanical engineering program provides students with an education in technological areas critical to the design and development of the devices, machines, processes and systems that are the mainstay of modern industrialized society. Barrett students majoring in Mechanical Engineering will have the opportunity to pursue advanced research in areas such as renewable energy, robotics, autonomous systems, super-insulating materials, and advanced manufacturing . Most upper-division MEE, courses are offered for honors credit through the honors contract. Students wishing to receive honors credit should confer with the course instructor at the beginning of the semester in order to develop a mutually acceptable plan for the honors contract activity. Most honors contracts involve either a project that extends the ideas and techniques covered in the course or outside research on topics relevant to the course work. Any Barrett student who is considering majoring in Mechanical Engineering should contact the lead FHA.
Philosophically, the honors thesis should represent a body of work performed independently by the student or a small team of students under the guidance of a mentor. The mentor will normally be a regular faculty member, but adjunct faculty, faculty associates or other qualified professionals may sit on the thesis committee. The program requires one reader in addition to the faculty mentor. The honors research must be work performed above and beyond the normal coursework required for the BSE degree. The senior capstone design project or other projects done as a normal part of a course are not eligible to be used as the honors research.
In general, students in Mechanical Engineering complete their research and thesis in the senior year as most research topics in the field require a level of knowledge and skill acquired in the first three years of the program. Students completing the honors thesis in Aerospace Engineering must take MAE 394 prior to enrolling in MAE 492/493.
Students should start looking for a research topic and thesis advisor during the first semester of the junior year, The activities in MAE 394 are designed to help students with identifying an appropriate topic and finding a mentor, so most students take MAE 394 in the fifth semester. During the sixth semester, students should, in consultation with the faculty advisor, prepare the research prospectus and identify a second reader. Though often students formally begin their honors research in either the sixth semester or over the summer between junior and senior years, most honors projects are completed during the final academic year.
Some courses in mechanical engineering have honors laboratory or recitation sections. In order to receive honors credit for these courses, students must register for the honors lecture section (which meets at the same time as the regular lecture section) and for the honors lab or recitation (which meets separately). Courses that currently have honors sections are: MAE 201, MAE 202, MAE 241,and MEE 322.