University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Honors Program

The Department of Mechanical Engineering Honors Program is a part of, and articulated with the University Honors Program (UHP). The Department of Mechanical Engineering Faculty Honors Representative provides discipline-specific advice about fulfilling the requirements for graduation with Latin honors to students majoring in mechanical engineering.

Upper Division ME Honors

The following brief listing of some honors program requirements is intended to describe only some particular Department of Mechanical Engineering aspects of the general requirements.

After admission to the Department, honors students should meet with the Department faculty honors representative to discuss requirements, to plan a program, to get questions answered and to become active in the Department.

The general University Honors Program requirements are
Junior Year - 3 honors experiences

1 UHP-approved course
2 additional honors experiences (UHP-approved course work or non-course experiences)

Senior Year - 3 honors experiences
Honors Thesis

1 UHP-approved course
1 additional honors experience (UHP-approved coursework or non-course experiences)

UHP-approved Honors Course: H or V designated courses qualify as do all 8xxx level (graduate level) courses. The Department offers a large number and variety of 5xxx numbered courses that typically include undergraduate and graduate students. In these courses the instructor may be willing to provide extra opportunities so that the course qualifies as an honors experience. Usually the honors experience part of the course is a project in addition to the normal coursework.

In some cases it may be possible to obtain UHP and ME department approval for a required course to serve as an honors course during the junior year. In such a situation additional course work is performed that must be significant and qualitatively different than the course work of non-honors students.

In all cases involving additional effort for a course to gain honors course status the work to be done and the results expected must be formally agreed to by the honors student and the instructor. An Honors Contract form must be completed at the start of the course. At the completion of the course a description of the honors experience and results produced must be submitted to both the University Honors Program and the ME honors faculty representative.

Non-course honors experiences: Non-course honors experiences can take many forms and can be carried out inside or outside the University. Examples of non-course activities are study abroad, community involvement and service, internships, special learning experiences such as tutoring and large scale student projects. The general requirement is that these experiences be evaluated and documented by the student as providing an honors experience. Leadership in student activities can serve as a non-course honors experience. An example is holding a student organization office, in contrast to being a member of the organization. Undergraduate research in addition to the Honors Thesis research can also qualify as a non-coursework honors experience. In all cases of non-course honors experiences the proposed experience must be pre-vetted by a UHP advisor before starting the activity. A report describing the activity and the results of it is required on completion of the experience, the Honors Experience Form serves this function.

Honors Thesis: The Honors Thesis provides the student the opportunity to work alongside one or more faculty members, and usually graduate students, on a research project. The project should be both creative and scholarly. The work will be guided by the faculty research adviser.

The Department-specific planning aspects of the Honors Thesis involve exploring possible research areas, discussing possible research topics with faculty, selecting a research project, obtaining faculty commitment to act as the adviser and identifying readers of the thesis. This process should start with contacting the faculty honors representative - at the latest - early in the junior year. The thesis research process itself starts with writing a thesis proposal and then submitting the Honors Thesis Proposal Form.

Usually the Honors Thesis work will extend over two semesters in the senior year with the student registering for ME 4081 the first semester (2 cr) and ME 4082 during the second semester (2 cr). The credits earned in these courses may be applied to the Departmental technical elective program as "Special Topics" credits. Starting the thesis research in the second semester of the junior year is recommended. Students are encouraged to form contacts with potential faculty advisors late in the sophomore or early in the junior year. (Note: ME4090 Advanced Engineering Problems can be taken as a technical elective and a Department policy is that no more than four credits are allowed forME5090 and ME4082H.)

A formal written thesis must be submitted and research results presented orally by the student during the final undergraduate semester.

Use of Honors Thesis Work for ME Technical Elective Credit

Mechanical Engineering Department Technical Elective Requirements: The general requirements for the technical elective program of study are

15 credits of Technical Elective courses
At least 8 credits of Mechanical Engineering course work

Use of Honors course work, ME4081H, 4082H, for technical elective credit: Since it is possible to perform honors thesis work in a ME4090, Advanced Engineering Problems course, and since ME Department policy is that no more than two credits of honors thesis work can be used to meet technical elective requirements, the following policy is in place

ME4090, Advanced Engineering Problems (directed independent study) can be used for at most 4 credits of the technical elective program

No more than two credits of honors thesis work can be used to meet technical elective requirements – whether the thesis work is in ME4082H or ME4090

Faculty Honors Representative
Professor Barney Klamecki
325B Mechanical Engineering

Record Keeping
The University Honors Programs tracks and maintains records of Honors activities based on receipt of individual honors experience forms. The Department of Mechanical Engineering is involved in completing some of these forms through the honors faculty representative and/or faculty supervising the experience. Typically the Department provides content to:

Latin Honors Planning Form
Honors Contract
Honors Experience Approval
Petition for 5xxx-Level Course Exception
Honors Thesis Proposal Form
Honors Thesis Completion Form