ME Design Group Connection

The Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Design Group (ME Design Group) is a set of faculty, researchers, lecturers, lab members, and staff whose work relates to engineering design. The ME Design Group’s webpage provides information on all associated personnel and research labs.

Design Impact Students will connect with the ME Design Group in several ways. Students in the Design Impact program will join students from Mechanical Engineering to take ME203: Design & Manufacturing, which is taught by ME Design Group faculty and staff. Design Impact students will also have the opportunity to apply to take other courses offered by the ME Design Group, such as mechatronics and manufacturing courses. Many ME Design Group courses and activities are located in the same spaces as Design Impact activities.

Incoming graduate students might be have trouble deciding whether it is best to apply to the MS Mechanical Engineering, with a depth area in Design, or to apply to the MS Design Impact program. Graduate students in the MS Mechanical Engineering program can elect to focus their studies on “Design” within Mechanical Engineering; this focus is called a “depth” area. The Design depth within ME consists of a set of courses taught by the ME Design Group faculty. Design Impact students will (likely) not take these ME design depth courses, but the courses share some core values with our program. Importantly, for the MS ME degree, the requirements outside of the depth area, called breadth, are in the ME department and the School of Engineering, see the MS ME course plan in the ME Graduate Handbook (please scroll down to the appropriate field designation in the PDF). In contrast, MS Design Impact electives will likely span the entire university’s offerings, selected to complement the student’s pursuit of a project in a particular theme area, and enhancing the skills needed to realize specific goals.

As explained above and elsewhere on this website, the two degrees have different course plans and produce different end results in terms of training. Investigate both programs, and visit if possible, to decide which is best for you. An MS ME degree is designed to give you Master-level training in Mechanical Engineering and position you for a successful career in an engineering-related field (although students take positions in a wide variety of fields). An MS Design Impact degree is designed to give you Master-level training in Design Thinking, and position you for a successful career in a particular impact-area.