Course Guide

Below, you’ll find our course guide, a visual guide to the many courses offered by the ME department. Remember that courses change semester by semester, and that there are lots of interesting offerings in the wider College of Engineering as well!

Prerequisites are denoted with solid  arrows, while corequisites and recommended courses are denoted with dashed arrows. Remember that although it is strongly recommended that you follow the official prerequisites, they are not strictly enforced, and you still will be able to sign up for and take any class on CalCentral that you wish!

Towards the base of the chart, you’ll find many of the mechanical engineering technical electives, grouped by subject! Check out the subject descriptions below to find out more about what each subject is!
About the lower division core: Lower division classes (numbered less than 100 on the course guide) are classes that are typically taken by the end of your sophomore year. They’ll provide an introduction to many of the concepts important to mechanical engineering. Click on each class below to learn more!

Elective + Subject Guide:

Below, you’ll find a description of the core subjects (and their associated electives) in mechanical engineering. Click on the subject, and the name of the elective you’re interested in to find a sample syllabus for the class.


Energy: The energy sciences are concerned with how we can store, transport, convert, and use energy efficiently. It deals with applications such as combustion engines and fire simulation. If you enjoyed classes such as ME40 and ME109, check out these classes!

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Fluids + Ocean

Fluids + Ocean: The science of fluid mechanics deals with the fundamental aspects of how fluids flow. Whether that be over airplane wings or over the surface of the planet, and whether it be studied experimentally or computationally, fluids covers a wide range of topics. Ocean engineering, which deals with the study of systems that operate coastally or offshore, holds many similar fundamental concepts. If you enjoyed ME106, be sure to check these classes out!

  • ME 163: Engineering Aerodynamics
  • ME 165: Ocean Environment Mechanics
  • ME 185: Introduction to Continuum Mechanics
  • ME 168: Mechanics of Offshore Systems
  • ME C180: Engineering Analysis Using the Finite Element Method
  • E 117: Methods of Engineering Analysis

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Dynamics: Dynamics, at its heart, is the study of motion! In mechanical engineering, we study dynamics to analyze and discover new things about how things such as robots, rockets, cars, and more, interact with their physical environment! Through exploring topics such as vibrations (ME133) and Lagrange’s equations of motion (ME175), you’ll gain both a strong set of engineering problem-solving skills as well as a great intuition of how mathematical constructs like differential equations and linear algebra translate to real-world problems. If you enjoyed MEC85 or ME104, these are great classes to consider taking.

  • ME 133: Mechanical Vibrations
  • ME 170: Engineering Mechanics III
  • ME 174: Nonlinear and Random Vibrations
  • ME 175: Intermediate Dynamics

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Mechanics + Materials

Mechanics + Materials: Mechanics is the study of how materials and continuua deform under different loads. Through more theoretical classes such as continuum mechanics, where you’ll take a modern approach to the study of solid mechanics, to classes like ME C180, where you solve mechanics problems numerically, this is a very broad and interesting field. Similar to mechanics is the field of materials, which focuses on developing high performance materials for applications such as spacecraft and high-speed machinery. If you found MEC85, ME104, or ME108 interesting, you’ll get a lot out of these classes.

  • ME C117: Structural Aspects of Biomaterials
  • ME 127: Introduction to Composite Materials
  • ME C176: Orthopedic Biomechanics
  • ME C180: Engineering Analysis Using the Finite Element Method
  • ME 185: Introduction to Continuum Mechanics

Outside of MechE: Exploring courses in the Materials Science department might also be interesting if you enjoyed the above courses.

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Controls + Robotics + Mechatronics

Controls + Robotics + Mechatronics: If you’re interested in robotics and electronics, and their intersection with mechanical systems, controls is a great field to explore. Control theory features both practical and mathematical depth in its coursework, and lets students explore concepts such as robot manipulation, self driving cars, and unmanned aerial vehicles. If these sound interesting to you, and you enjoyed E7, E78, ME 100, ME 104 or ME 132, check out the controls courses offered by the department!

  • ME C106A
  • ME C106B
  • ME 131: Vehicle Dynamics & Control
  • ME C134: Feedback Control Systems
  • ME 135: Design of Microprocessor-Based Mechanical Systems
  • ME 136: Introduction to Control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • ME 139: Robotic Locomotion
  • ME 193B: Feedback Control of Legged Robots (Special topics in controls)
  • E 177: Advanced Programming with MATLAB

Outside of MechE: EECS 126 (Random Processes), 127 (Optimization), and CS 188 (Intro to AI)  might be of interest to those pursuing controls or robotics!

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MEMS/Nano: Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoengineering are two exciting fields of mechanical engineering. Addressing mechanical engineering problems at the micro and nano scales, these interdisciplinary fields have applications in a range of technologies such as medical, electronics, and microfabrication.

  • ME 118: Introduction to Nanotechnology and Nanoscience
  • ME 119: Introduction to MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems)

Outside of MechE: Physics 7C and Chemistry 1B might be of interest if you’re looking for an additional scientific background (see ME 118 syllabus for details).

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Manufacturing: Manufacturing focuses on the processes behind producing the physical devices we see all around us. This field is host to a broad range of engineering skillsets, having significant computer modeling as well as practical components. If you found classes such as E78, E29, C85, or 108 interesting, take a look at the manufacturing courses!

  • ME 101: Introduction to Lean Manufacturing Systems
  • ME 122: Processing of Materials in Manufacturing

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Design: The field of design is at the core of what it means to be a mechanical engineer. It addresses challenges in developing mechanisms, models, and machinery through the lens of dynamics, solid mechanics, materials, and more. Here, you’ll take on problems in the design, automation, manufacturing, and testing of complex mechanical systems. If you enjoyed E26, E29, and ME 104 you’ll find this field to be interesting!

  • E 128: Advanced Engineering Design Graphics
  • ME 110: Introduction to Product Development
  • ME 130: Design of Planar Machinery
  • ME 135: Design of Microprocessor-Based Mechanical Systems
  • ME C178: Designing for the Human Body
  • ME 179: Augmenting Human Dexterity

Outside of MechE: If you’re looking for hands on, non-technical design and fabrication courses, check out the Design Innovation department!

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Biomechanics: Biomechanics applies mechanical engineering techniques to biological systems. In biomechanics, you’ll be able to learn about things such as the dynamics of the human body and its cells as well as how prosthetics are designed. If you found MEC85 and ME104 interesting, or have an interest in biology, these classes may be of interest!

Outside of MechE: Courses in the Bioengineering department might also be of interest to you if you’ve enjoyed the above courses!

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Simulation: Simulation is a rapidly expanding field within mechanical engineering. It deals with how we can use computers to model and understand complex physical systems. For example, you’ll apply tools such as machine learning to understand how structures may be optimized for mass and rigidity. In particular, if you enjoyed classes such as E7, E78, ME C85, ME 104, and ME 106, you’ll get a lot out of these classes!

  • ME C180: Engineering Analysis Using the Finite Element Method
  • E 150: Basic Modeling and Simulation Tools for Industrial Research Applications
  • E 177: Advanced Programming with MATLAB

Outside of MechE: Courses such as Math 128A, Math 128B (Numerical Analysis I and II) and EECS 127 (Optimization) can be useful for this field.

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