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Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Holmes 302
2540 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7167
Fax: (808) 956-2373

EMail: meoffice@eng.hawaii.edu
Web: www.me.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*M. N. M. Ghasemi Nejhad, PhD (Chair)—nanotechnology, composites, renewable energy, smart structures
*J. S. Allen, PhD—acoustics, multiphase fluid dynamics, micro-biomechanics
*D. M. Azimov, PhD, DSc—guidance and control, autonomous space systems, space flight dynamics, optimal control
*P. J. Berkelman, PhD—haptic interfaces, surgical robotics, magnetic levitation
*B. S. Bingham, PhD—controls, dynamics, robotics, autonomous systems
*B. H. Chao, PhD—combustion, perturbation methods
*R. Ghorbani, PhD—renewable energy, dynamics, controls, design
*L. H. Hihara, PhD—corrosion materials, mechanical behavior of materials
*M. Kobayashi, PhD—computational fluid dynamics, aeroacoustics, dynamical systems, topology optimization
*J. Li, PhD—light weight materials, material, processing, manufacturing
*B. Liebert, PhD—materials science, corrosion, failure analysis
*S. F. Miller, PhD—manufacturing, design of medical devices, tribology
*W. Qu, PhD—boiling and two-phase flow, microscale thermofluid transport phenomena
*A. Z. Trimble, PhD—renewable energy, industrial automation, precision engineering
*Y. Zuo, PhD—colloids and surfaces, lung surfactants, AFM, biomedical applications

Adjunct Faculty

*J. Yuh, PhD—control, robotics, design

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

M. J. Antal Jr., PhD—alternate energy, combustion
C. M. Kinoshita, PhD—combustion, energy systems, thermochemical systems
B. Y. Liaw, PhD—materials, energy conversion, solid-state ionics
S. M. Masutani, PhD—combustion, turbulent transport phenomena, energy systems
R. Rocheleau, PhD—thin film ceramic materials
S. Q. Turn, PhD—thermo chemical energy conversion, fuels processing, energy systems

Degrees Offered: BS in mechanical engineering, MS in mechanical engineering, PhD in mechanical engineering

Mission Statement

To prepare graduates for successful engineering and professional careers and leadership roles with lifelong learning and ethical conduct that will lead them to be engaged good citizens, engineers, and professionals in their community and the world.


  • Our graduates will be accomplished professionals by being able to formulate, communicate, and solve problems using engineering principles, methodologies, and modern tools;
  • Our graduates will be professionals and leaders in industry, national laboratories, academia, and society by employing engineering fundamentals, design skills, thinking creatively, communicating effectively, working collaboratively, and implementing emerging and innovative technologies;
  • Our graduates will be professionals and leaders who accept and practice their professional and ethical responsibilities, respect diversity of opinion and culture, and have a proper understanding and consideration for a healthy and aesthetic environment.

The Academic Program

Mechanical engineering (ME) is concerned with the design of all types of machines, conversion of energy from one form to another, instrumentation and control of all types of physical and chemical processes, the manufacturing and utilization of engineering materials, and control of human and machine environments. Mechanical engineers conceive, plan, design, and direct the manufacture, distribution, and operation of a wide variety of devices, machines, instruments, materials, and systems used for energy conversion, heat and mass transfer, biomedical applications, environmental control, control of human and machine environment, physical and chemical process control, materials processing, transportation, manufacture of consumer products, materials handling, and measurements. Mechanical engineers also employ Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Computer Aided Testing (CAT), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), computer modeling and simulations, novel materials, robotics, and mechatronics (integration of computers with electromechanical systems) in their day-to-day activities. Mechanical engineers find opportunities for employment in every branch of industry and in a variety of government agencies. Work may involve research, development, design, analysis, manufacture, testing, marketing, or management.

Undergraduate Study


  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  • An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • An ability to communicate effectively
  • The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  • A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • A knowledge of contemporary issues
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Professional Components

  • A culminating design experience that integrates knowledge and skills acquired throughout the curriculum
  • The application of engineering standards and realistic constraints, including consideration of economics, environmental sustainability, manufacturability, ethics, health, safety, society, and politics

Bachelor’s Degree

The BS degree requires completion of at least 124 credit hours of course work. The curriculum consists of a group of required courses chosen to provide students with the basic tools for the professional practice of mechanical engineering and to assist students in developing a sense of responsibility as professionals. The objectives of the lower division curriculum are to build a foundation in the basic sciences and mathematics, provide an introduction to engineering design and professional ethics, develop communications and computer programming skills, and acquire an appreciation for the humanities and social sciences. The objectives of the upper division program are to provide a sound foundation in the engineering sciences; build on that foundation for applications in the areas of energy conversion, mechanical systems and control, experimentation, and manufacturing; and encourage creativity culminating in a capstone design experience. To provide sufficient flexibility, technical elective courses enable students to acquire additional competence in areas compatible with their career objectives.

All electives are subject to the approval of an advisor.

College Requirements

Students must complete the College Requirement courses for engineering (see “Undergraduate Programs” within the College of Engineering).

Departmental Requirements

Students must complete the following cours ework:

  • ME 213 Introduction to Engineering Design (3)
  • CEE 270 Applied Mechanics I (3)
  • CEE 271 or ME 271 Applied Mechanics II (3)
  • MATH 190 Introduction to Programming (1) or EE 160 Programming for Engineers (4)
  • MATH 302 Introduction to Differential Equations I (3) or MATH 307 Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (3)
  • EE 211 Basic Circuit Analysis I (4)
  • ME 311 Thermodynamics (4)
  • ME 312 Applied Thermodynamics (3)
  • ME 322 Mechanics of Fluids (3)
  • ME 331 Materials Science and Engineering (3)
  • ME 341/342 Manufacturing Processes/Lab (3/2)
  • ME 360 Computer Methods in Engineering (3) or MATH 407 Numerical Analysis (3) or PHYS 305 Computational Physics (3)
  • ME 371 Mechanics of Solids (3) or CEE 370 Mechanics of Materials (3)
  • ME 372 Component Design (3)
  • ME 374 Kinematics/Dynamics Machinery (3)
  • ME 375 Dynamics of Machines and Systems (3)
  • ME 402 Dynamics Systems Laboratory (2)
  • ME 422 Heat Transfer (3)
  • ME 480 Thermofluid Measurements and Design (3)
  • ME 481 Design Project I (3)
  • ME 482 Design Project II (3)
  • Technical electives (9): Three courses that can be selected from ME 400-level technical electives (3), one that can be replaced with a non-ME course (3) (with approval from chair), or PHYS 274 or BIOL 171 without approval; and a second that can be replaced with an ME 600-level course (3) (3.0 GPA minimum and approval from chair) or ME 499 (3)

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.

Graduate Study


  • Demonstrate mastery of the methodology and techniques specific to the field of study.
  • Communicate both orally and in writing at a high level of proficiency in the field of study.
  • Conduct research or produce some other form of creative work.
  • Perform in their field of study at a professional level

The department offers graduate programs leading to MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering, with areas of concentration in thermal and fluid sciences conversion (heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, combustion, thermal environmental engineering, biotechnology), in materials/manufacturing (nano, composite and smart materials, mechanical properties, failure analysis, electrochemistry and corrosion, processing, marine materials), and in mechanics design, systems, and controls (robotics, structures, dynamics, control, continuum mechanics, renewable energy, autonomous systems, biomedical). For qualified graduate students, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and scholarships are available.

Master’s Degree

Applicants for admission to the MS program must have completed a BS degree in engineering or its equivalent from a reputable institution.


Students are required to follow the Plan A (thesis) program. However, under special circumstances, a petition to follow Plan B (non-thesis) may be granted by the graduate faculty. A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for graduation, including 1 credit hour for seminar. Plan A students must take 8 credit hours for thesis, 12 credit hours in the ME 600 course series, and 9 credit hours in technical electives. Technical elective courses must be at the 400 level or above, selected from engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences approved by the student's thesis committee.

For graduation, each candidate must present an acceptable thesis (research report for Plan B) and must pass a final oral examination based on the thesis for Plan A or on the course work and the research report for Plan B.

Doctoral Degree

Applicants for admission to the PhD program must have completed the requirements for the MS in engineering, science, or related areas from a reputable institution. A direct PhD degree option is also available for applicants with a BS degree in engineering, science, or related areas.


Intended candidates for the PhD are required to pass an oral qualifying examination within the prescribed period of time, by taking 4 credits of ME 699. The purpose of the qualifying examination is to judge students' ability to pursue research. After passing the qualifying examination, the student will be admitted to the status of candidate in the PhD program. At the discretion of the qualifying examination committee, students who fail the qualifying examination will be dropped from the program.

Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 50 credit hours in course work beyond the BS level. They are required to select a major within the following three areas of concentration: materials/manufacturing, mechanics/design/systems/controls, or thermal/fluid sciences.

Students who enter the program with a MS degree may, with the approval of the graduate chair, be credited with up to 30 credits for equivalent work to be counted toward their PhD-credit-hour requirement. Up to 8 of these 30 credit hours may be assigned for prior MS thesis work. Students who possess a second MS degree may be credited with up to 9 additional credit hours for equivalent work. Up to 9 credit hours may be assigned for course work taken as an unclassified graduate student. All courses shall be selected by students but must be approved in writing by their committees. These courses must form an integrated education plan. A minimum of 2 credit hours in ME 691 or its equivalent must be included in every PhD program.

Students who desire teaching experience may, with the approval of the PhD committee chair, request that the department chair assign them teaching responsibility for a particular undergraduate course. The department chair will determine whether students are qualified to teach the course in question, and, if they are deemed qualified, they may be given the teaching assignment. Students who teach a course or courses will be assigned a maximum of 3 credit hours toward their PhD course work requirements.

For direct PhD students with a BS degree, instead of 8 thesis credits, 4 credits should be taken as ME 799 (Directed Instruction) and the other 4 credits should be taken as ME 699 while taking the comprehensive examination.

Comprehensive Examination

PhD candidates must pass an oral comprehensive examination to demonstrate their comprehension of the chosen areas of study relevant to their dissertation proposals and basic knowledge of courses taken at graduate level. Students who fail the comprehensive examination may, at the discretion of the graduate faculty concerned, repeat it once after at least six months. Students who fail the examination a second time will be dropped from the program.

Final Examination

Students are required to complete a satisfactory doctoral dissertation and to pass an oral final examination based primarily upon the dissertation. The final examination will be administered by the respective PhD committee. A student passes the final examination upon the favorable recommendation of a majority of the PhD committee.

ME Courses