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Engineering Units June 1, 2009

Posted by Hosoi in Guidelines & Requirements.
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In your 2-A curriculum you must have at least 69 engineering units beyond the required first and second level mechanical engineering subjects.  These units do not necessarily need to be part of your concentration although most students fulfill the engineering requirement by selecting engineering courses within their chosen tracks. Engineering courses that fit within your concentration may be counted BOTH towards the 72 units in the concentration AND towards the 69 engineering units.  

The rules of thumb (and remember there are always exceptions to rules of thumb!) in determining the number of engineering units for a particular course are:

  1. If the class is listed (or cross-listed) in course 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 16, 20, or 22, all of its units may be counted as engineering units. (Exceptions are listed below.)
  2. Engineering units of all other classes need to be assessed individually by the 2-A faculty coordinator.

At MIT there are clearly classes outside of the departments listed above that have a significant amount of engineering content.  Some common 2-A classes are listed below along with the typical number of engineering units we can approve. In ABET’s 2009/2010 Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs, “engineering topics” are described as:

“... consisting of engineering sciences and engineering design appropriate to the student’s field of study.  The engineering sciences have their roots in mathematics and basic sciences but carry knowledge further toward creative application.  These studies provide a bridge between mathematics and basic sciences on the one hand and engineering practice on the other.  Engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs.  It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and the engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet these stated needs.”

Thus, in order to count as engineering units a class must include both sufficient technical content AND “applications.”  For courses outside of engineering departments, the number of engineering units is typically less that the total number of units.  For example the introductory experimental biology course, 7.02 is an 18 unit course but generally only counts as 6 units of engineering.  It should be noted that many of the courses recommended for certain tracks count for zero engineering untis.  We encourage students to take theses courses provided the complete program contains at least 69 units of engineering beyond the required courses.

Typical engineering units for various common courses are listed below.  Note that these units counts should be viewed as guidelines rather than rules.  We evaluate each 2-A program individually to assess the total amount of engineering content as a whole:

For the most updated list of subjects and engineering content, please see the Engineering Units tab.

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