Sep 30, 2020  
2013-2014 CU Denver Catalog 
2013-2014 CU Denver Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical Engineering

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Chair: Samuel W. J. Welch
Program Assistant: Catherine McCoy
Office: North Classroom, 3502
Telephone: 303-556-8516
Fax: 303-556-6371


Peter E. Jenkins, PhD, Purdue, MBA, Pepperdine, Professional Engineer, PE—Texas
J. Kenneth Ortega, PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder
Associate Professors:
Ronald A. L. Rorrer, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, PE—Colorado
L. Rafael Sanchez, PhD, Michigan Technological University, PE—Colorado
Mohsen Tadi, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Samuel W. J. Welch, PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder
Assistant Professors:
R. Dana Carpenter, PhD, Stanford University
Kannan N. Premnath, PhD, Purdue University
Christopher M. Yakacki, PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder
Assistant Professor (Clinical Teaching Track):    
Maryam Darbeheshti, PhD, University of Denver    
Senior Instructor:
Joseph F. Cullen Jr., MS, University of Colorado
Professor Emeritus:
James Gerdeen, PhD, Stanford University
Associate Professor Emeritus:
B. Thomas Arnberg, MS, University of Colorado

Mission Statement


The mission of the Department of Mechanical Engineering is to contribute to the economic development of the state of Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area by providing high-quality bachelor’s, master’s  (BS, MS and MEng) and PhD programs in mechanical engineering for a diverse group of working students.

Program Objectives

The programs offered by the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Colorado Denver can be completed in the afternoon and evening hours to accommodate both working and traditional students. The department seeks to graduate a diverse population of students with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, enabling them to:

  • be employed by a diverse group of industries, research laboratories and educational institutions
  • pursue careers in traditional engineering, interdisciplinary areas, research and education
  • pursue postgraduate education and advanced degrees



The mechanical engineer is concerned with satisfying the needs of society using a combination of material, human and economic resources. Mechanical engineering covers a wide spectrum of activities in the engineering profession. These activities include the conversion and transmission of energy and associated power processes; the kinematic, dynamic, strength and wear considerations, as well as economic aspects of the development, design and use of materials, machines and processes; and the analysis, synthesis and control of entire engineering systems.

The mechanical engineering curriculum begins with a strong emphasis on mathematics, physics and chemistry. It continues with a concentration in engineering sciences, including solid and fluid mechanics; thermodynamics, heat and mass transport; materials; and systems analysis and control. It concludes with laboratory and design courses that demonstrate the ways in which scientific knowledge is applied in the design and development of useful devices and manufacturing processes.

The mechanical engineering program may be roughly subdivided into two-year groupings. In the first two years, the program emphasizes the fundamentals of mathematics and basic science that are essential for an understanding of most branches of engineering. In the last two years of the program, the curriculum emphasizes engineering science and design and provides technical electives in the following areas:

  • thermodynamics
  • heat transfer
  • fluid mechanics
  • solid mechanics
  • power
  • bioengineering
  • dynamics and controls
  • computer-aided design and manufacturing
  • thermomechanical systems
  • composite materials

To be awarded the BS in mechanical engineering , a student must complete a minimum of 128 semester hours of course work, must satisfy all university graduation requirements and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in all mechanical engineering courses. All students are required to set up an appointment with the senior check-out advisor before registering for the last 30 hours of their degree program. The last 30 hours must be earned as a degree-seeking student in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Denver. 



The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers graduate courses, a master of science (MS)  degree program and a master of engineering (MEng)  program. In addition, the multidisciplinary engineering and applied science doctor of philosophy  degree is available through the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The areas of research interest in which a student may undertake studies at the Denver campus include manufacturing processes, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, bioengineering, energy thermodynamics and composite materials.

As a student in the MS or MEng program, you must meet with your graduate advisor before or during your first semester and design a sequence of elective courses that form a coherent program plan.

All applicants should apply online at:

Inquiries for graduate study in mechanical engineering should be addressed to:

CU Denver Department of Mechanical Engineering
Campus Box 112
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States should make application through the Office of International Admissions, Campus Box 185, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217- 3364. All applicants for admission must submit complete credentials as outlined in the instructions that accompany the application materials.

Concurrent Bachelor’s/Master’s Degrees

Students wishing to obtain a BS degree with a major in mechanical engineering and either the MS or the MEng degree in mechanical engineering may do so with up to 6 semester hours of 5000-level or above courses applying to both degrees. The 5000-level courses must meet the degree requirements for the graduate degree sought and must be suitable technical electives for the undergraduate degree. This option is open only for students seeking both degrees at CU Denver. Students must meet admission requirements to be accepted into the graduate program. Completion of two 5000-level courses does not guarantee admission into the graduate program. Please see an advisor for restrictions and guidelines.

Engineering and Applied Science PhD Program

The engineering and applied science doctor of philosophy program consists of studies in engineering and engineering-related disciplines.  It is a multidisciplinary program in keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of modern research.  The degree is conferred by the College of Engineering and Applied Science.  However, applicants to the degree program apply to and enter the program through one of four departments, called the host department, of the college.  The applicant chooses his/her host department based on his/her intended primary concentration of study.  The four departments of the college that serve as host departments are Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.  Each host department offers several concentrations.  The secondary concentration can be chosen from any remaining department of the college, including Bioengineering.  The secondary concentration may also be chosen from another college/school at CU Denver.  The course work in the primary and secondary areas must consist of ten courses (30 semester hours).  In addition to other courses, a student must take at least five courses in his/her primary area of concentration and at least three courses in a secondary area of concentration.  Other courses may be recommended by the student’s advisor.  Research that spans across two or more of the five college departments is strongly encouraged and is a major strength of the program.



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