MechSE Advising Manual
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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's academic calendar is controlled by the Office of the Registrar and contains important information regarding registration periods and official academic dates, including the deadlines for adding and dropping classes. To access the full academic calendar visit: https://registrar.illinois.edu/academic-calendars/
The University of Illinois has a very liberal policy on course drops. Students may freely drop any unrestricted course up to mid-term as long as they remain full time. However, there are courses restricted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Grainger College of Engineering and by the MechSE Department which can only be freely dropped up to the tenth day of class.
Therefore, there are TWO late drop deadlines for regular semester courses:
- Mid-term of the semester is the Drop Deadline for UNRESTRICTED courses
- The TENTH day of classes is the Drop Deadline for RESTRICTED courses.
Note that half-semester courses will have different deadlines to reflect their reduced length. The FIFTH day of the class for the course is the deadline for add or free drop.
Students may modify their schedules independently on using the Enterprise/Self-Service system during the first ten days of the semester. After the first ten days of instruction, undergraduate students must go to The Grainger College of Engineering web portal to request any type of schedule change, including adding, dropping, changing sections, or changing credit hours for a course. For information regarding the procedure for dropping a course please visit the following: https://advising.grainger.illinois.edu/course-registration.
All schedule change requests that are restricted, such as dropping a required course or adding a course late, will require approval—the Add-Drop Portal will prepare a form with instructions for the type of approval needed. Schedule changes that are not restricted will be automatically processed within a few days of the date the requested change was made. Hand written changes to the form are not accepted by the college. A student must obtain MechSE approval to drop an ME or TAM course listed by number on the curriculum flow sheet after the first ten days of instruction. Only one such drop is permitted during the student’s undergraduate program.
Undergraduate students must have approval from the MechSE Department and a Grainger College of Engineering Assistant Dean to do either of the following: (i) drop below 12 credit hours, or (ii) register for more than 18 credit hours. Please see the Underload and Overload sections for more information on (i) and (ii), respectively.
A student must obtain MechSE approval to drop a MechSE department restricted course (a ME or TAM course listed by number on the curriculum flowsheet) after the first ten days of instruction. Only one such drop is permitted during the student’s undergraduate program.
Students may only withdraw from a course with proof of extenuating circumstances beyond their control that have severely affected their academic performance. For more information on withdrawing from courses visit:
No credit is given for auditing a course. Auditing courses is typically only done by graduate students. For more information, please visit:
All students must complete either three years of a single foreign language in high school or a third semester of a language at the college level—for example, SPAN 103 or GER 103. International students whose native language is not English may petition to take a proficiency exam in their native language to satisfy this requirement.
Students who have not already met the foreign language requirement should be directed to 206 Engineering Hall for assistance.
Information about the Campus Honors Program can be viewed at
The Counseling Center is committed to providing a range of services intended to help students develop improved coping skills in order to address emotional, interpersonal, and academic concerns. The Counseling Center provides individual, couples, and group counseling. All of these services are paid for through the health services fee. The Counseling Center offers primarily short-term counseling, but we do provide referrals to the community when students could benefit from longer term services.
A counselor from the Counseling Center is also available for consultations in Engineering Hall. Students will have the opportunity to meet with a counselor to talk about issues that may be affecting their academic, social or emotional functioning, such as procrastination, depression, relationships and anxiety. To schedule an appointment, stop by 206 Engineering Hall or call 217-333-2280.
The only courses that engineering students may take CR/NC and apply towards a degree are the Free Electives, the Liberal Education (not required Social Science or Humanities & Arts General Education) electives, and approved study abroad courses. In ME, the required Economics course must be taken for a grade. The CR/NC option, if allowed, also requires:
- that the student be on clear status (not probation), and
- that the student elect the CR/NC option on or before the last day to drop a course.
- A full-time student may take a maximum of two courses each semester CR/NC. A part-time student may take one course each semester CR/NC. During the summer session, a student may take only one course CR/NC.
- To remain eligible for the Dean’s List, students must be registered for at least 14 hours of graded course work.
Students who wish to take a course CR/NC need to fill out the appropriate form by the posted academic deadline in the academic calendar, available in 152 CAB, obtain the approval of the MechSE Academic Advisor, and take the form to 206 Engineering Hall. Complete regulations governing the CR/NC grading option are found in the Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students: https://studentcode.illinois.edu/article3/part1/3-105/.
Students may petition that an alternate course fulfill the requirement of a required course in their curriculum by requesting a Curriculum Modification in the MechSE Undergraduate Programs Office, 152 CAB, or emailing email@example.com. Students are required to provide the name of the required curricular course, their proposed course substitution, and reason for request which might require submission of the course syllabus for the examination of content similarity.
The Emergency Dean provides information and follow-up services to students and families in an emergency situation. Also, the Emergency Dean acts as a resource to community and University law enforcement agencies, hospitals and crisis centers.
The Emergency Dean can send a letter for extended absences due to an illness, accident or family crisis. However, the faculty has authority and responsibility for excusing students from class, accepting late assignments and giving make-up tests.
- Kinesiology: A maximum of 3 hours of basic kinesiology courses (skill courses)
- Religious foundations: A maximum of 4 hours
- Remedial courses: No credit—for example, math courses below Math 220 (Math 012, 014, 016, etc.); CHEM 101; PHYS 100
- Duplicate courses: No credit—for example, for MATH 225 if MATH 415 is taken
- Military science courses: No restriction
- Foreign language: only if a language placement examination has been taken and the college hours used do not duplicate more than the last two years of high school work. Credit earned in the student’s native language is not allowed.
For additional information on free electives see the following link:
The Grainger College of Engineering requires all students to complete 18 hours of Liberal Education Electives. Of the 18 hours, 6 hours of humanities and the arts and 6 hours of social and behavioral science are required. At least one Western cultures course and one non-Western cultures course must be completed. Also, Mechanical Engineering students (only) are required to take ECON 102 or ECON 103.
By judicious selection, courses can be picked that satisfy multiple requirements. For example, ENGL 208 (3 hours) and ENGL 285 (3 hours) meet: (i) the campus General Education requirement of 6 hours of humanities and arts; and (ii) the campus cultural studies requirement of one Western cultures course (ENGL 208) and one non-Western cultures course (ENGL 285).
All undergraduate students on campus can repeat courses and use the new grade to replace the grade earned in the first attempt. The policy places some limits on the course and hours that can be replaced. Grade replacement may be requested for up to four distinct courses, totaling no more than 10 credit hours.
You can find more information regarding grade replacement at the following links:
The Grainger College of Engineering guidelines: https://advising.grainger.illinois.edu/course-registration/grade-replacement
Taking graduate courses for graduate credit
Undergraduate students may take graduate courses for graduate credit if they are within 14 hours of graduation and have at least a 3.0 GPA. If a student meets these qualifications, then the student must receive written permission from the course instructor and the head of the department offering the course. Once this is done, the student must receive a level override from the Undergraduate Programs Office, 154 MEB. This process must be completed before the tenth day of classes.
Early admission to University of Illinois graduate school
Students may apply for early admission to the Graduate College at Illinois if they are within 5 hours of graduation and have at least a 3.0 GPA. To do this, they must complete the Petition for Early Admission to the Graduate College in addition to the usual graduate application for admission required of all prospective graduate students. Students should be directed to the MechSE Graduate Admissions Office, 155 CAB, for assistance.
Students intending to graduate must declare their intent to graduate with The Grainger College of Engineering. This is normally done at the same time you register for your final semester of classes through the student registration system. If you do not complete this step, your name will not appear on the pending degree list, you will not receive information regarding the Graduation Convocation Ceremony, and the date of your degree award and diploma will be delayed. See the following link for more information: https://grainger.illinois.edu/graduation/
Students may be awarded with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors at graduation for excellent academic performance and service to the department.
- Honors: Students receive the designation Honors if they have a cumulative Illinois grade-point average of at least 3.5 at graduation.
- High Honors: Students receive the designation High Honors if they have at least a 3.8 Illinois grade-point average at graduation.
- Highest Honors: Students receive the designation Highest Honors if they meet the High Honors grade-point average requirement and have shown a continual commitment to service and education. Many students who receive Highest Honors are active in undergraduate research and MechSE-sponsored RSOs.
Freshman James Scholars
Upperclass James Scholars
The Innoventor Trophy Competition is a phased competition, designed to let students pursue an original idea that has significant mechanical engineering content, addresses a societal need and has potential for commercialization. Selected projects satisfy the ME 470 Senior Design requirement and are supplemented with a project budget. The final winning team receives an additional cash award with the ultimate goal being to form a startup company or commercialize the idea in some other manner, such as licensing or selling it to another company. For additional information, students can stop by 154 MEB or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage students to pursue the following activities as they give students an opportunity to synthesize and practice what they have learned in the classroom in the real world and help students obtain full time employment:
- Internships (work with a company over the summer or a semester)
- Co-ops (work with a company for two or more semesters)
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT- option for domestic and international students to obtain work experience and course credit)
- This also provides students the opportunity to explore employment options before graduation. Students should contact/register with Engineering Career Services (ECS) to pursue these opportunities: http://students.grainger.illinois.edu/ecs/home/
Typically for coops and internships you should work with ECS and register for a course, depending on your Program of choice (see table below)
|No need for enrollment
|ENG 310 (0 hours)
|Fall or Spring internship
|ENG 310 (0 hours)3
|ENG 310 (0 hours)
1 Students can also choose to enroll in ENG 451 (2 hours) during the Summer, which is a course offered online.
2 For more information regarding the CPT process, please refer to the ISSS website at: http://www.isss.illinois.edu/students/employment/f1cpt.html
3 Domestic students are not required to register for ENG 310 during Fall or Spring semesters. However, in order to maintain full-time student status with the University of Illinois for the purposes of deferring loan repayment, maintaining insurance discounts, retaining time ticket for class registration for the returning semester, and access to EWS, students are strongly encouraged to sign up for ENG 310. Students that are planning to not register in ENG 310 need to contact The Grainger College of Engineering (217-333-2280 or <email@example.com>) and apply for re-entry in the following semester.
The Grainger College of Engineering (217-333-2280 <firstname.lastname@example.org>) needs to be informed of your plans if an internship/coop is during the fall or spring semester and you are not registered for one of the courses above. Otherwise, it will be assumed that you have chosen to stop attending classes, and you would have to petition to reenter the University of Illinois. Note that international students do not have the option of working without enrolling in a course.
In addition, attending employment fairs on campus held in the spring and the fall semesters are good opportunities for students connect with companies to pursue these opportunities. ECS can provide the dates of these employment fairs.
The honors program in Engineering is part of the Illinois James Scholar program established to recognize and encourage the talents of academically outstanding students. Students in the program are expected to perform at a superior level throughout their undergraduate careers: students applying to become a James Scholar starting in Fall 2015 are expected to maintain a 3.5 GPA. Students already enrolled in the James Scholar program prior to Fall 2015 are expected to maintain a 3.3 GPA, according to the previous agreement. They must also take one course for “Honors” per academic year. Detailed James Scholar information and requirements can be viewed at:
Applications for admission are available at the front desk in 206 Engineering Hall and will be accepted during the first two weeks of any Fall or Spring semester. Students can also apply at the James Scholar portal:
Freshman James Scholars
At least one honors activity is required during the freshman year. The following courses and activities are recognized as freshman honors experiences:
• Completion of an honors section of any course
• Completion of a course with an honors credit learning agreement (HCLA) that indicates additional work to be completed to receive honors credit. (MechSE honors credit options include ME 170, ME 199 and/or TAM 251)
Upperclass James Scholars
• Sophomores must: (1) complete the design of their honors contract; and (2) take one honors course, OR complete an Honors Credit Learning Agreement for a regular course, OR complete at least one course in their honors contract if the contract has already been filed.
• Juniors and seniors must take at least one course per year from their honors contract.
• An honors contract must be comprised of a minimum of 12 credit hours and must show coherence, focus, and purpose. Minors and dual degrees can be used to fulfill an honors contract.
Tech Zone is the official computer store of the University of Illinois: https://techzone.illinois.edu/
College of Engineering Computer Recommendations can be found here: https://techzone.illinois.edu/site_engineering_recommendation.asp
- Memory (RAM): 16GB highly recommended, 32GB recommended for visualizations, 8GB minimum for tablets or basic use.
- Storage: 512GB SDD or NVME or greater required; 256GB minimum if utilizing cloud storage
- Processor: Core i5 or i7, or i9 or 4+ Cores (power user/gaming)
- Networking: Wireless capability (laptop)
- Operating System: Windows 10/11; MacOS 12 (Monterey) ** , note that a Chromebook or tablet alone will generally be insufficient
- Camera: 1080p
- Backups: Cloud based subscription such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive is highly recommended.
- Warranty: Most new computers come with manufacturer's warranty, recommended to increase to 3 - 4 years.
- Monitor (for desktop or dual monitor set-up): 1280x1024 or higher
**Some engineering software will require Windows. You can install Windows on your Mac or remote access Windows computers in our Engineering Workstation Labs. Note some applications are not usable with Windows 10 Home, but you can get a free upgrade to Windows 10 Education from the UIUC Webstore. Software available at students pricing and select software training can also be found at the webstore. Recommended software includes Microsoft Office 2016 or newer and others depending on your courses.
Note that printing is available on campus for a fee, you can also choose to bring your own printer.
Students are encouraged to pursue a minor in a field of their interest. To obtain a minor, a student must complete at least 6 credit hours towards the minor in addition to the minimum credit hours required for the major. Information about minors can be found at: https://advising.grainger.illinois.edu/degree-programs/minors
Overloads (more than 18 hours or coursework in fall/spring and more than 9 hours in summer) require approval from The Grainger College of Engineering. Petitions for overload should be submitted at https://advising.grainger.illinois.edu/course-registration/overload-underload by the deadlines listed below. Note that overloads are not allowed for winter terms. For overload approval, factors taken into consideration include the number of credit hours requested, prior loads of classes, and previous progress. Petitions for overloads are reviewed with careful consideration of course combinations, academic history, course availability, course pre-requisites, and student history of overload requests. For more information please visit: https://advising.grainger.illinois.edu/course-registration/overload-underload
Requests must be submitted to The Grainger College of Engineering by:
- June 1st for both Summer and Fall terms.
- December 1st for Spring term.
In order to ensure that you are prepared to succeed in your courses, prerequisites and concurrent registration requirements are enforced for The Grainger College of Engineering courses through the Enterprise/Self-Service System in addition to automated departmental checks. For more information on the schedule of imposed prerequisites in the Enterprise/Self-Service System please visit: https://advising.grainger.illinois.edu/course-registration/prerequisite-enforcement
Attempts to register for courses without having met prerequisites will yield the following message “Course Prerequisite and/or Test Score Error –Contact Course Department”
When using Classic Registration:
When using Enhanced Registration:
If you receive this message, first check Course Explorer (https://courses.illinois.edu/) to ensure you have satisfied the prerequisite(s) for taking the course. If you have not taken the prerequisite course(s), please contact the MechSE Undergraduate Programs Office (email@example.com) to discuss an academic plan that will satisfy the prerequisite(s) in the upcoming semester. If you are still needing an override, please visit https://advising.grainger.illinois.edu/course-registration/prerequisite-enforcement and follow the step by step instructions.
Reasons why you might be incorrectly flagged as not having a prerequisite/co-requisite course completed include:
- Transfer credit has not yet been processed or articulated as expected
- Placement and proficiency exams (e.g. AP, IB) have not yet been processed
- You are retaking the course, but passed the course the first time
- You have made recent changes to your course registration and DARS has yet to be updated
- At the beginning of the semester, MechSE was not your primary major (e.g. dual-degree student, recent ICT/IDT transfer)
If you feel you have adequate knowledge to be successful in a MechSE owned course (ME or TAM courses only) without meeting all of the formal prerequisite/co-requisite courses, you will need to come to the MechSE Undergraduate Programs Office in 152 Computer Applications Building and complete a departmental prerequisite override form to determine if your request to exempt a prerequisite/co-requisite requirement will be approved or denied. This form is not currently offered electronically.
The 2.25 GPA Rule
To qualify for registration in the ME or TAM courses shown in the third (junior) year of the curriculum in either EM or ME, a student must have completed, with a combined GPA of at least 2.25, the courses indicated on the “2.25 GPA” column of the curriculum pages of the Engineering Mechanics or Mechanical Engineering flowsheet:
• EM flowsheet: https://mechanical.illinois.edu/sites/default/files/PDFs/2018-04-05-EM_flowsheet.pdf
• ME flowsheet: https://mechanical.illinois.edu/sites/default/files/PDFs/2018-04-05_ME_flowsheet.pdf
Students who fail to meet the 2.25 GPA Rule requirement will have to repeat strategic courses in order to raise their grades.
Technical Grade-Point Average (TGPA)
To remain in good academic standing and to graduate from the EM or ME curriculum, a student must have a GPA of at least 2.00 in curriculum-specific courses under the “TGPA Requirements for Graduation” column:
Students who have completed 6 or more hours of courses in the TGPA subset with a TGPA below 2.00 will be placed on probation. If the probation level is not met the following semester, the student may be dropped from the respective curriculum.
UIUC GPA Rule
To remain in good academic standing and graduate from the University of Illinois, all students must have a cumulative UIUC GPA greater than 2.0. The grades in transfer courses do not contribute to the UIUC GPA.
For more information see
Minimum Grade Requirement for Individual Course
The minimum grade requirement to pass an individual class in the Engineering Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering curriculum is a grade of D- (.67/4.0 scale).
Students must comply with the following residency requirements for graduation:
MechSE scholarships are awarded to outstanding prospective students or to continuing students with exceptional academic records, and there is no application process for MechSE scholarships. MechSE does however, consider continuing students for monetary awards. Award applications are emailed to continuing students each year. We encourage all continuing students to apply.
For additional information on scholarships and awards please explore the links below:
- The Grainger College of Engineering has scholarships for continuing students, please visit their website for eligibility and qualification requirements.
- The University of Illinois Office of Student Financial Aid has a database of many scholarships that you can search on their website. Deadline: Varies.
- Student Affairs at Illinois also offers many Student Leadership Awards & Scholarships for which you can apply. Deadline: TBD.
- Additional information on undergraduate aid can be found on The Grainger College of Engineering website: https://grainger.illinois.edu/admissions/costs/undergraduate
Students are encouraged to study abroad. It is easier to study abroad early in the student’s academic program, because the selection of transferable general education and introductory technical courses is greater than that for upper-level courses. Students interested in studying abroad should contact the International Programs in Engineering (IPENG) office: https://students.grainger.illinois.edu/ipeng/advising/
Students planning to study abroad should:
- First speak with IPENG and have a green study abroad form filled out
- Make sure to checked for prior articulations with IPENG
- If students need MechSE related courses to be reviewed we need a detailed syllabus in English
- Print out all above materials and bring it to 152 CAB for review at the time of a scheduled appointment
Note that the course placement and academic credit policies that were in effect when you first enrolled at Illinois are the ones that apply to you.
Students who earn Advance Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Level (A-Levels) or departmental proficiency exam credit for one or both chemistry classes receive 3 hours credit for each lecture class, but not the extra hour(s) for the laboratory course(s). The corresponding lab course requirement is exempted; however, the hour(s) missing must be offset by additional hours in other course work (including additional free electives) so that the student meets the 128 hour graduation requirement set by The Grainger College of Engineering.
If a student has received AP credit, IB credit, A-Levels or ACT English subscore credit for RHET 105, but the credit does not show up on the DARS audit, the student should contact the Office of Instructional Resources, Measurement, and Evaluation, 247 Armory, 217-333-3490, to correct the records.
If a student is told by an examining department at UIUC that proficiency credit has been earned in a course, but the credit does not appear on the DARS audit, please go to 206 Engineering Hall.
If a student has taken or wants to take courses at another institution, the student should check if the course is eligible for transfer via the website below:
Note you will need to create a log-in. Additionally, neither the transfer course equivalencies shown here, nor any report generated by it, constitute a contract between the students and the University of Illinois. Current University of Illinois students should contact their college offices prior to enrolling in the courses at other institutions to verify transfer credit eligibility
NOTE: Transfer credit for fine arts skills courses are subject to audition and/or placement exam or portfolio review.
Instructions on how to properly transfer course credit from another institution can be found here:
- If Advanced Level (A-Level) or other course work completed at another institution does not show up on the DARS audit, then the student should have the institution send an official transcript directly to the UIUC Office of Admissions and Records. It typically takes at least 4 weeks for the information to show up in DARS.
1. From institutions outside UIUC: The MechSE Department encourages interested outstanding undergraduate students attending other institutions to apply for admission. Please contact the UIUC Office of Admissions after consulting the Transfer Handbook on the UIUC Office of Admissions website: http://admissions.illinois.edu/apply/Transfer/handbook
2. Inter-college and inter-departmental transfer: The MechSE Department encourages interested outstanding UIUC undergraduate students, as measured by their high GPA, attending UIUC to petition to transfer into Mechanical Engineering or Engineering Mechanics majors. Please check the transfer procedures on The Grainger College of Engineering website: http://go.engineering.illinois.edu/ExploreMajor
Students requiring help in courses should fist seek the help of TA’s and instructors. There is also free tutoring available for students through the Math, Chemistry, Physics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Office of Minority Student Affairs, and student societies given in the following link:
The Center for Academic Resources in Engineering (CARE) creates a dynamic learning community where services, resources, and expertise converge to support engineering students as they work to realize their academic and professional aspirations. Please visit
Underloads (fewer than 12 hours in fall/spring) require approval from The Grainger College of Engineering. Petitions for underload should be submitted at go.illinois.edu/engineering_underload_request by the deadlines listed below. Note that underloads are typically only allowed for students in their final/graduating semester, on the Pending Degree List with fewer than 12 hours remaining to satisfy all degree requirements. Underload approvals are pending passing of all courses in the semester prior to the Underload semester and will not be granted for graduating seniors whose academic record (DARS) shows missing requirements due to transfer credit that has not been sent to the University or proficiency exams a student plans to complete in their final semester. Underload approvals for students NOT on the degree list must be approved by an advisor or dean at 206 Engineering Hall and require documentation in support of an underload (e.g. from DRES). Note that international students must make their request to ISSS via iStart prior to submiting an underload request to The Grainger College of Engineering. For more information please visit: https://advising.grainger.illinois.edu/course-registration/overload-underload
Requests must be submitted to The Grainger College of Engineering by:
- June 1st for both Summer and Fall terms.
- December 1st for Spring term.