Senior Design

The Senior Design program provides students with realistic experience practicing engineering with area industries.

The program provides learning-by-doing exercises that integrate the concepts students have studied in the classroom. They tackle real world projects to smooth the transition into employment as an engineer.

Students take two senior-level design classes in the mechanical engineering curriculum at The University of Alabama. The first design class, ME 489, is a design-build type project class in which teams of students design a device and build it for a specific client or work on a competition-based project, such as the Great Moon Buggy Race. The second design class, ME 490, has an emphasis on conducting a professional design study for an industrial client.

The second senior design class is usually taken the last semester of the mechanical engineering undergraduate program. Students are grouped into teams and work together on a client based project. The projects assigned to the students are those that would normally be assigned to an entry level engineer. Teams do background investigations, purpose designs and/or modifications, conduct feasibility studies, and may even build or modify a piece of equipment.

The students are expected to provide at least 10 hours each per week on their project. Faculty members are available to the students as project advisors. ME 490 also focuses on the development of professional writing and presentation skills. An initial project proposal is required, as well as a final report detailing the results of the project which is submitted to the client. Throughout the semester, status report presentations are given, as well as a final presentation at the end of the semester.

Examples include:

  • Development of design tools
  • Prototype design, construction and testing
  • Lab testing – design, measurement and analysis
  • Manufacturing system design and optimization
  • Energy conservation studies
  • Code and regulation compliance designs
  • Feasibility and alternative studies

To be considered as a client for the Senior Design program, contact Dr. Kevin Chou.