Introduction to engineering courses

Each of the seven engineering departments teaches an introductory engineering elective course. Every first-year engineering student must select one such course per semester (for a total of two). The purpose of these courses is to allow students to get a glimpse of engineering from the beginning of your study at Carnegie Mellon and to become broadly educated across engineering disciplines while learning how to solve engineering problems.

All introduction to engineering courses are 12 units. Please note that Engineering & Public Policy and Biomedical Engineering are double majors ONLY. To pursue undergraduate study in these areas, they must be paired with one of the five traditional majors.

Introductory engineering course options

06-100  Introduction to Chemical Engineering

We equip students with creative engineering problem-solving techniques and fundamental chemical engineering material for balanced skills. Lectures, laboratory experiments, and recitation sessions are designed to provide coordinated training and experience in data analysis, material property estimation for single- and multi-phase systems, basic process flowsheets, reactive and non-reactive mass balances, problem-solving strategies and tools, and team dynamics. The course is targeted for College of Engineering First-Year students.

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12-100  Introduction to Civil & Environmental Engineering

Introduction to selected subfields in the discipline, such as structural engineering, construction project management, and environmental engineering. Problem-solving exercises apply fundamental concepts from these subfields to integrate the steps of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation through individual homework assignments and group projects that require attention to a broad range of issues. The course also exposes the students to issues related to engineering practice such as working in teams, scheduling, evaluating risk, and making ethical decisions. In addition to regular lectures and project exercises, the course includes guest speakers and class demonstrations. 3 hrs., rec., 1 hr. lab. Co-requisites: 21-120, 33-106.

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18-100  Introduction to Electrical & Computer Engineering

The goals of this freshman engineering course are: to introduce basic concepts in electrical and computer engineering in an integrated manner; to motivate basic concepts in the context of real applications; to illustrate a logical way of thinking about problems and their solutions; and to convey the excitement of the profession. These goals are attained through analysis, construction, and testing of an electromechanical system (i.e. a robot) that incorporates concepts from a broad range of areas within Electrical & Computer Engineering. Some of the specific topics that will be covered include system decomposition, ideal and real sources, Kirchhoff's Current and Voltage Laws, Ohm's Law, piecewise linear modeling of nonlinear circuit elements, Ideal Op-Amp characteristics, combinational logic circuits, Karnaugh Maps, Flip-Flops, sequential logic circuits, and finite state machines. 3 hrs. lec., 1 hr. rec., 3 hr. lab.

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24-101  Fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering

The purpose of this course is to introduce student to the field of mechanical engineering through an exposition of its disciplines, including structural analysis, mechanism design, fluid flows, and thermal systems. By using principles and methods of analysis developed in lectures, students will complete two major projects. These projects will begin with conceptualization, proceed with the analysis of candidate designs, and culminate in the construction and testing of a prototype. The creative process will be encouraged throughout. The course is intended primarily for College of Engineering freshmen. 3 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. rec./lab.

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27-100  Engineering the Materials of the Future

Materials form the foundation for all engineering applications. Advances in materials and their processing drive all technologies, including the broad areas of nano-, bio-, energy, and electronic (information) technology. Performance requirements for future applications require that engineers continue to design both new structures and new processing methods in order to engineer materials with improved properties. Applications such as optical communication, tissue and bone replacement, fuel cells, and information storage, to name a few, exemplify areas where new materials are required to realize many of the envisioned future technologies. This course provides an introduction to how science and engineering can be exploited to design materials for many applications. The principles behind the design and exploitation of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites are presented using examples from everyday life, as well as from existing, new, and future technologies. A series of laboratory experiments are used as a hands-on approach to illustrating modern practices used in the processing and characterization of materials and for understanding and improving materials' properties.

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19-101  Introduction to Engineering & Public Policy (Spring only)

This course examines the processes of public and private decision-making and of policy formation, which shape the evolution of technology and its impact on our society. Technology plays an important role in shaping our worlds. At the same time, social forces often play a central role in the evolution of a technology. A particular technology, such as an automobile or computer, is chosen to study technology and policy in context. Specific topics covered in the case of the automobile includes automotive design and manufacture, safety, pollution, fuel economy, and their interactions. In each area, we discuss the technological and institutional issues, their interaction, the possible need for public policy, and the factors that govern the policy. The course will involve several group problem-solving sessions.

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42-101  Introduction to Biomedical Engineering

This course will provide exposure to basic biology and engineering problems associated with living systems and health care delivery. Examples will be used to illustrate how basic concepts and tools of science and engineering can be brought to bear in understanding, mimicking, and utilizing biological processes. The course will focus on four areas: biotechnology, biomechanics, biomaterials, and tissue engineering. The course will also cover bioimaging and will introduce the basic life sciences and engineering concepts associated with these topics. Pre-requisite OR co-requisite: 03-121 Modern Biology.

Learn more: 42-101  Introduction to Biomedical Engineering