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Mechanical Engineering Research Track

Research Track: Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

The Mechanical Engineering Department Research Track is designed for exceptional students to pursue a faculty mentored research experience for 2 consecutive semesters at 0.5 cu per semester. Participation for one summer is required, contingent on a successful MUSE faculty student application. The student will receive a maximum of 1 cu that are applicable to one elective in Group C (only). A 0.5 CU cannot count for an elective.

1) The earliest entrance into the track is in sophomore year during the fall. The latest application into the track is in junior year during the spring.

2) Students are required to have at least a 3.65 GPA. Enrollment in the track is also contingent upon faculty interest and availability to take students as research assistants (students in the track). Enrollment in the research track is subject to department approval. Faculty are not obligated to participate in the program. The ranking of students applying for the track is based on the quality of student application as determined by the faculty advisor. Students are limited to 0.5 course units per semester.

3) Students in the track still have to take the capstone Senior Project sequence, which must include design. The Senior Project sequence must not be used to make progress toward the overall research project.

4) For students, the full sequence of the program is:

  1. Recommend participation in MUSE or UG research experience (like REUs) prior to beginning research track.
  2. Junior/Senior fall: 0.5 CU on research
  3. Junior/Senior spring: 0.5 CU on research

5) The total 1 CU of research can be applied to the student’s 1 Group C technical elective requirements toward the degree.

6) Students in the track need to commit and engage into an Independent Research Contract. Students, along with the faculty, are required to develop a detailed research plan for the program of study that is to be submitted to the department chair.

7) Students taking 0.5 CU of research must conduct research for a minimum of 6 hours per week. As part of their grade, in addition to the weekly research, the student is required to conduct a literature/background review, produce a research report at the end of each semester, and present a poster during Student Achievement or Alternative Poster Type Session, and present research to the department, school, or engineering class. Faculty will provide workspace for the student with support of the SOE Dean’s office.

8) A successful research program is one that culminates in the publication (by the student and the faculty) of at least one paper in an industry recognized refereed journal or professional conference (not an undergraduate student paper competition or TCNJ journal). This does not imply that a paper has been fully published, but the faculty must feel confident that enough research work has taken place leading to a journal publication with recognition given to the student and their work. At a minimum, in the final semester of the program, the student will submit a portfolio that includes:

  1. Research thesis in the form of a journal manuscript
  2. Each semester’s work plan and progress report
  3. A report delineating dissemination activities (MUSE poster, conference posters or presentations), outcomes achieved, statement of importance of the research track to career goals and current career plans

9) The faculty and the student(s) each have the option to seek MUSE, School Support, or External support during the summer. Students must maintain a ‘B’ grade in their research track courses to remain enrolled in the track. Students may elect to drop out of the research track option at any time, but will be required to complete any remaining electives/units required for graduation. Students are allowed to switch faculty members, with faculty permission.


Application Process:

Applications are submitted one semester prior to the start of the research activity.

I. Cover page that includes:

  1. Project title:
  2. Student name:
  3. Adviser name (with signature):
  4. State which semesters are being applied for:
  5. Statement on the use of human or animal subjects. Approval must be obtained prior to enrollment in the first research course (typically the enrollment period for the fall of the junior year):

II. Project Description (2 pages):

  1. Background
  2. Significance
  3. Objectives
  4. References

III. Facilities and equipment needs (1/2-page maximum)

  1. Expected safety training required to complete the research (1/2-page maximum)
  2. Curriculum plan for junior and senior year
  3. (Not required, but encouraged) Agreement to apply to MUSE and participate if the application is awarded.

VII. Include the Student MUSE application


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