Core Courses and Requirements

Planning the Student’s Program

Students vary in their goals and objectives, in their level of achievement and in their high school or pre-engineering preparation. Considerable variety and flexibility are provided to plan each student’s schedule so that the individual may reach graduation as efficiently as possible. The objective is to place each new student in courses commensurate with their academic profile, previous experience and potential for academic success.

Most courses have prerequisites. The completion of courses on schedule and with satisfactory grades is essential to the student’s progress.

The appropriate schedule for each student in each term will depend on a number of factors such as: past scholastic record; placement test results; extracurricular activities; election of co-op, international or Military Office Education Programs; health; and need for partial self-support. A schedule of 12 to 18 hours is considered full-time.

All College of Engineering B.S.E. programs require successful completion of a program of 128 credit hours. An average of 16 credit-hours per term allows a student to complete these programs in 8 terms, generally requiring 4 years of study.

First and Second-Year Programs

At the time of each student’s first advising session, all of the high school and advance placement records may not yet be in the student’s file. It is the entering student’s responsibility to make certain that all pertinent information is brought to the attention of an Engineering Advising Center (EAC) advisor. Any changes in test scores or transfer credits will affect final course selection and need to be discussed with an advisor.

With complete information available, the advisor and the student will be able to make carefully considered adjustments in course elections for the first-term course schedule.

First Year

Assuming the necessary academic preparation and no Advanced Placement credit, each student will be expected to complete some combination of the following courses:

  1. Mathematics 115 and 116 or one of the honors Math sequences
  2. Chemistry 130 and 125/126, or, for some, 130, 210, and 211
  3. Engineering 100 (Any course satisfying the First Year Writing Requirement (FYWR) for LSA is an acceptable substitution for ENGR 100 for transfer students only. A list of available courses that meet the FYWR is available through the LSA Course Guide website.)
  4. Engineering 101 or Engineering 151 (ENGR 151 is an approved alternative to ENGR 101 for all College of Engineering (CoE) programs)
  5. Physics 140 and 141

Additional course information will be available during the advising session.

Second Year

All students will continue with the mathematics, physics and intellectual breadth courses common to all programs. A second-term student who has selected a degree program should be meeting with that program advisor for third-term elections.

Students who have not selected a degree program should consult the Engineering Advising Center for their course selections.

LSA Honors-Level Courses

Some math and science courses in LSA are considered honors level equivalents of the core math and science requirements. A student whose record indicates qualifications to perform at an advanced level should discuss this option with an advisor in the Engineering Advising Center.

Minimum Common Requirements

Each of the degree programs offered by the College includes credit hours that are common to all programs, subject to appropriate adjustment for equivalent alternatives. See individual sample schedules for required programs in each program section of this Bulletin. Some programs may have a higher minimum grade requirement for some courses.

Double Counting Courses

For Engineering Undergraduate students:

  1. No course can count towards more than two degrees, such as two bachelor’s degrees or one bachelor’s degree and one master’s degree.
  2. No course can count towards more than two majors, and no more than one major and one minor. A course can only count toward two minors if the credits received for that course are beyond the 128 credits required for the student’s major.
  3. No course can count towards more than one requirement within a BSE program. Double counting a course for credit towards more than one requirement is not allowed. A single course can qualify to meet the requirements of multiple sections of the BSE, but must formally count towards one requirement.
  4. A course can count toward Supplemental Studies, Concentrations/Sub-Plans or Honors Programs regardless of how many majors or minors it is already counting towards.
  5. SUGS (Sequential Undergraduate Graduate Studies) students who are pursuing a Rackham or College of Engineering master’s degree can only double count courses that are considered general electives or technical electives and are not part of the core requirement. The number of credits allowed to double count is determined by the individual departments, with 9 credits being the maximum allowed by Rackham. MDDP (Multiple Dependent Degree Program, typically referred to as Dual Degree) students are not eligible for the SUGS program.
  6. Non-SUGS students pursuing a master’s degree from Rackham or the College of Engineering, cannot transfer any credits used for their bachelor’s degree, even free electives or tech electives, toward their master’s degree. They may only transfer credits from courses that were not used to fulfill requirements for a degree or certificate (verified by an Undergraduate Program Advisor). Furthermore, the transferred credits must be from graduate-level courses and Rackham must receive confirmation (from their Graduate Coordinator) that these courses were at the graduate level and required graduate-level effort.  

Engineering 100: Introduction to Engineering

Engineering 100 introduces students to the professional skills required of engineers and provides them with an overview of engineering at the beginning of their program. An important component of the course is the real-world engineering project. Important engineering skills developed in Engineering 100 include:

  • Preparation of written technical reports and oral presentations to communicate ideas to a broad audience
  • Technical problem solving and the creative engineering design process
  • Teamwork and team management
  • Professional responsibility
  • The influence of engineers on society
  • Sustainable engineering
  • Decision-making skills

Numerous sections are offered both Fall and Winter semesters, featuring a variety of design projects. Students are strongly encouraged to select a section that aligns with their interests. Details on each of the sections can be found at the Engineering 100 website.

Important Note: You must receive a grade of C or better in Engineering 100 to fulfill the requirement, however earning a grade lower than C may negatively impact a student’s eligibility to declare a program and may require repeating the course. Transfer students must complete English composition or a course equivalent to ENGR 100 as a prerequisite for transfer admission. Any course satisfying the First Year Writing Requirement (FYWR) for LSA is an acceptable substitution for ENGR 100 for transfer students only. A list of available courses that meet the FYWR is available through the LSA Course Guide website). Be sure to consult with the Office of Recruitment if you have questions.

Advanced Placement English Credit

Advanced Placement (AP) English Literature credit is assessed as English departmental credit and can be used towards the Liberal Arts Courses (LACs) of the Intellectual Breadth Requirement. You will not receive credit for Sweetland Writing Center courses.

Engineering 101: Introduction to Computers and Programming

Engineering 101 focuses on using your computer to solve engineering problems through computer programming. Many engineering problems involve repetition – getting data and doing the same calculations over and over again. Automating this process, using programming, saves time and minimizes errors in these calculations. Engineers have more and more data to work with, so developing computer programs is now a part of almost every modern engineering project.

One of the core concepts of the course is the concept of an algorithm: a well-defined set of steps that achieves a particular goal. Constructing an algorithm for a given purpose is fundamental in every engineering design task. Algorithms help us break down large, complex problems into smaller problems that we can solve separately and then weave back together to give us a final answer. 

In this course, you will learn how to create algorithms for solving engineering problems, and then how to write those algorithms in a programming language that the computer can understand. In this course, we will use two different programming languages: MATLAB for numerical analysis and generating plots of data; and C++ for processing textual data and implementing more complex algorithms that require more decision-making.

Students entering Engineering 101 are not expected to know how to program; this skill will be taught as part of the class. Visit the Engineering 101 website for more information.

Engineering 151: Accelerated Introduction to Computers and Programming

Engineering 151 provides an accelerated alternative to Engineering 101 for students either with previous programming experience or with strong motivation and natural intuition for algorithms. It introduces students to the algorithm development, procedural programming concepts and languages covered in Engineering 101 but at a faster pace. It also introduces object-oriented programming, engineering analysis methods and additional topics such as parallel computing or embedded systems. Visit the Engineering 151 website for more detailed information.

Important notes (1) You must receive a grade of “C” (some departments are now requiring a C in all math, science, and engineering core courses) or better in Engineering 101 or Engineering 151 to fulfill the requirement, however earning a grade lower than C may negatively impact a student’s eligibility to declare a program and may require repeating the course.


The mathematics courses of 115 (4 credits), 116 (4 credits), 215 (4 credits), and 216 (4 credits) provide an integrated 16-credit-hour sequence in college mathematics that includes analytic geometry, calculus, elementary linear algebra and elementary differential equations.

All students with strong preparation and interest in mathematics are encouraged to consider one of the honors-level math sequences. Qualified and interested students should consult their engineering advisor about these options. It is not necessary to be in an honors program to enroll in these courses.

Earning a grade lower than C may negatively impact a students’ eligibility to declare a program and may require repeating the course. Experience indicates that students earning a grade of C- or below in a math class may have an insufficient foundation for further study in the quantitative field of engineering.

Advanced Placement Math Credit

Effective Date Winter Term 2017:

AP Math Credit – Double Counting Policies

The following rules apply to CoE undergraduate students:

  1. Credit CANNOT be received for both AP Math 120 and Math 115. NOTE: If a student decides to enroll in or receives credit for Math 115, then AP Math 120 credit will be removed as students should not receive credit for both. Advisors can email [email protected] to request removal if credit is not automatically updated. AP Math 120 credit may be reissued in the situation that the student decides to drop or withdraw from Math 115.
  2. Credit can be received for both AP Math 120 and Math 185, or both AP Math 120 and Math 295 as no double counting rules apply in these situations.
  3. Credit can be received for both AP Math 121 and Math 116; however, AP Math 121 will be reduced from four credit hours to two credit hours.
  4. Credit may be received for both AP Math 121 and Math 156; however, AP Math 121 will be reduced from four credit hours to two credit hours.
  5. Credit may be received for both AP Math 121 and Math 176, or both AP Math 121 and Math 186, or both AP Math 121 and Math 296 as no double counting rules apply in these situations.


Chem 130 (3 credits) with laboratory Chem 125/126 (2 credits) is required by most degree programs. Students will normally elect these courses during the freshman year. The following degree programs require additional chemistry: Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering. Students expecting to enter Chemical Engineering normally elect Chem 130 (3 credits) and/or Chem 210 (3 credits) with Chem 211 laboratory (2) during the freshman year, depending on U-M placement exam results. Students expecting to enter Environmental Engineering normally elect Chem 130/125/126 and/or Chem 210 during the first year, depending on U-M placement exam results.

Important Notes: (1) If you have a satisfactory score or grade in Chemistry AP, A-Level, IB Exams or transfer credit from another institution, you will have met the Chemistry Core Requirement for CoE. (2) Students who place into Chem 210/211 will not be given credit for Chem 130. (3) Earning a grade lower than C may negatively impact a student’s eligibility to declare a program and may require repeating the course. (4) The Chemistry Placement Exam will be waived for students who score a 4 or higher on the AP Chemistry (effective Fall 2021).


The usual first-year schedule includes Physics 140 (4 credits) with laboratory, Physics 141 (1 credit). This course requires completion of Calculus I. A second course, Physics 240 (4 credits) with laboratory, PHYSICS 241 (1 credit), is required by all programs and is normally scheduled in the third term.

Important Notes: (1) If you have a satisfactory score or grade in Physics AP, A-Level, IB Exams or transfer credit for Physics 140/141 and Physics 240/241 from another institution you will have met the Physics Core Requirement for CoE. (2) All students with strong preparation and interest in physics are encouraged to consider the honors-level physics sequence. (3) Earning a grade lower than C may negatively impact a student’s eligibility to declare a program and may require repeating the course.

Transfer Credits for Core Math and Science

Students who through use of transfer credit or credit-by-test have fewer than 31 credits total in: math covering the introductory sequence (equivalent to Math 115 – 214/216); introductory physics (Physics 140, 141, 240, 241); and introductory chemistry (Chem 130, 125/126); but have learned the required content as assessed by the math, physics or chemistry department must never-the-less makeup the difference in credit hours. This can be done using any number of elective courses in math or science, or, at the discretion of the program advisor, using engineering courses with a mathematical or science focus (e.g. engineering statistics, solid state or nuclear physics, etc.), to make up the total of 31 credits.

Note: ABET Criterion 5 requires all students to have a minimum of 30 credits of college level math and basic sciences, some with an experimental experience. They must also have 45 credits of engineering topics (engineering science and design). All of our programs provide at least one additional credit of math or science within departmental curricula, and in applying this policy for missing math and science credits “basic science” and “engineering science” will be appropriately distinguished.

Intellectual Breadth

It is important that our students learn about modes of thought and areas of human accomplishment beyond the purely technical. This breadth can be designed by students to provide context to their engineering work by learning about human modes of thought, the structure and history of the human societies that they serve as engineers, how humans behave and interact, and how humans express their aspirations in the arts, literature and music. This breadth will help students to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context. This breadth makes our students more flexible, creative and better able to work with diverse groups.

We cannot precisely define all of these possibilities for every student so we strive to create a broad intellectual opportunity for students to pursue their interests both beyond and within engineering. Students are encouraged to use these credits in a coherent way to build a foundation of understanding in both the liberal arts and other disciplines that might contribute to their development of creativity or professional foundation.

The College of Engineering requires all students to complete 16 credits of Intellectual Breadth coursework, and between 9 and 16 credits of General Electives (depending on engineering major). To satisfy the Intellectual Breadth requirement, students must complete the following:

  • 16 Intellectual Breadth Credits: Comprised of Liberal Arts Courses (LACs — defined in the following section of the Bulletin titled, “Definition of Liberal Arts Courses”), including:
    • Humanities: At least 3 credits of Humanities classes marked HU in the LSA course guide, credit by test cannot be used to meet this requirement
    • 300-level LAC: At least 3 credits of LAC must be at the 300 level or higher. Students may satisfy the Humanities and 300-level requirements with a single course
    • (Optional) PCDC – no more than 4 credits of PCDC (defined in the following section of the Bulletin titled, “Professional or Creative Development Courses”

Professional or Creative Development Courses (PCDC)

Professional and creative development courses are optional and offer a student the opportunity to build on non-engineering and non-technical courses to develop their creativity and professional capabilities as engineers. PCDC courses include any course from the following subjects in the indicated units, provided they are not marked BS (Bachelor of Science) or NS (Natural Science) in the LSA course guide:

  • Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning: Architecture (ARCH), Urban Design (UD), Urban Planning (UP), Urban and Regional Planning (URP—Effective FA 17)
  • Stamps School of Art & Design (ARTDES, UARTS)
  • Ross School of Business: Accounting (ACC), Business Administration (BA), Business Economics and Public Policy (BE), Entrepreneurial Studies (ES), Business Law & Business Communication (BL&BCOM), Marketing (MKT), Management and Organization (MO), Strategy (STRATEGY)
  • School of Music,Theatre & Dance: Music Composition (COMP), Musicology (MUSICOL), Music Theory (THEORY), Theater & Drama (THTREMUS) and MUSPERF 300/PAT 305 (this course is an exception, no other PAT/MUSPERF courses will satisfy PCDC requirement)
  • School of Environment and Sustainability (EAS)
  • Ford School of Public Policy (PUBPOL)
  • School of Public Health: Health Behavior & Health Education (HBEHED), Health Management & Policy (HMP)
  • College of Engineering: Center for Entrepreneurship (ENTR) – Effective WN 2018 (ENTR coursework taken FA 2013 and later can be used to satisfy PCDC requirements)

Definition of Liberal Arts Courses

Liberal Arts Courses (LACs) are intended to give students the broader education in qualitative critical thinking and human society that can give context to their engineering practice and to their contributions as citizens. For the sake of the College of Engineering intellectual breadth requirements, Liberal Arts Courses (LACs) are meant to exclude mathematics and science courses, as well as some courses that are considered preparatory to the CoE experience. Student’s elections of LACs are expected to be in this spirit. The precise operational definition of a LAC is:

  • Any course offered by any UM-Ann Arbor unit marked as HU (Humanities) or SS (Social Science) in the LSA course guide is considered a LAC.
  • For a course not marked as HU or SS but offered under one of the LSA subjects listed below, it is considered a LAC if it is not marked BS (Bachelor of Science), NS (Natural Science), QR/1 or QR/2 in the LSA course guide.
  • A course can count as an LAC or HU if it is not marked BS, NS, QR/1 or QR/2, despite being marked SS or HU, in the LSA course guide. (Note: ECON 101 and ECON 102 are both exceptions to this rule)
  • In addition, if a course is not marked HU or SS in the LSA course guide, but is marked EXPERIENTIAL or INDEPENDENT, then explicit permission of a CoE program advisor is needed to use it for a LAC course.
  • Study Abroad Courses (STDABRD) might be counted as LACs, but only by explicit permission of a CoE program advisor. This is not meant to discourage study abroad, but reflects the broad nature of the STDABRD designation, which otherwise defies classification. As described below, transfer credit from US and foreign institutions may also be accepted as LACs credit.
  • Please note that not all courses listed under the departments or divisions in the table are HU.

Please note: This list is not a comprehensive list of LSA subjects with humanities (HU) or social science (SS) courses. For the current guide please visit the LSA Course Guide website.

Afroamerican & African Studies(AAS)Latin American & Caribbean Studies(LACS)
Applied Liberal Arts(ALA)Linguistics(LING)
Arab and Muslim American Studies(AMAS)
Lloyd Hall Scholars for Writing and the Arts (LSWA)
American Culture(AMCULT)Medieval & Early Modern Studies(MEMS)
Anthropological Archaeology(ANTHRARC)Middle Eastern & North African Studies(MENAS)
Archaeology: Ancient Mediterranean (ARCHAM)Middle East Studies(MIDEAST)
Arabic Language(ARABIC)Modern Greek(GREEKMOD)
Armenian Language(ARMENIAN)Museum Studies(MUSEUMS)
Asian Languages(ASIANLAN)Music History and Musicology(MUSICOL)
Asian Studies(ASIAN)Native American Studies
Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies (ASIANPAM)Nursing(NURS)
Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian(BCS)Organizational Studies(ORGSTUDY)
Classical Archaeology(CLARCH)Persian Language(PERSIAN)
Classical Civilization(CLCIV)Philosophy(PHIL)
College Honors(HONORS)Polish(POLISH)
Communication Studies(COMM)Political Science(POLSCI)
LSA Computation for Arts and Sciences (COMPFOR)Portuguese(PORTUG)
Comparative Literature(COMPLIT)Psychology(PSYCH)
Complex Systems(CMPLXSYS)RC Creative Writing and Literature(RCCWLIT)
Comprehensive Studies Program(CSP)RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Cultural Anthropology(ANTHRCUL)RC Social Sciences(RCSSCI)
Czech(CZECH)RC Social Theory and Practice (RCSTP)
Digital Studies(DIGITAL)Religion(RELIGION)
Dutch(DUTCH)Romance Languages and Literatures(ROMLANG)
Economics(ECON)Romance Linguistics(ROMLING)
English Language and Literature(ENGLISH)Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies(REEES)
Film, Television, and Media(FTVM)Sociology(SOC)
Geography(GEOG)South Asian Studies(SAS)
German(GERMAN)Southeast Asian Studies(SEAS)
History(HISTORY)Slavic Languages and Literatures (SLAVIC)
History of Art(HISTART)Sociology (SOC)
Institute for the Humanities (INSTHUM)Spanish(SPANISH)
International Studies(INTLSTD)Science, Technology & Society(STS)
Islamic Studies(ISLAM)Music Theory (THEORY)
Italian(ITALIAN)Theatre and Drama (THTREMUS)
Judaic Studies(JUDAIC)Turkish Language(TURKISH)
Korean Studies (KRSTD)University Courses(UC)
Latina/o American Studies (LATINOAM)Women’s Studies(WGS)

Note: Chemical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering each requires one course in economics. This economics requirement can overlap with the LAC requirement.

Transfer Credit and Credit by Test

College course credit transferred as any course meeting these requirements will be accepted as an HU, LAC or PCDC. Courses transferred as departmental credit can be accepted at the discretion of a CoE program advisor. Courses evaluated for transfer credit may also be marked HU or SS, in which case they are considered humanities or liberal arts courses, as described above. In addition, courses transferred as English Composition (ENGCMPTC) also count as an LAC. Credit by test (e.g. Advanced Placement, A-Level and International Baccalaureate) can be used to satisfy any of these requirements except for the 3 credit humanities requirement. Foreign language credit by test at the 200 level or higher can count toward the LAC requirement but not the 3-credit humanities requirement. Foreign language credit by test at the 100 level can be used for General Electives only. In addition, language credit by test is limited to 8 credits.

Credit for Foreign Language

The CoE no longer grants credit for students passing a language placement test offered by the College of LSA. Students seeking to continue in the study of a foreign language will, however, be eligible to earn retroactive language credits in certain languages if they have completed an upper-level language course with a grade of B or better. Please see LSA’s Retroactive Language Credit Policy for general rules regarding this policy. Contact your academic advisor with questions about taking language placement exams.

The CoE values the study of language, so even when credit might not be granted, students are encouraged to take any language placement test for which they may be qualified, so that they can be properly placed in a more advanced language course or demonstrate proficiency for language-related opportunities (i.e. minor, study abroad)

Incoming first-year students who took a course(s) at a college or university while dually enrolled in high school may potentially receive transfer credit.

General Electives

General electives are intended to allow students to explore any dimension of intellectual endeavor that they elect, in both technical (including engineering) and non-technical fields. This requirement can be met by any course offered by the UM-Ann Arbor, subject to the following restrictions, or by transfer credit subject to the same restrictions in spirit.

Restrictions: Courses that require tutoring of other students enrolled in courses are limited to a maximum of 3 credits, with the exception of Physics 333 & Physics 334 which are both allowed for a maximum of 6 credits.

All undergraduate degree programs in the College of Engineering will accept credits earned in 200-, 300- and 400-level courses in military, naval or air science.

Tutorial courses are not acceptable for credit of grade points but will be included on the student’s official record.

The currently approved numbers of general elective hours for each degree program are:

Degree ProgramCredits of General Electives
Aerospace Engineering9
Biomedical Engineering9
Chemical Engineering12
Civil Engineering11
Climate and Meteorology9
Computer Engineering13
Computer Science16
Data Science15
Electrical Engineering11
Engineering Physics12
Environmental Engineering12
Industrial and Operations Engineering9-12
Materials Science Engineering12
Mechanical Engineering9
Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering8-9
Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences12
Space Science and Engineering12