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.

12-100  Exploring CEE: Infrastructure and Environment in a Changing World

Civil and Environmental Engineers (CEEs) engage in the planning, design, construction, operation, retrofit, demolition, and reuse of large-scale infrastructure that forms the backbone of all societies and economies. CEEs work at the dynamic interface of the built environment, information environment, and natural environment. Therefore, societal domains that require CEE expertise include smart cities and construction, sustainable energy and buildings, connected and automated transportation systems, resilient infrastructure, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and water management.

Students will explore how sensing, data science, environmental science, life cycle systems and economic analysis, and infrastructure design are integrated to create a built environment that meets the needs of smart and connected communities while enhancing sustainability.

Students work on team-based design-build projects that introduce principles from environmental, structural, construction engineering, and project management. Students learn technical skills as well as methods for management and design considerations that include uncertainty, economics, and ethics for modern and future infrastructure.

18-100  Introduction to Electrical & Computer Engineering

This course introduces students to a broad scope of electrical and computer engineering. The objectives are to prepare students for the next tier of ECE core courses and to excite them about ECE. The course covers topics such as Data Processing, Data Transmission, and Data Storage. Specific coverage includes electronic circuits basics, computer logic, CPU, von Neumann architecture, embedded systems, capacitors, inductors, amplifiers, analog filters, analog to digital conversion, digital filters, wireless communication, fiber communication, computer network, data center and storage technologies, modern cryptography, and machine learning. On each of these subjects, the course will focus on certain topics to give an appreciative depth and help students understand the essence of the subject. Lectures will be accompanied by labs, which may include hands-on building of circuits, embedded systems, computer networks, and a machine learning lab.

24-101  Fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering

The purpose of this course is to introduce the 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 first-year students.

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.

19-101  Introduction to Engineering & Public Policy

This course examines interactions between technology, society, and the related processes of public and private decision-making. Classes involve a mix of lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities where students tackle interdisciplinary issues with both quantitative and qualitative methods. Students complete individual and group assignments that build skills in analysis and communication relevant for future careers. Past project topics include: using drone imaging to assess algal blooms in Lake Erie, incorporating renewable electricity generation on campus, reducing credit card fraud through data analytics, and creating standards for additive manufacturing of critical airplane parts.

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.

49-101 Engineering Design, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

*For double majors only. This course will introduce formal engineering innovation and design methods to form new opportunities, product/service solutions, and ventures within a team-based project, with particular emphasis on the translation and integration of technologies into products, services, and venture solutions. The skills learned in this course can be applied to the for-profit sector and also in the context of projects for social good. Effective communication of ideas will also be emphasized. This semester-long course will combine lecture and studio activities. One introductory course of this nature exists for each undergraduate engineering major, and taking this course is a requirement to enter the program.