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Message from the Chair

Welcome to the University of Kentucky Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering!

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering was established in 1891 and has grown over its 130-year history to become the second-largest department in the university, with over 1,000 students pursuing mechanical engineering degrees. A new degree program in Aerospace Engineering was started in 2022.  

The mechanical engineering curriculum includes coverage of dynamics, fluid mechanics, design and heat transfer, among other areas, to give students capabilities to apply fundamentals of physics and mathematics to a broad range of practical problems. Students get hands-on experience tackling these problems through a one-year senior Capstone Design program that is coupled with local industry. The B.S. ME degree program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org). Students can complete studies for the B.S. ME degree at the main campus in Lexington or at the extended campus in Paducah.

The new aerospace engineering curriculum is also grounded in coverage of fundamental engineering principles with an emphasis on systems in flight, including courses in propulsion, aerodynamics, flight dynamics and controls. In addition, aerospace engineering students have design projects throughout their studies with a one year industry-focused capstone in the senior year.

Our undergraduate students have many opportunities to enhance their education beyond the classroom by:

  • participating in the co-op program where students get real-world industrial experience in alternating semesters
  • conducting research in the laboratories of our faculty
  • joining one of the student-led teams, including Solar Car or Formula SAE, working each year to design, build and race cars against teams from universities around the world and including SpaceLex, working on designing and building a rocket for competitive launches
  • studying abroad and gaining international experiences

Our graduate program at the Lexington campus offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in either Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering. Approximately 150 graduate students work with award-winning faculty on a wide range of research topics, including manufacturing, robotics, hypersonics, controls, smart materials, acoustics, biomechanics and autonomous systems. Several major centers and research consortia are affiliated with the department to provide the facilities needed for our student research projects. These include:

Beyond these centers, faculty members and students conduct research in specialized laboratories. I invite you to explore our website and see the detailed work and interests of our faculty members and students. I also welcome you to visit our campus to learn more about our education and research programs and to find out how you can engage with the university, our faculty members and our students.

Michael Renfro

Tennessee Valley Authority Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering