Technical Elective Focus Areas

For interest in specific emphases, consider taking some of the courses described in each area below. The department does not offer official emphases, however students can specialize their educational experience by taking courses related to their interests.


Aerospace engineering focuses on the wide array of systems and principles associated with air vehicles (both manned and un-manned) and spacecraft, including satellites and space launch systems.  Closely related are  underwater vehicles, wind turbines, and high performance automobiles.  Select from the course below to build an emphasis area in aerospace and its related applications.

Plane engine Plane


An emphasis in automotive engineering allows students to focus on the analysis and design of automobiles and all of the related components (engine, transmission, control systems, brakes, drive train, exhaust, etc.). Courses at BYU related to this tend to be focused on fundamental principles that are critical in many of the elements involved in automobile design and manufacture. Select from the courses below to build an emphasis area in automotive engineering.

Car Car piston


Biomechanics is the application of mechanics to biology and has origins dating back to Aristotle. Biomechanics seeks to understand the mechanics of living systems, from molecules to organisms. Biomechanical engineering is the practical implementation of this understanding, and embodies the attempts of humans to design and develop mechanical devices that mimic, measure, improve, repair, or replace the function of living systems.

Brain controlled prosthetic arm. Brain controlled prosthetic arm next to a human looking hand.

Design and Manufacturing / CAD

Engineering design affects everyday life - everything around us has been designed. Design involves the systematic interplay between creation and validation with the intent to bring useful parts, products, or systems, to the marketplace. Researchers in engineering design develop theories, methodologies, and tools that improve the design process and bring new capabilities to the hands of the mechanical designer. This includes computer aided engineering, systems design, product development, numerical and optimization methods, and the integration of engineering with other disciplines.

Computer Chip Machine in production

Dynamic Systems, Controls, and Robotics

Many modern engineering systems, including robots, biomedical devices, vehicles, sensors, and machinery are comprised of interconnected dynamic elements. The ability to design, model, and control such systems is essential in modern engineering. Current areas of focus related to dynamic systems and controls at BYU include unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), active noise control, haptic interfaces, and robotics.

Robot Drone flying

Energy Systems

The dual specters of global warming and political instability in oil-exporting countries have made the development of efficient and sustainable energy systems a national priority. Design, analysis and optimization of systems that transport or convert energy are based on thermodynamics and heat and mass transfer at all length scales (nano-, micro-, macro- and meso-scales). At BYU, we use experimental and analytical methods to investigate methods to enhance and/or control processes that are essential in a host of applications (combustion, aerospace, biosensors, power harvesting, etc.).​

Energy system Water energy system

Fluid Mechanics

Fluid mechanics deals with the study of liquids and gases at rest or in motion. Research in fluid mechanics focuses on understanding how fluids move and interact with their surroundings over the range of length scales from the nano-scale to the global scale. Fluid mechanics research encompasses many complicated dynamic systems which are solved through a combination of experiments and direct observation, analytical methods, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Research topics at BYU are broad and include areas such as: biological flows, micro- and nano-fluidic systems, flow physics in turbomachines, turbulence, fluid-structure interactions, atmospheric and oceanic flow dynamics, aircraft aerodynamics, and reacting flows.

Milk splashing Airflow around a plane.

General Mechanical Engineering

The required courses in the BYU ME program cover a broad range of almost all of the topics you will encounter as a Mechanical Engineer, but it is often a second visit to the topic that solidifies understanding. If you want to improve both depth and breadth to your undergraduate education take the following courses to expand upon and solidify topics related to the required courses.

Gears. BYU Clyde building.


Progress in materials science is at the heart of most exciting advances in modern engineering. Materials science consists in exploring the relationships between structure, properties and processing operations that define a material. The engineering materials group seeks to extract the processing, structure, property relationships in an effort to prepare advanced materials. We use cutting edge microscopy to determine material structure at the nano-scale, materials testing techniques to measure properties and the effects of processing, and modeling and mathematical tools to simulate behaviors in an effort to understand certain phenomena and create new and better materials.​

a scan of swab and other materials including polyester, rayon, and cotton. Boring machine.

Structural Dynamics and Acoustics

Acoustics research at BYU is strongly cross-disciplinary in character and focuses on the following areas: active noise and vibration control, sound-structure interaction, nonlinear acoustics, audio acoustics and architectural acoustics. The research in acoustics is both experimental and computational in nature and includes simulation and measurement of physical systems, as well as signal processing. Structural dynamics research focuses on the interaction between aerodynamics and structures.

Measuring a diffuser in an anechoic chamber. Flow regimes in a street canyon.