ME Elective Focus Areas (EFA)

Picture of students studyingThe Elective Focus Area (EFA) is a set of 21 semester hours of elective courses taken during the sophomore to senior years that provide mechanical engineering undergraduate students with a unique opportunity to acquire advanced education in an area of their choice. EFAs are not only intended to spark the interest of students in a specialty, but they can also make a student more attractive to future employers. Students are urged to read the complete EFA Policy and Guidelines of the department. Students have the choice of selecting one of the program-standard focus areas or of developing their own tailored focus area suited to their career aspirations. All EFAs must include an approved math/science elective.

Standard EFA

There are three standard EFAs maintained by the ME program:

Students select a standard EFA by completing the online EFA plan of study form.

Note that with appropriate course selection, students can concurrently earn the Design EFA and the Naval Hydrodynamics Certificate.


Tailored EFA

Students may also design an EFA based on individual interests. All tailored EFAs must consist of at least 21 semester hours of courses, contain an approved math/science elective, and satisfy the ME EFA Policy and Guidelines. A tailored EFA must be rigorous, well-focused, in-depth, and consistent with a student's career plan. A collection of lower level courses in a number of disparate areas will not satisfy this EFA requirement. Students must consult with their advisor prior to choosing a tailored EFA and fill out a online EFA plan of study form.

All tailored EFAs require approval by the MIE Department Chair.

There are two different types of tailored EFAs:

1. An official UI Minor or Certificate program is completed. A common minor for ME students is the Business Minor.  The MIE Department is the administrative home for the Naval Hydrodynamics Certificate and the Wind Energy Certificate.  Another common certificate is the Technological Entrepreneurship Certificate, but any official UI Minor or Certificate is possible. Note that it may be possible to take some of the courses that are required for a Minor or Certificate as part of the General Education Component (GEC) requirement.

2. The tailored EFA consists of a well-focused set of courses from the College of Engineering and/or other UI colleges. In order to maintain some technical rigor and depth, such EFAs must contain at least 9 s.h. of upper level* College of Engineering courses. However, this requirement may be waived if the EFA consists of an in-depth program in mathematics, computer science, the physical sciences, or the natural/health sciences, with an equivalent component of upper level* courses.

*Upper-level Mechanical Engineering courses are defined as ME courses numbered 4100 or above.  However, upper level courses in other College of Engineering departments may also have 3000 numbers in some cases.  Students should consult their advisors for clarification on whether or not a non-ME course is classified as upper-level.  See the Policy for Numbering of ME Courses for more information on ME course numbering.

EFA Course Substitution Request

Students that would like to request an EFA course substitution must complete the ME EFA Subsitution Form. 

Approved Flexible Electives

Each of the standard EFAs allows for the completion of one “flexible elective” course that is not included in the list of qualifying electives given in the standard EFA documents.  In addition to classes that fall into categories (i) through (iv), as described in the EFA documents, students are permitted to select the flexible elective from the following list of approved courses (category v).  Contact the Undergraduate Committee chair to request consideration of courses to be added to this list.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:

TDSN:4250 Hand-Built Bicycle

MTLS:4960 Hand-Built Bicycle II

OSTC:3750 Fundamentals of Micro and Nano-Fabrication