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Frequently Asked Advising Questions

When Do I have to be advised?

All students must be advised at least once a year.  Students with odd numbered IDs are seen in Spring semesters, and those with even numbered IDs are seen in the Fall semester. Students who have not yet completed 30 hours of courses at UTK must be seen every semester—this includes transfer students who may have completed more that thirty hours at different colleges or universities. Students on academic probation must also been seen every semester.

If you do not have required advising, you can still meet with us by making an appointment during times when we are not meeting with students who have required advising. We can always make room for emergencies, but students do need to plan for semesters in which they do not have required advising.

How do I make an appointment?

For your required appointment, you will receive an email containing a link you can use to schedule with an advisor. For other appointments, you can go to Vol Academic Connect (accessible from your “MyUTK” page). Choose “Tickle College of Engineering” and then “Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering Advising” to see available appointment times. Note that there may be times when availability is limited due to our required advising appointments. We will always be able to work in students if the situation necessitates.

What is a DARS?

DARS is a very useful tool, so every student should be familiar with it. DARS stands for “Degree Audit Report System” and as such it is exactly that—an audit of everything required for any student’s major. Students can access their DARS through MyUTK, and the DARS will show the students name, major, catalog year, and all requirements for graduation. DARS can also show the requirements for any declared minors as well.

How do I make an academic plan?

Students should always be in charge of their academic careers, and that means that it is essential for students to create academic plans showing a pathway to graduation.  The best way to do this is by using your DARS in conjunction with your academic curriculum sheet for your catalog year. The curriculum sheets can be found here: Those sheets show prerequisites, corequisites and the terms (FA, SP, SU) in which courses are offered. We recommend using the DARS to confirm which requirements for your degree have already been met, and then plan by ensuring that the remaining courses are scheduled in a way that works with their pre- and co-requisite classes.

What are the requirements for the Cook Grand Challenge Honors program?

Students who are members of (or interested in) the Cook Grand Challenge Honors program (aka “Engineering Honors”) should look over the program’s website here:

It is also important to note that participants in this program are required to complete certain upper and lower division honors classes. Those requirements (including your options) are listed in your DARS.

Also, students are required to complete Breadth requirements as described in the “Requirements” tab of the above linked web page. Students pursuing this program need to complete a minimum of one set of experiences at the intermediate level and one at the introductory level in two separate fields of research, interdisciplinary coursework, entrepreneurship, global experiences, and service-learning. Again, see the website for complete details.

How does the 5 Year BS/MS program work?

The 5 Year BS/MS program is open to seniors (those within two semesters of graduation) who have GPA of 3.4 or above. The program allows qualified students to take up to 9 hours of approved graduate level courses as department or technical electives. These courses can then be used toward both BS and MS requirements.  Taking these classes does not replace the need to apply for graduate school. All interested students must discuss their class plans with the head of our graduate program for approval of classes. For assistance scheduling these meetings, please contact Julie Knoefel at

How can I find and add a minor?

Minors are never required, but they can be a great way to explore topics of interest outside your major or to get some academic experience in courses that may work well with a student’s career goals.  A list of all minors can be found on the university’s online catalog at  Popular minors for MABE students include Reliability & Maintainability Engineering and Business Administration, and sometimes people seek minors within the department (such as a Mechanical Engineering minor for an Aerospace Engineering student). The online catalog will show all requirements for a minor within a given catalog year.

If you decide that you want to add a minor, just let your advisor know. Depending on the minor that interests you, we can either add it or point you toward that minor’s home department for future discussions.

How do I get involved in undergraduate research?

Undergrad research can be a great way to learn more about subjects that interest you and to gain experience that can be useful in either the job market or as preparation for graduate studies. There is no open listing of available opportunities in MABE, but students who are interested in finding opportunities for undergraduate research are encouraged to discuss the possibility with faculty members who are doing research. The best way to discover which faculty members are doing research is by looking at their profiles on the department’s faculty website ( and by talking with instructors during office hours.

The university also has The Office of Undergraduate Research, and they have frequent meetings about how undergraduates can get started with research. Look here for more information: Their office may provide opportunities for research outside the MABE department and even UT itself.

How can I find internships and co-ops?

Getting work experience while still an undergraduate is one of the best ways to help in the job hunt after graduation. The best way to start the search for work experience is by consulting with The Engineering Professional Practice Office at  Be sure to read all of their information carefully and register with their office.

What do I need to do to prepare for my co-op?

If you plan to be gone on co-op during a fall or spring semester, you will need to work with the Engineering Professional Practice office so that they can assist you with all documents and actions that need to be completed beforehand. The Engineering Professional Practice web-site is

From an advising standpoint (interaction with the MABE advising office), you will need an up-to-date academic/co-op plan that will reflect how your co-op will affect your graduation date. On this academic co-op plan, you will need to list all of the remaining courses for your degree (from this point forward through graduation) along with the terms in which you plan to take them. You will need to include any terms that you plan to be away on co-op as well as any courses you plan to take during a summer term. Please remember to consider pre-requisite and co-requisite courses as you plan out your future schedule. Also make note of which classes are offered only during a fall or spring only term so that they are placed in the appropriate term.

Academic  curriculum maps for your major and the catalog year that you are following can be found by visiting Please use the appropriate  curriculum map to help you plan out your upcoming terms. You may want to run a degree audit (you can run one from the My Resources tab on your myUTK page) to help you determine which degree requirements have already been completed.

Once you have completed the degree plan, send it to your MABE advisor via e-mail so that we can review it for approval and signature. If adjustments are needed we will let you know. Once you have an approved degree plan, you can forward it to the Engineering Professional Practice office.

Where can I find information about other kinds of jobs? What about jobs after graduation?

The Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration (CCD) is another resource for both current students and alumni when it comes to the job hunt. People who are searching for the best career options, who need help working on resumes, or who want to practice and improve their interview skills all find useful information from the CCD. Explore their website ( to learn all about what CCD offers.

What defines a technical elective and departmental elective for Mechanical Engineering?

Department electives for mechanical engineering students are ME, AE or BME courses that are 300 level or above and not already specifically listed as a requirement for your degree. The options vary from semester to semester but there are some courses that are consistently offered in either a fall or spring term (or both). You do need to check to make sure that you have the pre-requisites for any course that you choose to take.

Technical electives are STEM course (science, technology, engineering [any discipline], or math) that are 300 level or above.  This includes upper division chemistry/physics/biology and computer science courses. You can also consider a upper division (300+) course in another engineering discipline. Math courses, with the exception of Math 400, are also acceptable. There are exceptions to the 300 and above rule for technical electives. These exceptions are Stat 251 and IE 200, along with CHEM 269, all of which are approved technical electives for mechanical engineers.

Are there opportunities for study abroad?

There are many opportunities and options for students who wish to take classes abroad. In general, UT’s Program’s Abroad office is always a good place to start and their website is here: They can help with general information and UT requirements for students who wish to study in another country either for a whole fall or spring semester or during the summer. Within the Tickle College of Engineering there are also study abroad opportunities for both full semester exchange programs as well as faculty-directed study abroad courses. Look at our Engineering Global Experiences site to start looking into these options.