Sustainability in Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Courses at 100 Universities Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract; Mechanical engineers have an important role in contributing to a more sustainable future. However, the extent that sustainability is currently being integrated into mechanical engineering (ME) curricula is unclear. This research characterized sustainability integration in undergraduate ME courses at 100 universities. Criterion-based selection resulted in a range of institution types and geographic locations (including institutions outside the United States); 93 of the 100 programs were accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET. For 90 institutions, the data came from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability for Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Course catalog information was used for ten additional schools, in addition to comparing catalog data to STARS for ten institutions. Overall, sustainability topics were found in at least one elective or required undergraduate ME course at 83 institutions; only 43 institutions included sustainability in at least one required ME course; 16 institutions offered ten or more ME courses that integrated sustainability topics. Courses with sustainability integration at the greatest number of institutions were thermodynamics, engineering design, introduction to engineering, and heat transfer. Few of these courses appeared to integrate all three sustainability pillars (environmental, social, and economic). Leading institutions for sustainability integrations across the curriculum were identified. This work offers a picture of sustainability incorporation in undergraduate mechanical engineering programs, with the hope of catalyzing greater and more visible sustainability integration in the future.

publication date

  • January 1, 2023

has restriction

  • bronze

Date in CU Experts

  • December 14, 2023 3:40 AM

Full Author List

  • Tisdale JK; Bielefeldt AR

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2770-3495

Additional Document Info


  • 2