Department of Mechanical Engineering

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This entry is currently under development. Please do not consider the entry authoritative until it has been completed.

Previously named: Mechanical Engineering and Drawing

Established: 1950
Mechanical Engineering students watching a small robot.Record group/Fonds PR; Series 1; Sub-series 4; Item 6427[19--].

History: The study of Mechanical Engineering was first offered as a part of other Engineering courses at the University of New Brunswick. In 1909, Mechanical Engineering and Drawing courses appeared in the UNB calendar of that year under the Department of Applied Science. These courses were designed for third and fourth year Engineering students and included Machine Design and Construction, The Heat Engine, and Kinematics. By 1922, there were still only three Mechanical Engineering courses offered, along with mandatory laboratory work. This was reduced to just two courses in 1927 which were Machine Design and Shop Work in the third year and Power Plants and Prime Movers in the fourth year. Between the 1920s and 1940s, the Engineering disciplines at UNB experienced slowed, yet steady progress. Few variations and expansions in the curricula were a result of this considerable inactivity. There were no significant changes to the Mechanical Engineering curriculum during the 1930s and the two courses were still offered by 1942. After 1945, further changes were made to the Mechanical Engineering curriculum. This was largely due to increases in undergraduate enrollment following the end of the Second World War. By 1948, the number of Mechanical Engineering courses available grew to seven. The Department of Mechanical Engineering was officially established in 1950. The first new degrees were awarded three years later. Courses offerings grew rapidly under the Department and by 1960, there were twenty-five courses, including a sub-section for Drawing courses. Subjects included Elements of Machines, Heat Engineering, Heat Engines, Industrial Engineering, Descriptive Geometry, Physical Metallurgy, and Aerodynamics.

The 1970s and 1980s introduced greater advances within the Department including courses that focused on communications, computer applications, and networking, thanks to increased computer usage at the University. Forty-two courses under Mechanical Engineering were available by 1976. The early to mid-1980s saw a relatively consistent curricula, averaging at thirty-nine course offerings. There were around fifteen professors, including the Department's chair, during the 1982-83 academic year. A program option in Nuclear and Power Plant Engineering was added to the Department in the 1986-87 academic calendar, which was also already available through the Chemical Engineering department. A gradual increase in course offerings occurred in the latter half of the 1980s. There were forty-nine courses by 1990, including Optimization and Computer Aided Design, Advanced Manufacturing Methods, Random Vibration, and Machinery Vibration and Noise. In 1992, another program option, Fire Protection Engineering, was introduced by the Department. Newer courses were offered as a result, such as Intro to Fire Protection Engineering, Fire and Materials, Fire Protection Systems Design, Functional and Life Safety Analysis, and Fire Phenomena. Altogether, courses offerings had jumped from forty-nine in 1990 to sixty-one by 1993. By the 1995-96 academic year there were fifteen instructors working within the Department and sixty-two courses. A new program option called Manufacturing Engineering was added to the curriculum in 1997. Some of the courses offered around this time included Composite Materials, Mechanical Behaviour of Materials, and Ethics and Professional Practice. Course offerings were downsized considerably in the 1999-2000 academic year, going from sixty-five in the previous year to forty-three. Despite the apparent decline, another program option, Instrumentation and Control, was added the same year. By 2001, some earlier courses were restored and brought the number up to fifty-eight. Some offerings included Flight Mechanics, The Engineering Profession, and Predictive Control and Intelligent Sensors.

There were eighteen instructors teaching in the Department by 2002. In the 2003-04 academic year, a new program option was offered called Mechatronics, which integrated mechanical, electronic, and computer engineering. There were sixty-four course offerings that year and around twenty-two instructors. A Biomedical option in Mechanical Engineering was added to the curriculum in 2007. Some of the courses available in the 2008-09 academic year included Cogeneration and Combined Cycle Power Generation, Fracture Mechanics, and Introduction to Flow-Induced Vibrations. There were sixty-four courses offered and twenty-three instructors under the Department by 2011. Course offerings dropped slightly to sixty by the 2012-13 academic year, with twenty-seven instructors working in the Department.

Physical location: Engineering Building

Faculty: Engineering

Notes: The year that a certain department was established can be a subjective figure. For the purpose of this wiki, the year that a department is considered first established is the first year it was listed in the academic calendar as an independent chair with no other affiliation, unless documentation can demonstrate otherwise.


  • Baird, A. Foster. “The History of Engineering at the University of New Brunswick”. The University of New Brunswick Memorial Volume. Ed. Alfred G. Bailey. Fredericton: University of New Brunswick, 1950. 75-86.
  • Harris, Robin S. A History of Higher Education in Canada, 1663-1960. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976.
  • UA Case 110.
  • UNB Calendars (UA RG 86) 1909, 1922, 1927, 1935, 1942-43, 1948-49, 1950-51, 1954-55, 1960-61, 1972-73, 1976-77, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2011-12, 2012-2013.

--HollyMiller 07 March 2013 (ADT)
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