Engineering 101 Course Description



Laura Alford, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Laura Burdick, Computer Science and Engineering


There will be one kick-off meeting that is live via Zoom (day and time TBD, but probably sometime on Tuesday, Jan. 19). There are no synchronous lectures. The instructor listed for the lecture time is not relevant, because this is just one large course. Online prep work will be due on Mondays and Tuesdays. Labs are synchronous during the time listed in Wolverine Access, so please sign up for a time that works with your schedule. Please Note: There is not a required textbook for this course. 

Course Description:

The objective of Engineering 101 is to introduce students in Engineering to the algorithmic method that drives the information age. Algorithms are an organized means to construct the solution of a problem, structured as a well-defined set of steps that can be carried out by a mechanism such as a computer.

Engineering 101 focuses on the development of algorithms to solve problems of relevance in engineering practice and on the implementation of these algorithms using high-level computer languages. It is centered on quantitative and numerical problems that are suited to computational solutions. These often arise as part of larger, more complex problems in engineering practice.

Engineering 101 also ties itself to the introductory physics and math courses, and provides concrete examples of some of the concepts being covered in those classes. Sample problem types might include:

  • Finding area and volume
  • Simulating statistical processes
  • Data analysis
  • Physical simulation
  • Simulating complex systems with simple rules
  • Minimization and optimization
  • Computer graphics
  • Logic Puzzles

In addition to the problem-solving component, students who take Engineering 101 will learn aspects of the C++ and MATLAB programming languages. C++ and MATLAB are used today in many fields of engineering. C++ is an industrial standard for software development, while MATLAB is popular with engineers and scientists and has powerful capabilities for handling computation involving matrices and for visualizing data using 2-D and 3-D graphics. Students will learn how to program in these languages in order to develop algorithms.

Important note: You must receive a grade of “C” or better in Engineering 101 to fulfill the requirement. Please do not email the professors to request an override. Engineering students should contact the Office of First Year Programs at and Non-Engineering students (cross-campus transfer) should complete this form.