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Independent Research - ME 490, ME 590

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Note: The guidelines on this page for ME 490 are only for Fall 2015. Starting Winter 2015, students should follow the guidelines and submissions for RISE.

Two courses taught in the Mechanical Engineering department, ME 490 and ME 590, provide students the opportunity to participate in individual research projects with faculty support and supervision. ME 490 is available for undergraduate students while ME 590 is for graduate students. Both independent research courses share a common registration and report submission process. The steps outlined below describe how the process works, as well as what is expected of the student, the faculty member and the Academic Services Office.

Step 1: Student submits a 490/590 proposal

  • It is assumed by the time the student submits this proposal, they have already talked to a faculty member about supervising their independent study.
  • The proposal must be submitted online via the ME 490/590 Proposal Submission link one week before the drop/add deadline of the semester. The purpose of this deadline is to give the faculty member time to evaluate the proposal and make a decision before the drop/add deadline.
  • The faculty member does not have to be an ME faculty member to use the system. If the faculty member is not in the ME dropdown list, the student will have to provide the system with additional information about the faculty member.
  • The student can submit only one proposal per term.
  • Submitting a proposal does not register the student for ME 490/590. The student must go to Wolverine Access and register for the class. For details about to register for this class, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Graduate Handbook.

Step 2a: Faculty member reviews the proposal

  • After the student submits the proposal, the faculty member should receive an email asking them to review and approve or reject the proposal online.
  • Visiting the link in the email, the faculty member can see they have three options:
  1. Approve the proposal
  2. Reject the proposal
  3. Send it back to the student for changes. When the student makes changes and resubmits the proposal, the faculty member will receive another email with the same options.
  • Faculty can always see the status of their students’ proposals, as well as projects they previously supervised, by visiting their faculty index.

Step 2b (for ME 490 only): Undergrad Chair review the proposal

  • After the faculty member approves the ME 490 proposal, the UG chair should receive an email asking for a review and to approve or reject the proposal online.
  • All proposals must be approved by the UG chair in order for the student to get credit for ME 490.

Step 3: Independent study project proceeds

  • The student completes their approved research project under the supervision of their faculty member.

Step 4: Student uploads their final report

  • The student must upload their own final report via the ME 490/590 Report Submission link by the last day of classes of the semester.
  • The faculty member cannot upload a report on behalf of the student.

Step 5: Faculty member reviews the final report

  • After the student uploads their final report, the faculty member should receive an email asking them to review and approve or reject the final report online.
  • The independent study is not considered to be complete until the supervising faculty member approves the final report online.
  • Faculty can always see the status of their students’ proposals, as well as projects they previously supervised, by visiting their faculty index.

Ready to submit your proposal?

You can do so through the ME 490/590 Proposal Submission link.

Ready to submit your final report?

You can do so through the ME 490/590 Report Submission link.


Working with non-ME Faculty members:

Students who wish to complete work with a faculty member within the CoE who is not associated with the ME department must complete the following:

  1. The student needs to define the project with his/her non-ME faculty advisor.
  2. The non-ME advisor needs to find a ME "shadow" advisor (this can be the Grad Chair) to sign off on the project and the grade.
  3. After 1 and 2 are complete, the student needs to sign up for ME 590 via Wolverine Access, fill out the online ME 590 proposal form via the ME 590 website, complete the research, and then submit a final report to the ME 590 website -- just as all ME 590 students must.
  4. The proposal and final report are signed off on, and evaluated by the non-ME faculty advisor. The non-ME advisor recommends S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) for the number of credits and the ME advisor submits the grade.
  5. If the above steps are not completed by the end of finals, the student gets a U.