Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch

Our program is cancelled for Summer 2020.

The Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch program helps students like you—incoming first-year students—get a head start on your degree by taking a high-demand course in the month before your freshman year.

Benefits include:

  • Starting the Mechanical Engineering course progression with confidence
  • Added flexibility in your fall schedule
  • Getting to know College of Engineering facilities and resources
  • Meeting students in your program
  • Exploring the UW–Madison campus
  • Becoming familiar with Mechanical Engineering and the career paths associated with this major
Program Snapshot
WhatMechanical Engineering Summer Launch
Whencancelled for 2020
WhoStudents interested in mechanical engineering, students in a different engineering track or those who have not yet chosen a major
WhyTo get a head start on your academic career and make a smooth transition to college
HowAttend SOAR, take a course, get to know campus and other engineering students
CostAbout $3,004 for Wisconsin residents, $6,386 for nonresidents and $6,581 for international residents

Program Details

The program is open to students who have accepted an offer of admission to the UW–Madison College of Engineering for fall 2020, and who are interested in Mechanical Engineering.

If you are still exploring your interests, the course in this program can satisfy introduction to Engineering requirements for other engineering majors, too.

Contact us via email ( to determine if Summer Launch is a good fit for you. We also ask that participants sign a contract to live in University Housing for the 2020–21 academic year if they plan to live on campus during the program.

The program runs Tuesday, July 21 to Wednesday, August 26, 2020. You will attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the other program participants (SOAR date still to be determined). Program activities will be scheduled throughout your time on campus.

Move-in begins: Tuesday, July 21

Summer course: Monday, July 27 to Saturday, August 22

Optional co-curricular programming: Sunday, August 23 to Wednesday, August 26

The academic program consists of ME 201: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering, a three-credit course required for the Mechanical Engineering major. You will participate in lab and discussion sections, and will be expected to complete the same rigorous coursework you would in the fall or spring. You will also enjoy a reduced class size and unique activities to get your Mechanical Engineering experience off to an amazing start.

ME 201 will introduce you to Mechanical Engineering in the context of hands-on projects that are carried out in small groups.  You will obtain a shop pass and design, build, and test small prototypes.  Software that is particularly useful to ME students will be introduced and the course will culminate in a professional report discussing your activities.  ME 201 is meant to provide some engineering context for the math, physics and chemistry classes that you will be taking freshman year as well as providing you with a preview of future ME classes and a glimpse into the opportunities afforded by your ME degree.

By taking ME 201 in the summer, you will complete one of the requirements for your Mechanical Engineering degree early, which will give you some additional flexibility in the Mechanical Engineering progression.

You will have lots of opportunities to have fun and get to know your classmates both inside and outside of the classroom. This includes experiencing campus favorites like the Terrace and Hoofers outings, and exploring Madison classics like the Dane County Farmer’s Market.

Summer Launch participants live in Humphrey Hall. Located along the UW–Madison lakeshore, this University Housing residence hall is a short walk to the College of Engineering campus. Rooms are fully furnished and have air conditioning during the program. Your roommate will be a fellow Summer Launch participant. You can move in beginning on Tuesday, July 21, before your SOAR session starts. If your parents are attending SOAR with you, they will need to find separate accommodations (the SOAR website has information about different options for them).

Near the end of the program, you will move from Kronshage Hall to your assigned University Housing location for the 2020–21 academic year. This will happen before most other students arrive on campus. Program participants who live on campus during the program are required to sign a contract to live in University Housing for the 2020–21 academic year.

Students with a binding Academic Year 2020–21 University Housing contract who rank Humphrey as their #1 preference by the hall preferences due date of May 1 may be able to keep their same room from the Summer Launch program for the Academic Year 2020–21. More information on the hall preferences process can be found on the University Housing website.

You will be able to use your Wiscard to pay for food during the program, and you can choose how much money you put on your Wiscard for this purpose. You may purchase food at several different locations across campus. For more information about dining on campus, see the University Housing dining page.

The estimates below are provided for planning purposes and are subject to minor variations as final summer 2020 tuition and fee information becomes available in the spring.

A limited number of program scholarships are available. To be considered for a scholarship, submit your program application by April 8, 2020 and select the checkbox indicating you would like to be considered for scholarships.

Wisconsin resident Nonresident International
Tuition & fees $1,601 $4,983 $5,178
Course materials $75 $75 $75
Housing $828 $828 $828
Direct program costs (total of above) $2,504 $5,886 $6,081
Estimated dining costs
(paid separately through Wiscard)
$500 $500 $500
Total, including dining estimate $3,004 $6,386 $6,581

The Office of the Registrar determines Wisconsin residence for tuition purposes. Learn more at

Some students may also be eligible for financial aid during the program. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid with any questions.


Only freshmen who have been offered fall admission in the College of Engineering at UW–Madison are eligible to apply.

The program application begins February 14, 2020. Applications are due by May 1, 2020. Students wishing to be considered for scholarships should apply by April 8, 2020.

Students should accept their offer of admission to UW–Madison before completing the Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch application. 

Students will be notified about the status of their application within two weeks of applying.

Is SOAR included?

Yes, SOAR is part of Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch. SOAR dates are still to be determined. Summer Launch participants will stay in their program housing in Humphrey Hall during SOAR. You are welcome to have parents or guests attend SOAR with you, but they will need to find their own overnight accommodation.

Can I attend Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch if I am not majoring in Mechanical Engineering?

The program is designed for students interested in mechanical engineering. If you are still exploring your interests, the course in this program can satisfy introduction to Engineering requirements for other engineering majors too. Contact us via email ( to determine if one of the programs is a good fit for you.

Is placement testing included in the Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch program?

No, placement testing is not included in the Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch program. Participants will need to complete any placement testing before they attend the program. More information on placement testing is available on the SOAR and Testing and Evaluation Services websites.

Do I need a certain math placement to participate in the program?

No. ME 201 does not have any prerequisites; you can participate regardless of math placement.

Can I work while enrolled in Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch?

We do not recommend it. This program is fast-paced and will require a significant time commitment every day. In addition to spending time in lecture, discussion, and lab, you will have homework to complete outside of class.

Can I take another course while enrolled in this program?

No. This program should be considered a full-time academic commitment.

How will I find out if I’m accepted?

You will be notified at the email address provided on your application, so please provide an email address that you check regularly. You will hear from us within two weeks after we receive your application.

Have a question not answered here? Contact us at