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The Mechanical and Automation Engineering (MAE) programme emphasises the influence of modern automation technologies on current and future developments in the field of mechanical engineering. The curriculum balances fundamental theory and hands-on practical experience with the goal of producing engineers who can innovate and adapt to our technologically evolving society.

The curriculum covers fundamental knowledge within the areas of mechanical and automation engineering, including mechanics and materials, thermodynamics, control, manufacturing and electronics. Students can also pursue more in-depth knowledge in subjects of their choice, such as computer-aided design and graphics, robotics, mechatronics, intelligence systems, engineering optimization and micromechanical systems (MEMS). Additionally, MAE students can optionally choose to specialise in one of three streams: Design and Manufacturing; Mechatronics; or Robotics and Automation.

Courses in engineering ethics, business and entrepreneurship, and technical communication, along with a year-long capstone project, are included in the programme to better prepare students to become professional practitioners. The Department also offers our students various undergraduate summer internships, work-study programmes and international exchange opportunities.

Upon graduation, MAE students enjoy careers as mechanical, production, control and design engineers, among other professions. They can also pursue graduate studies in their specialised areas of interest in Hong Kong or overseas.

Mechanical Engineering with a Modern Face

A passionate problem-solver, Malvin Kiman from Indonesia enjoys studying subjects such as mathematics and physics and likes taking up challenges. He made up his mind of choosing a major in college that could prepare him for further exploration. By doing extensive research from the internet and seeking advice from seniors, he found the Mechanical and Automation Engineering (MAE) programme at CUHK was the ideal one and applied it without second thought three years ago.

Malvin said, ‘As I understood it, most MAE programmes stand for mechanical and aerospace engineering. But here in CUHK, MAE stands for mechanical and automation engineering which makes it unique. The programme combines traditional fundamental engineering discipline with cutting-edge knowledge in automation—the self-operability of the systems demanding minimum intervention from humans.’

Striving to nurture students who contribute their knowledge in innovations of mechanical and automated systems for the creation of a better world, the programme emphasizes both fundamental theory and practical hands-on skills and provides extensive opportunities for students to gain new knowledge and skills both inside and outside the classrooms.

Prof. Liao Wei-Hsin, , Chairman of the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, said, ‘Our programme offers three streams, namely, design and manufacturing, mechatronics, and robotics and automation. Students are free to choose their fields of specialization.’

Malvin appreciated the idea of specialized streams. ‘Initially, I thought that CUHK’s MAE programme would be fairly similar to any other mechanical engineering programme. After studying the vast range of elective courses of the MAE programme, I found this programme is no ordinary one, especially for having the robotics and automation stream. MAE programme provides a modern approach to engineering.’

To enhance students’ practical training through real-life experience, summer internships and one-year work-study programmes have been provided. ‘In addition, we offer a five-week summer industrial training which has been turned into a one-unit course since 2016–17,’ said Professor Liao.

Students are encouraged and provided with financial support to participate in regional and international competitions such as Robocon, Greater China Design competitions, Professor Charles K. Kao Student Creativity Awards, and Challenge Cup competitions, to test out their innovative ideas and apply what they have learnt.

Malvin pointed out that international developments and global engagement is another special feature of the programme. ‘We have many opportunities to participate in research projects conducted by the faculty members starting from the second year. It opens the door to collaboration with overseas universities and exchange experiences.’

Professor Liao added, ‘The programme also encourages excellent research output to be disseminated in the form of oral or poster presentations at international conferences, with students involved in such events supported by the department or research grants of the related faculty members. Students with excellent performance on their final-year-projects will be supported to attend international conferences and exhibitions to present their works. These international events open up the students’ global horizons and improve their competitiveness upon graduation.’

Students can also pursue minor programmes in energy technology, as well as those offered by other engineering or non-engineering departments or the Mechanical and Automation Engineering-Business Administration Double degree programme.

When asked about his life in CUHK, Malvin said, ‘I like the teaching staff most. Not only are professors good teachers, but they are also willing to take time to aid my understanding of the subjects.’

He continued, ‘I have had a wonderful time with the local students in my class. Despite an apparent language barrier, the local friends I have would always try their best to communicate with me in English and include me in their groups, so much so that they would invite me over for an “open semester meal” or “end semester meal”. All the local friends I have made learning here awesome.’

Professor Liao emphasized that the programme takes students’ feedback seriously. ‘We make the best effort to address and resolve the issues raised by students in the Staff-Student Consultative Committee. Student representatives were invited to join our Department Board meetings and participate in discussions on non-confidential matters.

‘The programme assigns mentors to all undergraduate students to advise them on their studies and problems they may encounter.’

Malvin said, ‘I am looking into engineering consultancy. However, I firmly believe that with everything I learnt from the MAE programme, be it from the courses, the training, or even just fruitful discussions with friends and professors, I believe I am able to fit in almost anywhere in society, to contribute to it, and hopefully help make it a better place.’

Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2019