Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is among the most diversified of the traditional engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers build machines to extend our physical capabilities, develop techniques to efficiently convert existing and novel energy sources into useful forms, and design functional materials with targeted properties.

The role of the mechanical engineer has changed dramatically in recent decades with the extensive use of large-scale computing, nanoscale sensors and actuators, and novel materials (e.g., carbon nanotubes, biologically inspired materials, and metamaterials). Demands for increased energy efficiency, enhanced performance of materials on smaller length scales and faster timescales, and reduced environmental impact require that students understand the fundamentals of mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and materials science.

In all these tasks, the utmost consideration of the modern mechanical engineer is improving the quality of human life. Engineers must be constantly aware both of the finiteness of Earth’s resources and of the impact of progress in science and engineering on the environment.

The program in Mechanical Engineering provides a broad education in the foundations of the disciplines mentioned above and prepares students both for graduate studies in these areas and for entry into appropriate positions in research laboratories, industry, or government.

Mechanical Engineering offers three degree programs. The B.S. in Mechanical Engineering is the most intensive program and is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. The B.S. in Engineering Sciences (Mechanical) requires fewer courses, but also allows greater flexibility. Students seeking a strong background in mechanical engineering along with the opportunity to take additional courses in other scientific and engineering disciplines, the liberal arts, or social sciences should choose this program. The B.A. in Engineering Sciences (Mechanical) is less intensive. It is appropriate for students who would like some background in mechanical engineering but whose career plans lie in other fields, such as law, medicine, or business.

Prospective majors should take two terms of MATH 112, Calculus of Functions of One Variable I, and MATH 115, Calculus of Functions of One Variable II, and ENAS 151, Multivariable Calculus for Engineers, or the equivalent; two terms of PHYS 200, 201, Multivariable Calculus for Engineers, or PHYS 180, 181, University Physics; and two terms of Physics laboratory (PHYS 165L, 166L, General Physics Laboratory, or PHYS 205L, 206L, Modern Physical Measurement). PHYS 170, 171, University Physics for the Life Sciences, without a laboratory is acceptable for the B.A. degree.

There will be a meeting in the fall for freshmen interested in the major. Details will be published in the Calendar for the Opening Days. Further details of the program can be found on the departmental Web site. The director of undergraduate studies (DUS) welcomes consultation with students about their program of study at any time.