Mechanical Engineering Majors: Information and Requirements

Mechanical engineering students study mathematics and science, applying this training to the field's key focus of engineering design and innovation. For more details about the curriculum, admission requirements and possible occupations for graduates, read on.

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Essential Information

A bachelor's degree program in mechanical engineering provides a broad knowledge base that engineers can use in fields ranging from designing medical equipment to working on international space stations. Courses may include classroom and hands-on work in control dynamics, robotics, acoustics and thermal fluids. Students should look for programs accredited by ABET, the organization that regulates engineering education.


Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering

Admission to mechanical engineering bachelor's programs requires a high school diploma or GED certificate. Most programs take 4-5 years to complete. Many programs require a comprehensive capstone project at the end of study.

Some programs may allow students to explore several engineering options while others may have a specific focus within mechanical engineering. For example, some degree programs focus specifically on engineering in the oceanographic arena. Other schools have structured their programs for students who plan to continue on to graduate school. Graduation requirements vary from one school to the next as a result of these directional differences. Courses in mechanical engineering programs cover topics such as:

  • Instrumentation and measurement
  • Biological system fields and forces
  • Ocean systems design
  • Acoustics
  • Naval architecture and design
  • Mass and heat transfer

Employment Outlook

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in mechanical engineering is expected to rise by 4% for the decade 2018-2028. Mechanical engineers who know current software related to engineering may have better job opportunities.

Continuing Education

Both master's and doctorate programs are available for mechanical engineering students at a number of accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. Admission to these programs may be competitive. Many graduate programs prefer to admit students with high grade point averages and undergraduate degrees in mechanical engineering. However, some schools will admit students with engineering minors or degrees in a related field, provided those students complete additional coursework.

Another option that may help the mechanical engineer build her or his skills is an internship. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) offers guidance on how to find an internship program that works with the student's specific career goals. Student career centers are also good resources for locating an appropriate internship program.

Mechanical engineering bachelor's programs include both fundamental engineering coursework and general education courses. Some programs may allow students to specialize in sub-disciplines that interest them, or they may be designed to prepare students for graduate study.

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