Mechanical engineering programs are offered at the undergraduate levels. This is a broad field, so prospective students with interest in a particular subfield may want to identify a college that provides the concentrations they seek.
Top 10 Undergraduate Engineering Schools
Here are the top rated schools offering mechanical engineering programs:
|University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-16)|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$46,704|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Post-Grad Certificate||$46,320|
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,431 in-state, $38,139 out-of-state|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$45,390|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$12,204 in-state, $32,396 out-of-state|
|University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$15,054 in-state, $30,214 out-of-state|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh, PA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergrad: $50,665|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,856 in-state, $43,476 out-of-state|
|Purdue University - West Lafayette||West Lafayette, IN||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Post-Grad Certificate||$10,002 in-state, $28,804 out-of-state|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$49,116|
School Selection Criteria
Students can choose between mechanical engineering programs at different degree levels based on their previous educational experience and future career goals. Other considerations for students in this field include the following:
- Students should research the school's lab training facilities in order to make sure they will have the chance to work with industry-standard technologies.
- Undergraduates who want to continue on to research-based graduate programs may want to find out if the school offers undergraduate research opportunities. Prospective graduate students should look for schools with faculty members that share similar research interests and might act as thesis or dissertation advisors.
- Students who intend to go into industry may want to look for a school that has relationships with local engineering companies, which can lead to internships and/or future employment opportunities.
- Undergraduates interested in pursuing a concentration within the field may prefer a school that offers a formal specialization in that subject.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Bachelor of Science (BS) in Mechanical Engineering programs provide a wide-ranging overview of the field. To begin, students take introductory courses in calculus, physics and chemistry, which provide the educational foundation necessary for higher-level studies in topics such as thermodynamics and systems design. At many schools, students are required to complete an advanced design project during their senior year. There are also schools at which students can choose to concentrate their elective coursework in a particular area, such as biomechanics, biomedical engineering, robotics, aerospace or applied mathematics.
Master's Degree Programs
Degree options at the master's level include a Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering and a professional Master of Engineering (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering. MS programs include advanced technical coursework in the field, and students may be able to choose between thesis- and non-thesis tracks. Thesis students write a final paper based on empirical investigations in a particular topic of interest, while non-thesis students may be required to complete a practicum. In MEng programs, students are specifically prepared for industry jobs, so they include business and management classes alongside advanced engineering courses. In addition, students need to complete an internship prior to graduation.
Doctoral Degree Programs
At the doctoral level, students can earn either a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Engineering Science (EngScD) in Mechanical Engineering. These programs are designed for students who want to conduct independent academic research in a specialized area within the field of mechanical engineering under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may be required to teach undergraduate engineering courses during the 5-6 years it usually takes to finish a doctoral degree. These programs culminate with the submission of a final dissertation and oral defense. Graduates usually pursue academic careers at research universities.
Post-Graduate Certificate Programs
Experienced engineers who want to specialize their training in a particular aspect of the field may choose to enroll in a post-graduate certificate programs. Some certificates provide advanced studies in advanced technical topics, like digital signal processing or applied heat transfer, while others provide more business-focused coursework relating to organizational management, quality control and successful marketing in the mechanical engineering industry. Often, these programs are offered in distance-learning formats so that students can continue working while earning the certificate. Programs can take one to three years to complete, depending on the student's schedule.
The top mechanical engineering schools all offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, and a few offer post-graduate certificates as well. Research opportunities, internship availability and