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Grad Program: Mechanical Engineering

Basic Information

Mechanical Engineering is often thought of as the most basic type of engineering work – after all, the wheel is probably the first of this field’s major inventions. More recently (i.e. the 19th Century) mechanical engineers were responsible for much of the Industrial Revolution’s innovations: the steam engine, steel manufacture, even time zones. Though the field can sometimes seem less glamorous than Civil or Electrical Engineering, the potential for doing innovative, exciting, and important work is definitely there!

Some typical courses of study in Mechanical Engineering (ME) include the mechanics of solids and fluids, thermodynamics, heat transfer, manufacturing engineering, robotics, kinematics, dynamics and vibrations, controls, and power generation. In addition and in combination with these, an ME student can also potentially work on bioengineering, computer-aided design and graphics, automated mechanism design, modern and optimal control, flexible manufacturing, materials processing, and continuous web manufacturing. Also, computer-aided manufacturing and computer-aided design are new focuses in ME that have become very important in the last few years. What does all this mean in regular English? If you choose to pursue a higher degree in Mechanical Engineering, you will learn how things work. This will allow you to potentially invent new techniques and machines for manufacturing, or to streamline those than already exist.

This last point is particularly important for today’s mechanical engineers. With shrinking resources, and new awareness of the damaging effects of industry and manufacture, ME grads will do well to particularly focus on innovations that both push the field forward and avoid causing further harm.

As with other engineering fields, qualified female applicants are in high demand in the workforce.

Degree Information

The typical Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering takes one year of full-time study. A sampling of master’s programs in the field of Mechanical Engineering includes: Manufacturing Systems Management, Aerospace Engineering, and Packaging of Electronic and Optical Devices.

Doctorate programs are mainly for those individuals who aspire to teach at the university level or to engage in some serious research and development work. The doctoral degree typically conferred is either a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering or a Doctor of Engineering Science (Eng.Sc.D.). A doctorate will take several years beyond what it takes to earn a master’s degree. The total length of time will depend on the specific field of research chosen.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Am I a highly detail-oriented person?
  • Am I willing to work in a field where I will need to keep up with new developments, even after I am finished with school?
  • What kind of mechanical engineering most interests me? Does the program offer the specialization I am interested in?
  • Who are the faculty members? How accessible are they?
  • Am I more interesting in actual manufacturing or in studying the way people do their work?

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