Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Whether your goal is to advance the energy sector, design public water systems, or oversee the manufacturing of equipment and products, St. Ambrose University has a program to help you reach your goals.

Our graduates work at Accenture, ExxonMobil, Genesis Health System, Boeing Charleston, Deere & Company, HON Company, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, and others.


SAU was ranked 5th in College Consensus' (2018) survey of Best Colleges and Universities in Iowa, and 13th in the category Best Regional Universities-Midwest, based on an average of published rankings and student reviews. Ranked 38th (tie) by U.S. News & World Report (2019) Regional Universities Midwest out of a region of 12 states. The publication gathers data from each college on up to 15 indicators of academic excellence. Each factor is assigned a weight that reflects U.S. News' judgment about how much that measure matters. Finally, the colleges and universities in each category are ranked against their peers, based on their composite weighted score.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Extensive Hands-On Research & Design Experience
  • Exceptional Lab Facilities
  • Personal Attention: Faculty Focus On You

Our rigorous, but rewarding, Mechanical Engineering program gives you hands-on, real-world experience. You will be guided by an expert and engaged faculty and gain skills that make you a sought-after asset in the workforce.

St Ambrose University is a recognized College of Distinction for its adherence to successful outcomes, great teaching, creating a vibrant community, and educating engaged students.

St. Ambrose Fall Drone Tour from St Ambrose University on Vimeo.


The St. Ambrose Industrial and Mechanical Engineering Programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (

What will I learn?

Mechanical Engineering uses a combination of human, material, and economic resources to provide solutions to problems faced by society. As an applied science, it focuses on design, development, manufacture, management, and control of engineering systems. Courses include engineering design, materials science, manufacturing processes, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and control theory.

St. Ambrose is the only university in the Quad Cities region that offers this degree. If you want to dual major in Industrial Engineering, we offer that program, too.

Full-time students generally earn the dual major in 4.5 years (or less), and we give part-time students up to eight years to complete any of the engineering programs. No matter what you choose, you will work closely with engaged faculty who give you a real-world education in and outside the classroom.

Why choose SAU Engineering?

Our Liberal Arts focus makes us different than any other engineering school. Yes, you will learn the same math, science, and analytical skills here, but you will also learn to think critically, how to communicate, work in teams, and gain the ability to see how and where you fit into the greater world. These are assets regional and national employers are looking for in new hires, and they tell us that our students excel in those areas. That could be why 99% of our domestic students have a job lined up before they graduate.

Enrollment in our engineering programs has more than doubled in recent years from 50 students in 2009 to more than 150 this year. That is a lot of growth, yet we remain a small department committed to giving you personal attention. Our goal is to educate engineers, not conduct personal research projects. And you will be taught by Ph.D.s, not teaching assistants.

Our engineering programs get high praise and support from regional employers who offer internships, professional mentorships, and job opportunities. Some even have given financial support to the university, allowing us to provide you with three floors of state-of-the-art labs.

What kind of lab facilities will I use?

Our state-of-the-art Engineering and Physical Science Laboratories offer you all of the equipment and technology you need to build and apply what you are learning.

Our facilities include:

  • Thermo-Fluids Laboratory where you can visualize, control, and test concepts in thermodynamics, fluid flow, and heat transfer, then apply that knowledge to design and build systems involving energy.
  • Mechatronics Laboratory which serves as a collaborative learning classroom. Junior and senior level engineering courses that require specialized technology are issued laptops equipped with software, including ProE, Solidworks, ANSYS, PSpice, MatLab, and LabView.
  • Machine Shop with fabrication facilities for woodworking, welding, milling (including CNC programming), 3D printing, and programming an industrial robot. If you complete the manufacturing course, you can use the facilities, under faculty/staff supervision, for academic-related projects.
  • Computer and Prototyping Lab with a new 3D printer that extrudes plastic filament, creating a high-quality, customer-ready product.
  • Engineering Computer Lab, which is open 24/7 for engineering students. You can use upgraded computers and monitors, and access the software you need for engineering-specific assignments and projects. Printing is free in the lab.

All engineering faculty has offices in Hayes Hall, and there is a small prototyping and student workroom.

What unique learning opportunities will I get at SAU?

  • Internships: Companies throughout the region highly support our engineering programs, and provide internships, professional mentors, and job opportunities. Through our extensive network of engineering alumni and companies across the country, you get on-the-job experience in a mandatory internship at leading manufacturers such as Deere & Company, the Rock Island Arsenal, Caterpillar and more.
  • Design Experience: Enroll in sophomore design courses and undertake a real project for a real customer, then present your work at an Engineering Showcase. Our students have completed projects for local companies and even engineered ways to help people with disabilities lead more active lives.
  • Engineering Club: The club hosts pizza and study nights throughout the year, members volunteer at events that promote engineering and community service, organizes tours of local companies, and participate in Quad Cities Engineering and Science Council events.
  • Society of Women Engineers: Our official chapter of SWE focuses on professional development and outreach to youth. Our members go to area high schools and tell students about the opportunities that abound in STEM fields. We annually host Introduce a Girl to Engineering Night, and in the Spring of 2017, it garnered a crowd of more than 500 girls, ages 3-13, who learned about engineering through hands-on activities.
  • Engineering Ambassadors: You, too, can represent S.A.U.'s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering programs. Ambassadors share their experiences as Ambrosians and members of the engineering program. They help with recruiting, retention, outreach, and industry relations for the Engineering and Physical Science Department.

What are some potential career outcomes?

Engineers can work in design, manufacturing, robotics, electrical systems, quality, process improvement, and in civil engineering for local, state and federal governments.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median pay for mechanical engineers at $84,190 and the field is growing (2016). In fact, 95% of S.A.U. engineering program graduates who pursue employment are working in the field. Many of our students are sought out by employers before they graduate.

What have alumni of this program done?

  • Samantha (Lee) Barkley '09 was a Fulbright Scholar and worked in an HIV/AIDS clinic in Trinidad and Tobago where she researched medical record processes and developed ways medical centers could provide better care. She is now a process engineer for ASEA Brown Boveri in St. Louis.
  • Santiago Gonzalez '14 is the Chief Design Engineer for Frautschi and runs his own thriving business.
  • Jeff Menke '99 is a Pella Windows senior engineer and recently designed custom windows for the Ambrose Hall renovation at SAU.
  • Jeff Stebel '01 is a systems engineer for Dream Chaser Space, which supports NASA and the International Space Station.

Many of our graduates seek advanced degrees and have been admitted to programs at Southern Illinois University Medical School, Northern Illinois University, University of Florida, Bradley University and Oregon State University.

Last updated Dec 2019

About the School

We offer more than 60 majors with the flexibility to mix majors, minors, and electives to match your interests. What's more, our spirited community is known for its athletics, special events, and outs ... Read More

We offer more than 60 majors with the flexibility to mix majors, minors, and electives to match your interests. What's more, our spirited community is known for its athletics, special events, and outstanding residence halls. Read less