Mechanical engineering is a broad technical discipline. It integrates knowledge of the physical sciences and mathematics for the design, construction, and manufacture, testing, analysis, use, and operation of a device, structure, a machine, a process, or a system in service to humanity. Its development parallels the growth of the industry. Modern society needs mechanical engineers who have broad and deep training in the fundamentals of engineering and related sciences and who have developed versatility in analyzing and solving complex problems. The mechanical engineer must not only possess a high level of professional expertise but also have an appreciation for the impact of engineering solutions in a societal context, including ethical and economic considerations.
Mechanical engineers are problem-solvers who are scientifically informed and mathematically minded. The mechanical engineering curriculum prepares students to deal effectively with a broad range of engineering problems rather than with narrow specialties. Graduates find employment in a wide range of industries, government agencies, and educational institutions where they are concerned with many functions:
- The use and economic conversion of energy from natural sources into useful energy for power, light, heating, cooling, and transportation;
- The design and production of machines to lighten the burden of human work;
- The planning and development of systems for using energy machines and resources;
- The processing of materials into products useful to mankind; and
- The education and training of specialists who deal with mechanical systems.
The curriculum consists of a judicious combination of fundamentals, including mathematics and sciences, and practical laboratory experience which provides access to modern engineering tools. Mechatronics, which is a study of the interdependence between mechanical engineering and electrical/electronics engineering, is a key part of the mechanical engineering curriculum. Graduates will be able to critically analyze mechanical engineering problems and execute practical solutions. In addition to being able to function independently, it is expected that graduates will be able to function with effective written and oral communication within multidisciplinary teams and be prepared to address several issues such as environmental, social, and economic considerations due to a thorough education in the humanities, social sciences, ethics, safety, and professionalism.
While the undergraduate curriculum is sufficiently broad to permit graduates to select from a wide variety of employment opportunities, it contains sufficient depth to prepare students to enter graduate school to pursue advanced degrees. As modern science and engineering become more complex, the desirability of graduate-level preparation is being recognized by most advanced industries and government agencies.
Students can simultaneously pursue B.S. degrees in both aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering by completing additional courses. Information on this 155 credit-hour, the four-and-one-half-year option can be seen at the end of this section.
Students who plan a career in medicine, dentistry, or related areas, but who desire a mechanical engineering degree before entering the appropriate professional school, may substitute eight hours (from a combination of biology and organic chemistry courses) for the required six hours of technical electives. This selection will help the student satisfy admission requirements to the professional schools in the health sciences.
Upon graduation, all Bachelor of Science students in Mechanical Engineering will have the:
- Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
- Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
- Ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
- Ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.
- Ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems.
- Understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
- Ability to communicate effectively.
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context.
- Recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning.
- Knowledge of contemporary issues.
- Ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
The primary learning goal of the BSME program is to implement state-of-the-art instructional materials, methods, and technologies in order to prepare engineers who are highly proficient in their field of specialty and ready to contribute to the well-being of society through the competent practice of the engineering profession, leading to economic development and innovative technological advancements.
The graduates of the BSME program are well prepared to engage in the long-life pursuit of successful engineering careers by quickly adapting to the changing demands of the workforce in a dynamic global environment, by enhancing continuously their professional abilities or skills, and by contributing effectively in multidisciplinary teams to the advancement of existing or anticipated industrial, economic and societal needs.