Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Prospective Students

Why Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest and oldest branches of engineering.  Mechanical engineers are involved with the design, analysis, testing, manufacturing, control, operation, and maintenance of mechanical systems - that is, any system that has a moving part!   Mechanical systems can vary greatly in complexity and magnitude from the valve in an artificial heart to a car engine to a mammoth nuclear power plant.  It deals with all aspects of the conversion of thermal energy into useful work and the machines that make this possible.

This seems awfully broad, right?  Although that is one of the great advantages to mechanical engineering (and why the world always needs mechanical engineers!) our students do earn a concentration during their senior year.  Concentrations give you the chance to specialize in one area of mechanical engineering.  You can choose to take elective courses all related to your concentration, or choose a few outside your concentration to maintain a slightly broader background - your choice! 

 We offer concentrations in:

Applied Mechanics
Automotive Engineering
Biomechanical Systems
Design and Manufacturing
Dynamics, Vibrations, and Controls
Energy Systems
Nuclear Engineering

Has mechanical engineering caught your interest?
Then perhaps you should consider our advanced technical elective track, if you're interested in:

  • Completing research as an undergraduate
  • Preparing for graduate school
  • Graduating "With Distinction in Mechanical Engineering?"


Mechanical engineering honors students or students who are pursuing the BS/MS option may work with a faculty advisor to choose their areas of research and study to reflect their interests and the scope of their future graduate work.

Applied Mechanics
Applied Mechanics is the theoretical, numerical, and experimental study of the response of solids and fluids to external forces. Students who concentrate in this area can take courses in finite element analysis, fracture mechanics, advanced strength of materials, and system vibrations. It's the concentration for you, if you're interested in:

  • Understanding the forces in structural components such as a truss or crane
  • Smaller scale components such as a prosthetic joints
  • Understanding why and how objects break, and how to prevent failure

Automotive Engineering
A concentration in Automotive Engineering will prepare you for work in the automotive industry, one of the traditional branches of mechanical engineering which remains of great importance. It is concerned with the design and operation of all kinds of engines and vehicle dynamics, and is rapidly expanding to include the research, design, and testing of alternative energy sources for vehicles. Students who pursue this concentration can take courses in land vehicle dynamics, powertrain dynamics, the study of internal combustion engines, modeling of hybrid-electric vehicles, and fuel cell systems. It's the concentration for you, if you're interested in:

  • Understanding the operation of an internal combustion engine, and making it efficient
  • Hybrid electric vehicles
  • Fuel cell systems
  • Automobile dynamics

Biomechanical Systems Biomechanics is the science that examines forces acting upon and within a biological structure and the effects produced by such forces. A concentration in Biomechanical Systems prepares students for work in the medical industry or in any other area where their is a need to study the effects of forces on the human body. It's the concentration for you, if you're interested in:

  • Understanding the mechanical functions of muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones
  • Physical disabilities, and how to design products to help people with disabilities
  • Understanding how different injury mechanisms (impact, sport, trauma) affect the human body
  • The design of medical devices

Design and Manufacturing
A concentration in Design & Manufacturing is appropriate for students who are interested in the design, testing, and manufacturing of consumer products. Students in this concentration can take courses in product design, tool engineering, machine tool control and programming, and rapid prototyping. It's the concentration for you, if you're interested in:

  • Designing and prototyping new products
  • Learning to program CNC machines
  • Robotics
  • Using computer graphics to model new products and systems

Dynamics, Vibrations, and Controls
A concentration in Dynamics, Vibrations, and Controls prepares students to understand various system components and how they interact as parts of a mechanical system. Students in this concentration can take courses in control systems design, mechatronics, fracture mechanics, and engineering acoustics. It's the concentration for you, if you're interested in:

  • Learning how mechanical, electrical, thermal, and fluid systems work together
  • Controlling these systems and preventing unwanted ysstem vibrations and noise

Energy Systems
The study of Energy Systems concentrates on the production of useful energy from raw materials (i.e. electricity from coal) as well as the process of transforming energy into useful work (i.e. electricity driving a motor), and the optimization of these processes. Students who concentrate their studies in Energy Systems can take courses in turbomachinery, HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning), combustion and jet propulsion. It's the concentration for you, if you're interested in:

  • Learning to efficiently harness energy from raw materials
  • Learning how to efficiently heat, ventilate, and cool structures
  • The uses of turbomachinery

Nuclear Engineering
The field of Nuclear Engineering is experiencing a resurgence as we investigate the option of nuclear power as an alternative to our society's dependence on fossil fuels. Students who concentrate in this area take an introductory course in nuclear science and engineering, and can take courses in reactor theory, nuclear power plants, and radiological safety, as well as reliability engineering. It's the concentration for you, if you're interested in:

  • Helping to develop nuclear energy as a safe and affordable alternative to fossil fuels
  • Studying how nuclear power plants affect their surrounding environments
  • The possible uses of radiation in medicine
  • Using radiation to make measurements