Machines may not have taken over the world as imagined in some science fiction, but they are certainly a big part of life today.
Students of mechanical engineering learn about the machines that bring convenience and excitement to our lives. They study the physics that make roller coasters loop and planes fly. They learn about the properties of materials that can withstand the heat of the sun and the cold of outer space. And they discover the secrets behind control systems such as the cruise control in the family car.
As a mechanical engineering major, you’ll learn the science behind machines and the energy that makes them work. You’ll also apply what you learn by creating your own machines.
“I enjoy mechanical engineering because of the relation to 'real life.' Most things we work on are tangible, and most concepts can be seen in everyday life.”Suzanne, fifth-year in a B.S./M.S. program, mechanical engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder
Are You Ready To...?
- Spend five years as an undergrad, if you’re like many majors trying to squeeze in course work and a co-op (internship)
- Take on a heavy course load
- Write lab reports and research papers
- Work on your own and in groups
- Master difficult scientific concepts
- Rely on your math skills
It Helps To Be...
A fan of science and math, a creative problem solver, and someone who likes to take things apart to find out how they work.
- Is the program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology?
- Does the department offer a combined program in which you can earn both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees?
- Will the department help you find a co-op or internship?
- Do faculty members offer research assistant positions to undergrads?
- Are the labs up-to-date?
Did You Know?
Mechanical engineers are working on the next generation of robots, including those with eyes that work like a person’s.
You might decide to spend one or two semesters working in a cooperative-education program. A co-op is a short-term job where you can gain practical experience -- and even earn a little money. You’ll have a chance to test what you’ve learned in your classes and try out a specialty that interests you.
Mechanical engineering students in NASA’s co-op program have trained to be flight controllers, researched ways of protecting spacecraft electronics from vibration, and even tested different methods of hand washing on the International Space Station.