The mechanical engineering program provides instruction in the basic sciences and in engineering design and analysis. During the junior and senior years, students may choose from a broad spectrum of electives to match individual talents and interests with a career objective. The program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. All accredited programs are required to provide the following minimum level of instruction: one year of mathematics and basic sciences; one and one-half years of engineering science and design (engineering topics); and one-half year of humanities and social sciences.
The total number of units required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering is 122 units, of which 101 units are in the major. Consult with an advisor for the specific number of units required in all areas of the degree including GE and free electives.
Areas of Specialization
All mechanical engineers must be proficient in the subjects of applied mechanics (statics, dynamics, materials and control), which best distinguish mechanical engineering from other engineering disciplines. These subjects provide knowledge on the behavior of objects under forces, pressure, and stresses, whether the objects are stationary, such as buildings and bridges, or moving, such as vehicles or vibrating structures. With the knowledge in applied mechanics, a mechanical engineer will be able to design durable structures and efficient mechanical systems, and select the right materials for the structures or systems to accomplish some prescribed functions. Those mechanical engineers who are most specialized in applied mechanics often deal with the properties of engineering materials and the design of structures, mechanisms, machines and the control systems for these devices.
Thermal Systems Engineering
The knowledge in thermal sciences (thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer) is equally important for mechanical engineers. Mechanical engineers specializing in thermal systems mainly deal with the production and conversion of energy required for human needs and for other systems. They design efficient engines and power plants to provide mechanical power for other machines and electrical power for society. They design heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems to provide comfortable living and working environment. They operate oil refineries and build pipelines for the transport of petroleum. They design solar and wind power stations to extract clean energy from nature. They predict and control the flow of water and air to minimize the adverse effects of pollutants.
The required curriculum for aeronautical engineering is very similar to mechanical engineering, with emphases on applications of applied mechanics and thermal sciences to the configuration design, structural design, propulsion systems, and control systems of aircraft. Using the same knowledge, aeronautical engineers may also be involved in the design of land and marine vehicles. The recent development of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) integrating the use of the Global Position System (GPS), and the potentials of alternative propulsion systems, such as, solar power or fuel cells, are creating new windows of opportunity for aeronautical engineers. These UAV's may become the long-endurance surveillance platforms and low-cost satellites of the future, on top of many other applications.
A mechanical engineering degree with a biomechanical concentration prepares students for both traditional mechanical engineering careers as well as opportunities in this growing subfield of biomedical engineering. Training in biomechanical engineering will enable mechanical engineering students to interact with an interdisciplinary group of engineers and biomedical professionals. Engineers trained in biomechanical engineering may find career opportunities in the design of products involving interaction with the human body such as assistive technologies and enabling devices, safety equipment, orthopedic and medical devices. Research topics include kinematics of human motion and biomechanical devices, strength and response of hard and soft tissue, and novel technology for injury prevention and rehabilitation.