Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is a broad field that serves the medical, automotive, robotics, energy, and transportation industries, just to start with. It’s the study of researching, designing, developing, and testing devices that involve force or motion. If it moves in some way shape or form, chances are that mechanical engineering was involved.

Most positions in the mechanical engineering world require a baccalaureate for entry-level positions, while managerial, academic, and research and development require higher levels of education. The area of study is available at all levels of education, including associate, baccalaureate, master, and doctorate levels.

When searching out mechanical engineering programs, keep in mind that attending an accredited school isn’t enough. Mechanical engineering programs need to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), which currently approves more than 315 mechanical engineering programs at multiple stages of education.

One thing to note is the difference between mechanical engineering and engineering technology programs—technology programs will focus on theory, while mechanical programs are geared towards practical usage.

Associate Level

While rare, associate degrees are still an option at some colleges. As with most AS degrees, they typically take 2 years and will provide an introduction to the area study, focusing on very general, broad strokes, while spending most time on core courses, such as mathematics and English.

Careers for graduates with an Associate in Mechanical Engineering: Mechanical Drafter

Baccalaureate

At this level of education, completion leads to licensure as a Mechanical Engineer post-graduation. Typically taking four years, the curriculum will consist of an introduction to engineering, as well as the product design process. Trigonometry and calculus will be the foundations, complemented by research technique and technological applications. There will also be a significant amount of time spent on understanding chemistry, physics, heat transfer, metals selection, and learning programming languages, as well as writing design reports, synthesis and analysis software, and using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Careers for graduates with a baccalaureate in mechanical engineering*: Mechanical Engineer, Automotive Engineer, Biomedical Engineer, Nuclear Engineer, Robotics Engineer, Acoustics Engineer, Design Engineer, Energy Conservation Engineer, Piping Engineer, Mechanical Maintenance Engineer, Thermal Design Engineer, Tool Engineer. The median annual salary for individuals with a baccalaureate in mechanical engineering is $80,000.

*Most jobs in this area of study require licensure. Graduates of an ABET-accredited program must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which is orchestrated by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. 

Master Level

Graduate degrees in mechanical engineering are particularly used for specialization within a certain area of this broad study, but they can also be used to advance within an already established career. Students will hone in on their interests, such as biomedical engineering, combustion, nanotechnology, or rail travel, and take courses like engineering project management or patent law. Simulation modeling and experimentation may also play a significant role in the program.

Doctorate Level

If industry research or becoming a college professor is the end goal, a doctorate program in mechanical engineering is the level of education required. Focusing on advanced mathematics and research skills, it takes between 4 to 5 years to complete a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

Careers for graduates with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering: Professor, Research and Design

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Colleges

“…ucla has a great student atmosphere: it includes great school spirit, rich history, excellent academics and research programs, and a well-rounded student body. it is also situated in west la, which is a great environment in itself to explore social...” – Kevin

“…Harvard is a place of innovation and discovery. It is a community of scholars, who are very intelligent, ambitious, and collaborative. The most distinctive feature of Harvard is the vibrant energy that characterizes its student body, and that drives...” – CLAUDIA from CAMBRIDGE, MA

“…by far the most diverse, relaxed campus full of happy, friendly students of all ages. clean, green and exuding student pride everywhere you go. the best choice anyone could ever make!” – Dahlton from Jackson, CA

“…Penn State was a large beautiful school. It offered many different fields for students to choose to major in. There were many activities to do, organizations to join, and people to meet.” – Michelle

“…The environment is incredibly welcoming and you'll always find a place to fit in. It's definitely challenging, but incredibly rewarding. Personally, I adore it.” – Whitney from Berkeley, CA

“…The University of Florida is a great college to attend because it provides a very diverse environment- which includes diversity within the students, professors, and employees, and diversity within the studies. It is a beautiful university with...” – Melissa from Silver Springs, FL

“…Yale offers everything that I wanted in a school. It has a beautiful campus, wonderful faculty and incredible residential college system. The students here are super motivated and driven, but the atmosphere isn't competitive so even though you are...” – MK

“…Columbia University is extremely challenging and therefore extremely rewarding. It does not allow you room to be average or mediocre because it encourages excellence. CU will show you what you are made of.” – Krizia from Fort Bragg, NC

“…Cornell University is an unparalleled college, filled with opportunities. Currently, I am in the Arts and Sciences College and though I wish to aspire to be a doctor, I am given the chance to study Latin and Ancient Civilization as a minor and to...” – Lisa from Commack, NY

“…The University of Michigan is truly an incredible place with incredible people. There is a lot of school pride about both academics and athletics, and although the academics are challenging, there is a good combination of studying and fun. I would...” – Sarah from Troy, MI

“…Duke's a diverse school with students of all sorts of races and backgrounds. The education is vigorous, so you'll get out whatever you put in. There are hundreds of student groups, academic opportunities and living environments to choose from, so...” – Elisabeth from Durham, NC

“…My school is big on traditions and is overall a very friendly campus. The professors are willing to help you one on one to help you get the grade you need and deserve. I rate my school a 10 from 1-10 because its a very big happy family who look out...” – Amanda from Houston, TX

“…With over 50,000 students at the University of Central Florida, it is easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond. But, with all of the opportunities afforded by this institution and all of the resources available, a little effort on the student...” – Alexis from Wellington, FL

“…it is a great school because of the atmosphere, teachers, and everything that has to do with austin. it is at an awesome location. i feel welcomed and happily plan to live and get a job here.” – Emile from Dallas, TX

“…Boston University is an elite university that is constantly improving. It is a very expensive college but has a lot of resources for its students. Students who wish to attend should be somewhat independent and not afraid to take full advantage of the...” – Daniel from Staten Island, NY

“…Arizona State University is a great school. I attend the Walter Cronkite School for students of Mass Communication and Journalism and I love the experience I have gained from the college. I feel prepared for future jobs and work experience. ” – Kirsten from Phoenix, AZ

“…Purdue is basically a land of opportunity; you get out of it what you put in, and much, much more. More majors and minors than you can imagine, even more clubs and organizations--something for everyone! I love this school and campus to the bottom of...” – Marie from Goose Creek, SC

“…new york university is an academically strenuous and challenging school in the heart of downtown new york city. the campus is new york city, with lots of grand old buildings, mainly centered around washington square park. each of their programs are...” – Isabella from Los Angeles, CA

“…Being at Princeton feels a lot like winning the lottery on a daily basis. The people are incredibly interesting and I'm being challenged like I've never been challenged before. It's a place for those who love to work hard and play hard.” – Annika from Eugene, OR

“…The University is a wonderful school because of its diverse student body, strong academics, and recreational facilities. There are so many great tutoring and advising resources available for me whenever they need help with certain classes. Also, I...” – Maria from Tucson, AZ

“…USC is the place for opportunities. You are not only paying for a great education, but also connections and resume builders that will help you get where you want in life. USC is a school for leaders and overachievers. ” – Madison from Los Angeles, CA

“…The University of Washington is a challenging school that blossoms independence and creativity. The majority of all faculty members are enthusiastic about the subject they teach, and are willing to assist all students. This school provides excellent...” – Ronald from Honolulu, HI

“…Penn students are defined by their passion, even if it is undefined upon entering freshman year. Classes are so difficult that you have to experience them to understand, but the sense of accomplishment that comes with mastery over them is liberating...” – Josh from Dayville, CT

“…michigan state had everything i was looking for in a university-challenging classes, all types of students, and a beautiful location to call home. as an undecided freshman, i appreciated the wide variety of available classes and majors. the 500+...” – Rachel from Ann Arbor, MI

“…Northwestern is a great school, blending first class academics and Big 10 sports in a way that typically isn't seen among comparable universities. Students are bright and are typically highly motivated, passionate, and active in leadership roles....” – Kayla from Camdenton, MO

“…Ohio State is it's own small world. Once you get involved, which is a must, you cannot walk across campus without seeing someone you know. From academics to sports, Ohio State is an excellent school with long standing tradition. ” – Amarilis from Newbury, OH

“…The Campus is basically a miniature city within Syracuse. There are always activities to attend and ways to get involved. The classes are tough, but very rewarding if you put in the effort.” – Catherine from North Sutton, NH

“…Great friendly campus in the middle of cornfield, USA. Classes are theoretical and challenging in the engineering dept. However, it's easy to take a variety of other classes (art, history, dance, etc), regardless of your major.” – Alleycats from Urbana, IL

“…UC Davis is a beautiful campus, with endless opportunities in all areas of interest. There are many research and academic internships, as well as being well-rounded with sport, music, and art opportunities. Every student can find clubs and academic...” – Kaitlyn from San Jose, CA

“…UGA offers an ivy league education, for a public school price. Situated in Athens, GA: ranked the #1 College Town that Rocks by Rolling Stones magazine in 2007 and one of 29 Must Visit places by LA Times magazine in 2009, there are plenty of things...” – Darien from Senoia, GA

“…Overall, Georgia Tech is a fantastic school with millions of opportunities. The classes tend to be difficult, but that should not deter anyone from going to Tech. Although the going will be rough, Tech will only serve to open the doors to new...” – David from Broward County, FL

“…Florida State University is an all-around excellent school and has provided me with a positive educational experience. Florida State also has a beautiful campus with many traditions that create an inclusive environment including the famous mascots...” – Alix from Oconomowoc, WI

“…The ambient and city surrounding UM contribute a completely unique cultural experience the likes of which are cannot be found any where else in the world. The academic environment is lackluster, and those seeking a truly rigorous scholastic...” – BME from Miami, FL

“…San Diego State University provides an amazing academic experience for all students who enroll here. There is always something happening on campus no matter what time of day. The environment is so welcoming, and everyone you meet is so nice and...” – Anonymous

“…UCI is a very quiet school in terms of partying, but there are always activities going on throughout the day that any student can participate in. The school is fantastic in Academics and has many research opportunities. ” – Bi0N3rd

“…howard university is an amazing school filled with ambitious students. this university helps better prepare their students for succession in today's society. every graduate from howard university will be gladly to express to you how they received a...” – Brittany from Washington, DC

“…The atmosphere of Baylor is very relaxing. The people on campus are really friendly. It is easy to make friends on a campus this size.” – Chalice from Pflugerville, TX

“…wsu is the perfect school for me. the academics are great, but the best part is the atmosphere of the town and the university. it is the perfect college in the perfect little college town!” – Megan from Sparks, NV

“…UMD, College Park is a school full of opportunities and great education. It has a campus feel, but is large enough to feel like it's own town and easy access to Washington, D.C. and other commercial areas, providing plenty of opportunities for...” – Jennifer from Western Maryland

“…Clemson has a beautiful campus, and has so many things to offer its students. Clemson also has a staff that is always willing to help its students. Most of all, Clemson makes you feel at home and the bond between fellow students and faculty members...” – Kristen from Latta, SC

“…Northeastern is an urban university that still has a campus. The focus of the program are the co-op jobs that most students take three times throughout their five years at school. The focus is on career-track majors like engineering, pharmacy and...” – Catherine from Beverly Hills, MI

“…in my opinion, this school is underrated. it is an excellent university with excellent professors and spectacular school spirit. it can definitely compete with other texas universities. ” – Christopher from Houston, TX

“…The University of Notre Dame is a privately funded, Catholic, liberal arts university. It is most well-known for athletics, especially football, ethics and social justice studies, and the Mendoza School of Business. Notre Dame also boasts a beautiful...” – Marcus from WI

“…Central Michigan University has the best professors for the Recreation Department! Everyone here is a family and the people really do care about your well being and future. This college has made me a better person through it's programs.” – Jelina from Mt. Pleasant, MI

“…It's great! Take a bike though cause they seem useful. Have fun.” – Edwin from Cape Coral, FL

“…ohio university deserves a 10 out of 10! the campus and atmosphere here is remarkable. the teachers really want you to succeed and so do your peers.” – Amy from Newark, OH

“…Settled in the middle of Pittsburgh, students learn in one of the best, most interesting, and understated cities in the country. Pitt has it all with beautiful academic buildings, an abundance of interesting classes, and sports teams unifying the...” – Debra from Harrington Park, NJ

Auburn University
Auburn University, AL

“…auburn is a wonderful school with rich history and tradition. the faculty and staff are excellent and friendly, and always willing to help. the student life here is incredibly varied and offers something for everyone.” – Joshua from Auburn, AL

“…If you're not rich, it's totally a different world you will be living in. (the Vandybubble) It's annoying but the experience and education is SO worth it. WE BLEED BLACK AND GOLD- LET'S GO DORES!” – Z from Nashville, TN

“…Exciting and diverse” – Thomas from Philadelphia, PA

“…uva is a great school with lots of history, traditions and spirit. life on grounds is rigorous but engaging. the area surrounding charlottesville is very nice.” – Sidney from Charlottesville, VA

“…Johns Hopkins University is an esteemed research university where students are pushed and challenged to achieve their potential and then surpass it. It's not a place where students come to have fun but a place where leaders, innovators, researchers,...” – Chidera from Philadelphia, PA

“…The campus is beautiful and not too spread out. All of my classes have been wonderful thus far, and really are shaped to my interests. There are so many study enhancements in this community to make sure that students do succeed. ” – Taelor from Columbia, SC

“…OSU & Corvallis has so much to offer (year-round) it's sometimes hard to know where to start. It has a beautiful, relaxed campus with nearly 25,000 students & Corvallis' central location provides easy access to plenty of activities in less than 3...” – Earl from Tangent, OR

“…lsu is culturally and socially diverse, making it an exceedingly welcoming place. classes are varied and pander to the interests of many different types of students. every event is culturally rich and provides a fantastic experience.” – Nicholas from Cypress, TX

“…Colorado State University has given me the best college experience I could dream of. There are opportunities for anything you could imagine - and these opportunities are everywhere! Everyone is friendly, and all anyone wants is for each and every...” – Bailey

“…Virginia Tech is a beautiful place full a good people and food. The community is very welcoming and engaging to students. There is a wide variety of courses and you will always find something to do that you like.” – Delaney

“…U of Iowa is an institution that invites young minds to grow and develop with the help of highly educated leaders. Family values are important within the administration and add value to the environment within the grounds of the university. Service is...” – Eric from Pingrey Grove, IL

“…Rice is outstanding in all areas of college life, from academics, to partying, right down to the weather. I was a little hesitant to leave New York for Texas and pay a little bit more than my other college options, but honestly Rice was worth the...” – Janet from Carmel, NY

“…i very much love this school. the academics are amazing since the staff is so willing to help students with any problems or questions. the school offers many opportunities for students to go beyond their comfort zones to experience new things as they...” – Marcela from Northridge, CA

“…this school offers a diverse curriculum. studying abroad is heavily encouraged, and mandatory for multiple majors. the professors want you to succeed, you need only ask!” – Scott from San Diego, CA

“…George Mason University is very diverse. The classes and professors are also very helpful in class and throughout the application process. The school is also very, very welcoming and makes you have a sense of belonging. ” – LISA from Falls Church, VA

“…my school, although huge, makes you feel like your at a small school with professors who actually care for your academics; my school works very hard to make sure that we the students are getting the help we need no matter what subject in school or...” – Anujin from Elk Grove Village, IL

“…The students here are all brilliant, motivated, inspired people. Everywhere you go there is amazing science happening, and every individual has terrific opportunities through the UROP program and the many research connections that MIT has to gain...” – Jedidiah from Acton, ME

“…Rutgers University-New Brunswick has been all that I expected in a University and more. It has provided me with many different opportunities such as research and volunteer opportunities to gain experience in my field of interest while attending...” – Francesca from New Brunswick, NJ

“…University of Denver is an AWESOME school! The small and focused class sizes allow students to get a wonderful education and the professors truly care about the students well being. It also offers a wonderful social life with sororities/fraternities,...” – Tara from Highlands Ranch, CO

“…George Washington is the only place I'd want to be. There's no other college in the world that is just a few steps from the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. GW is a large school, with a diverse student body who all come together for fun events...” – Meredith from Marlton, NJ

“…This campus is small enough to get to your classes in a reasonable time, but still big to find fun things to do. They have great places to eat with lots of variety. The people are all really friendly.” – Alex from Cincinnati, OH

“…utsa has a diverse student population, a wide range of student services (including an excellent gym facility, complete with cooking courses, personal trainers, and rock-climbing wall), and a rapidly growing academic program with professors from all...” – Catherine from Helotes, TX

“…if you are an incoming freshman, i highly suggest you live on campus for the best college experience. if you wana find a roommate that works well with you instead of letting it be random, you should check out roomsurf . com thats how i met my...” – Brittany from Coronado, CA

“…The University of Kansas has great professional schools with devoted professors who take education beyond the classroom. The campus environment is beautiful and the students population is very active in organizations. The University of Kansas houses...” – Zach from Overland Park, KS

“…This university offers great city living where museums, concerts and sports events are only a stones throw away. The opportunity offered to students to work 6 months inbetween academics is also appealing both in terms of seeing if your chosen major...” – Sean from Quakertown, PA

“…Iowa State is a large university with the small college feel. It has many students but everywhere I go, I see people I know, and that are in my classes. Everyone is very nice and the professors know what they are teaching.” – Grace from Vermont

“…unique. rigorous. rewarding.” – Pre-med from Portland, OR

“…The University of Tennessee is a very large and diverse campus where there are plenty of opportunities to get involved on campus. It is listed as one of the top ranking research institutions in the region and is highly ranked among the nation. UTK is...” – Isa from Chattanooga, TN

“…NC State is a large school with a small school feel. You can walk around campus and always see a familiar face. There are always new people to meet as well. ” – Shayna from Germantown, MD

“…west virginia university offers an amazing experience that is second to none. not only are there very competitive programs on campus, but the mountaineers have become a staple in the world of college athletics. excitement looms in the classroom and...” – Jonathon from Morgantown, WV

“…Stony Brook University affords one the opportunity to achieve goals they never thought possible. You will be pushed and tested but it is for your benefit in the future. For the price of the school, the amount you will learn about life, relationships...” – Ashley from Amityville, NY

“…the university of colorado at boulder is a an amazing school with not only a great location but also a great academic program. boulder is a great city for any kind of person, athletic or not. with so much to offer both academically and with extra...” – Ana from Parker, CO

“…fiu is a great school for anyone who is looking for a diverse group of students and a great education. teachers will always have office hours open to help you whenever you need it and they truly encourage you to come ask them for help. fiu also makes...” – Vlera from Washington, DC

“…the campus is beautiful and there are so many helpful students and staff (and plus all of the student programs they offer!). there are plenty of ways to get involved on campus through clubs or greek life or even a job on campus. the academics are a...” – Kaitlin from Merced, CA

“…Florida Atlantic University is a fantastic school. Florida Atlantic University has a beautiful, growing campus in sunny Boca Raton. Florida Atlantic University has excellent professors that are more than happy to help students in all aspects of...” – Andy from Coconut Creek, FL

“…UCSB is an amazing university located in beautiful Santa Barbara, California and is surrounded. UCSB will provide any student with great academics, a healthy social life, ways to get involved and most importantly a degree that you can be proud of. I...” – Katy from Murrieta, CA

“…Brigham young stands as a precedent for student education. It is a pinnacle of cleanliness of word and of character. It is a school like no other with the honor code as a standing tradition to be upheld by the students and the faculty. ” – Kaitlyn from Riverton, UT

“…iupui is has a great educational atmosphere that goes out of its way to teach its students valuable life experience. iupui is a university that teaches its students to try to make impact on its community by doing various volunteer activities. the...” – Arnesha from Jeffersonville, IN

“…University of Delaware is amazing, it instantly became home to me. Residence living is fun and offers a lot, professors are approachable and easy to understand, and the campus is a perfect size. I love the look of the campus also, the long greens and...” – Tara from Mount Laurel, NJ

“…Cal Poly is fantastic for education, social life, and extracurricular activities. My classes have always been great with good teachers and interesting coursework. It's also so much fun, from the party scene to opportunities to get involved on campus!” – Zoe from Santa Barbara, CA

“…I have a love-hate relationship with UNLV as I pretty much do with anything. The good definitely outweighs the bad though. It's virtually impossible to sum up my experience at UNLV in only three sentences!” – Jenny from Las Vegas, NV

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

“…The university is a fun place to meet new people. It gives you a great education and the professors are really interested in teaching the topic. The location of the university is also great and has many surroundings to help you enjoy your college...” – Kayla from West Jordan, UT

“…Hofstra is a great college, with an at home feel that will increase your chance of success. The campus is clean, the professors helpful, and the food is good! There is no other college I would have rather attended.” – Lorie from Minnesota

“…university of california riverside is an exceptional higher education institution that dedicates itself to providing quality education. the university is among the most diverse schools in the nation which makes it unique. there are multiple...” – Denise from Riverside, CA

“…tufts is a phenomenal research university. it's a great community made up of interesting and friendly students and professors, and it's welcoming to students with every academic interest imaginable. you'll like it here.” – Thomas from Braintree, MA

“…Carnegie Mellon University is a strong university for anyone interested in modern technology and the changing world. The people here are enterprising and ambitious, and you will be sure to find yourself in inspiring companionship. For someone who...” – Sanjana from San Jose, CA

“…diverse student population, lots of nontraditional students and commuters. lots of options for food on campus. great teachers and class sizes.” – Mia from Dallas, TX

“…Small classrooms and good teachers.” – Garrett from Portland, OR

“…Miami University is a great mid-sized university for academics and social life. There are various organizations students can join and activities provided by the school to participate in. Big companies are always here recruiting, so there are many...” – Randy from Oxford, OH

“…The United States Military Academy at West Point is a great place to be if you like to have a structured and regimented way of life. You will be kept busy and will value the very little truly free time you get, but the friends you make here will last...” – Andrew from Columbus, GA

“…Madison is probably one of the most diverse colleges in the state of Wisconsin. Here, I have met a variety of people from all sorts of different backgrounds and have been introduced to a multitude of experiences. All in all, there's no place like...” – Amber from Greenleaf, WI

“…The University of Connecticut is a great university for students all around the world. It is very diverse and has become a second home for many students. It is great because it brings a lot of opportunities for students to make a difference in the...” – Jose from Naugatuck, CT

“…San Jose State University is a beautiful campus where a person could just sit and hang out with their friends or go downtown where all other students are studying or just talking. SJSU provides a variety of activities including sororities...” – Kaela from Fairfield, CA