Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers (MEs) are experts in the design and maintenance of machines, tools and systems, from kitchen microwaves to offshore drilling rigs. Armed with a versatile skill set that crosses industry lines, mechanical engineers have a rosy career outlook overall with lots of choices. Although these engineering generalists work in nearly every sector, the largest number work in architecture and construction, scientific research, and aerospace among other transportation industries. The highest paid mechanical engineers work in oil and gas extraction.

Most entry-level employers prefer job applicants with at least a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering or a related science like Materials Engineering. An accredited undergraduate degree is usually needed to get a state license to practice, too. Students should choose an ME program that is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, or ABET.

Degrees in Mechanical Engineering

Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering

The bachelor's degree is the entry-level qualification for mechanical engineers. It is possible to launch a successful career after graduating with a 4-year B.S. in Mechanical Engineering or a similar discipline, and this is the pathway most choose. To get into a mechanical engineering program, students will need to have taken the right math and science classes in high school, including Algebra, Trigonometry, Chemistry and Physics. Specific prerequisites vary by school. Once students are enrolled at a college or university, they may sign up to take college-level math and science courses as well as those focused on engineering practice.

Among STEM subjects, mechanical engineering is fairly broad in its scope. It is common for students to choose an area of specialization, even at the bachelor's level. Basic specializations include:

  • Design & Manufacturing
  • Dynamics & Controls
  • Solid Mechanics, Vibrations & Materials
  • Thermal Fluids

Other specializations in mechanical engineering center on applied modes of manufacturing, like HVAC design, robotics, product development, nuclear engineering, or system testing. The possibilities are open-ended and tend to follow major developments in industry and manufacturing. Bachelor-level classes in Mechanical Engineering include:

  • Theory of Vibrations
  • Differential & Integral Calculus
  • Biomedical Engineering Lab

With a bachelor's degree in hand, mechanical engineers can get entry-level jobs as:

  • Facilities Engineering Consultants
  • Mechanical Engineers for Product Design
  • Structural Mechanical Engineers

Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering

Master engineers trained at the best mechanical engineering schools have optimal job opportunities compared to their bachelor-educated counterparts. A 2-year graduate degree can come in handy when applying for the most competitive positions, especially in advanced subspecialties like aerospace. To graduate with a master's, students must complete a research thesis. There are also non-thesis, coursework-only master programs, many of which can be finished in just a year of study.

At some of the top mechanical engineering schools, ME students can take an accelerated route combining the undergraduate and master levels into a 5-year, back-to-back curriculum leading to a terminal master of science. This route is shorter than the traditional path to grad school and may mean students don't have to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) to get into a master's program.

Students en route to a master's in Mechanical Engineering take classes like:

  • Dynamic Systems & Controls
  • Microelectromechanical Systems
  • Biological Fluid Mechanics

What can you do with a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering?

  • Naval Facilities Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Robotics Engineer

Doctoral Studies in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers earn doctoral degrees in order to teach at universities and conduct research in support of the science of mechanical and materials engineering. It is the most competitive credential for engineers opting out of academia, too, and may be required for elite engineering positions. A doctorate can take anywhere between 4 and 7 years to complete, depending on candidates' educational exposure and how smoothly the research process moves forward.

Most Ph.D. programs do not require a master's degree for admission, although the top mechanical engineering programs offer valuable resources for getting into competitive Ph.D. programs. Some schools let students earn a master's degree and a Ph.D. concurrently.

Achieving a doctorate typically entails completing a qualifying exam, seminars, and a lengthy dissertation on a specialized research topic. Ph.D. programs are more likely to offer financial aid than master's programs. The most qualified Ph.D. candidates may receive Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships.

Just a few of the possible topics for a doctoral dissertation in Mechanical Engineering are:

  • Predictive Engineering in Wind Energy
  • Workload Metrics in Flight Deck Operations
  • Methodologies for Modeling Supply Chain Systems

A Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering opens up opportunities for:

  • Senior Process Integration Engineers
  • Professors of Mechanical Engineering
  • Senior R&D Mechanical Engineers

We found 269 schools offering "Mechanical Engineering" degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 269 Mechanical Engineering Colleges in the U.S.

Most Popular Mechanical Engineering Schools

The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 49996

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Ohio State University - Main Campus
Columbus, OH  |  Total Enrollment: 47952

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Minneapolis, MN  |  Total Enrollment: 45481

Degrees Offered: One but less than two years, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 45114

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
Tempe, AZ  |  Total Enrollment: 44126

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Texas A & M University
College Station, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 44026

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 43366

Degrees Offered: One but less than two years, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Madison, WI  |  Total Enrollment: 40658

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus
University Park, PA  |  Total Enrollment: 40571

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's
Purdue University - Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN  |  Total Enrollment: 39667

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree

Browse All 269 Colleges With Mechanical Engineering Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Alabama A & M University Normal AL 5523
Alfred University Alfred NY 1607
Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus Tempe AZ 44126
Arkansas Tech University Russellville AR 4970
Auburn University Main Campus Auburn University AL 21860
Baker College of Flint Flint MI 3896
Baylor University Waco TX 13719
Boise State University Boise ID 16287
Boston University Boston MA 28318
Bradley University Peoria IL 5951
Brigham Young University Provo UT 32554
Brigham Young University - Idaho Rexburg ID 8949
Bucknell University Lewisburg PA 3592
California Institute of Technology Pasadena CA 1968
California Maritime Academy Vallejo CA 653
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo CA 16877
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona Pomona CA 18424
California State University - Chico Chico CA 15912
California State University - Fresno Fresno CA 19056
California State University - Long Beach Long Beach CA 30918
California State University - Los Angeles Los Angeles CA 19593
California State University - Sacramento Sacramento CA 25714
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh PA 8514
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland OH 9304
Catholic University of America Washington DC 5493
Cedarville University Cedarville OH 2855
Christian Brothers University Memphis TN 2167
Clarkson University Potsdam NY 2877
Clemson University Clemson SC 17465
Cleveland State University Cleveland OH 15294
Cogswell Polytechnical College Sunnyvale CA 426
College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls ID 5452
Colorado State University Fort Collins CO 26807
Columbia University in the City of New York New York NY 19639
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art New York NY 906
Cornell University Ithaca NY 12043
Cuny City College New York NY 11055
Cuny Graduate School and University Center New York NY 3567
Dordt College Sioux Center IA 1426
Drexel University Philadelphia PA 13128
Duke University Durham NC 12192
Fairfield University Fairfield CT 5188
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee FL 12126
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton FL 21046
Florida Institute of Technology - Melbourne Melbourne FL 4248
Florida International University Miami FL 31945
Florida State University Tallahassee FL 33971
Gannon University Erie PA 3377
George Washington University Washington DC 20527
Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Atlanta GA 14805
Gonzaga University Spokane WA 4548
Grove City College Grove City PA 2329
Hofstra University Hempstead NY 13144
Howard University Washington DC 10010
Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago IL 6003
Indiana University - Purdue University - Fort Wayne Fort Wayne IN 10531
Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis IN 27525
Iowa State University Ames IA 26845
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore MD 17774
Johnson & Wales University Providence RI 9172
Kansas State University Manhattan KS 21929
Kettering University Flint MI 3331
Lafayette College Easton PA 2279
Lake Superior State University Sault Ste Marie MI 3118
Lamar University Beaumont TX 11550
Lawrence Technological University Southfield MI 4087
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge LA 31527
Louisiana Tech University Ruston LA 10363
Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles CA 7500
Manhattan College Bronx NY 3070
Marquette University Milwaukee WI 10892
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge MA 10090
Mercer University Macon GA 6908
Meridian Community College Meridian MS 3096
Michigan State University East Lansing MI 43366
Michigan Technological University Houghton MI 6336
Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee WI 2620
Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato MN 12842
Mississippi State University Mississippi State MS 16561
New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark NJ 8820
New Mexico State University - Main Campus Las Cruces NM 14958
New York Institute of Technology - Manhattan Campus New York NY 2501
New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury Old Westbury NY 5898
North Carolina A & T State University Greensboro NC 7748
North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh NC 28619
North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo ND 9902
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
Northern Arizona University Flagstaff AZ 19964
Northern Illinois University Dekalb IL 23248
Northern Michigan University Marquette MI 8427
Northwest State Community College Archbold OH 2720
Northwestern University Evanston IL 16952
Norwich University Northfield VT 2652
Oakland University Rochester Hills MI 15235
Ohio Northern University Ada OH 3227
Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus OH 47952
Ohio University - Main Campus Athens OH 19920
Oklahoma Christian University Edmond OK 1752
Oklahoma State University - Main Campus Stillwater OK 18676
Old Dominion University Norfolk VA 18969
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