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Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

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What is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines – it has existed as a formal type of engineering since the invention of the steam engine during the Industrial Revolution more than 150 years ago. Today, it remains as one of the most versatile disciplines, involving fundamental principles from thermal and fluid sciences, solid mechanics and materials, and dynamics and controls. At the University of Michigan, the broad scope of the Mechanical Engineering (ME) department is expressed through the diversity of research fields pursued by our faculty. These not only include traditional thematic fields, such as automotive engineering and manufacturing engineering, but also emerging new areas, such as biomechanics and biosystems, micro- and nanotechnology, mechatronics, energy and environment, and multi-scale mechanics.

Pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Michigan, affords you the opportunity to acquire technical knowledge applicable to a vast array of engineering disciplines, such as aerospace, biomedical, civil and environmental, engineering physics, materials science, and naval architecture and marine engineering. This versatility allows our graduates to excel in a wide range of careers and industries; some of these include research, design, development, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems and products.

Aside from top-notch curriculum, instructors, and research facilities, ME students have the opportunity to take part in the many engineering student societies and project teams on campus. These range from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Solar Car, Formula SAE Racing, Human Powered Submarine, and many others. In short, students who wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.E.) degree in ME at U of M are well positioned for careers in industry, consulting, research, or to pursue a graduate degree.

Who should pursue a Bachelor's Degree?

Many students that come to our Academic Services Office often ask: “How do I know if mechanical engineering is right for me?” The answer can generally be found by asking some simple questions:

  • Do you enjoy taking things apart to understand how they work?
  • Do you want to design next generation products, devices, or systems?
  • Do you like math and physics?
  • Do you take satisfaction in applying problem solving techniques to fix broken equipment, or in developing a more efficient way to do something?
  • Are you interested in making power conversion/storage systems more energy efficient?
  • Do you want to learn Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software to aid in the designing and testing of products?
  • Are you interested in sustainability and environmentally friendly product design?  
  • Does creating, building and testing new components, machines, or structures excite you?
  • Are you interested in applying mechanics to develop new biomedical instruments and devices?
  • Do you like working with your hands?
  • Are you interested in small scale materials, devices  and biological systems found in micro/nano engineering?
  • Do you like designing and building robots and dynamic control systems?

While this list is by no means all-encompassing, students that answer yes to these types of questions generally find mechanical engineering to be a good fit.

Another question often asked is: “What type of career can a mechanical engineer pursue?”

Because mechanical engineering is such a broad field and covers fundamental principles that can be applied across many different disciplines, a Bachelor's degree provides a student the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a variety of different fields and industries. Alumni of the University of Michigan's ME program are currently excelling in fields such as: manufacturing, automotive, rail, aerospace, aviation, naval, electronics, robotics, consulting, and packaging, as well as the process, food, and chemical industries, just to name a few.

From a survey conducted by the University of Michigan College of Engineering, students who graduated from U of M with their B.S.E. in ME during the 2012-2013 academic year reported earning an average starting salary of approximately $63,997. Just a few of the industries these students are currently working for include: aerospace, automotive, banking, chemical, consulting, consumer products, defense, oil and gas, and software. Some of the job titles these recent alumni hold include: Integration & Test Operations Engineer, Associates Consultant, Composites Engineer, Design Engineer, Entry Level Mechanical Engineer, Leadership Program Engineer, Process Engineer, Quality Engineer, Project Manager, and Structure & Payload Design Engineer.

For information specific to the B.S.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, please visit the Undergraduate Handbook and read the Undergraduate Degree Program Objectives and Outcomes.

Many students that complete the undergraduate ME program at U of M also choose to continue their education as either a Masters or PhD student. For information regarding the Master's and PhD programs in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, please visit the Graduate Handbook.