What is Mechanical Engineering? | Michigan Technological University (2023)

What is Mechanical Engineering? | Michigan Technological University (1)

What do mechanical engineers do?

The essence of engineering is problem solving. Mechanical engineering combines creativity, knowledge and analytical tools to complete the difficult task of shaping an idea into reality.

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test. They deal with anything that moves, from components to machines to the human body.

Technically, mechanical engineering is the application of the principles and problem-solving techniques of engineering from design to manufacturing to the marketplace for any object. Mechanical engineers analyze their work using the principles of motion, energy, and force—ensuring that designs function safely, efficiently, and reliably, all at a competitive cost.

Mechanical engineers make a difference. That's because mechanical engineering careers center on creating technologies to meet human needs. Virtually every product or service in modern life has probably been touched in some way by a mechanical engineer to help humankind.

(Video) What is Mechanical Engineering?

This includes solving today's problems and creating future solutions in health care, energy, transportation, world hunger, space exploration, climate change, and more.

Being ingrained in many challenges and innovations across many fields means a mechanical engineering education is versatile. To meet this broad demand, mechanical engineers may design a component, a machine, a system, or a process. This ranges from the macro to the micro, from the largest systems like cars and satellites to the smallest components like sensors and switches. Anything that needs to be manufactured—indeed, anything with moving parts—needs the expertise of a mechanical engineer. Become a mechanical engineer.

What is Mechanical Engineering? | Michigan Technological University (2)

What do mechanical engineers do?

Mechanical engineering combines creativity, knowledge and analytical tools to complete the difficult task of shaping an idea into reality.

This transformation happens at the personal scale, affecting human lives on a level we can reach out and touch like robotic prostheses. It happens on the local scale, affecting people in community-level spaces, like with agile interconnected microgrids. And it happens on bigger scales, like with advanced power systems, through engineering that operates nationwide or across the globe.

Mechanical engineers have an enormous range of opportunity and their education mirrors this breadth of subjects. Students concentrate on one area while strengthening analytical and problem-solving skills applicable to any engineering situation.

Disciplines within mechanical engineering include but are not limited to:

  • Acoustics
  • Aerospace
  • Automation
  • Automotive
  • Autonomous Systems
  • Biotechnology
  • Composites
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Control Systems
  • Cyber security
(Video) What is Mechanical Engineering?
  • Design
  • Energy
  • Ergonomics
  • Human health
  • Manufacturing and additive manufacturing
  • Mechanics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Production planning
  • Robotics
  • Structural analysis

Technology itself has also shaped how mechanical engineers work and the suite of tools has grown quite powerful in recent decades. Computer-aided engineering (CAE) is an umbrella term that covers everything from typical CAD techniques to computer-aided manufacturing to computer-aided engineering, involving finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). These tools and others have further broadened the horizons of mechanical engineering.

What is Mechanical Engineering? | Michigan Technological University (3)

What careers are there in mechanical engineering?

Society depends on mechanical engineering. The need for this expertise is great in so many fields, and as such, there is no real limit for the freshly minted mechanical engineer. Jobs are always in demand, particularly in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, biotechnology, and energy industries.

Here are a handful of mechanical engineering fields.

In statics, research focuses on how forces are transmitted to and throughout a structure. Once a system is in motion, mechanical engineers look at dynamics, or what velocities, accelerations and resulting forces come into play. Kinematics then examines how a mechanism behaves as it moves through its range of motion.

Materials science delves into determining the best materials for different applications. A part of that is materials strength—testing support loads, stiffness, brittleness and other properties—which is essential for many construction, automobile, and medical materials.

How energy gets converted into useful power is the heart of thermodynamics, as well as determining what energy is lost in the process. One specific kind of energy, heat transfer, is crucial in many applications and requires gathering and analyzing temperature data and distributions.

Fluid mechanics, which also has a variety of applications, looks at many properties including pressure drops from fluid flow and aerodynamic drag forces.

Manufacturing is an important step in mechanical engineering. Within the field, researchers investigate the best processes to make manufacturing more efficient. Laboratory methods focus on improving how to measure both thermal and mechanical engineering products and processes. Likewise, machine design develops equipment-scale processes while electrical engineering focuses on circuitry. All this equipment produces vibrations, another field of mechanical engineering, in which researchers study how to predict and control vibrations.

Engineering economics makes mechanical designs relevant and usable in the real world by estimating manufacturing and life cycle costs of materials, designs, and other engineered products.

(Video) A Day In My Life At Texas Tech University | Mechanical Engineering Major

What is Mechanical Engineering? | Michigan Technological University (4)

What skills do mechanical engineers need?

The essence of engineering is problem solving. With this at its core, mechanical engineering also requires applied creativity—a hands on understanding of the work involved—along with strong interpersonal skills like networking, leadership, and conflict management. Creating a product is only part of the equation; knowing how to work with people, ideas, data, and economics fully makes a mechanical engineer.

What tasks do mechanical engineers do?

Careers in mechanical engineering call for a variety of tasks.

  • Conceptual design
  • Analysis
  • Presentations and report writing
  • Multidisciplinary teamwork
  • Concurrent engineering
  • Benchmarking the competition
  • Project management
  • Prototyping
  • Testing
  • Measurements
  • Data Interpretation
  • Developmental design
  • Research
  • Analysis (FEA and CFD)
  • Working with suppliers
  • Sales
  • Consulting
  • Customer service

What is Mechanical Engineering? | Michigan Technological University (5)

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How much do mechanical engineers earn?

Like careers in many other engineering fields, mechanical engineers are well paid. Compared to other fields, mechanical engineers earn well above average throughout each stage of their careers. According to the United States Department of Labor, the mean salary for a mechanical engineer is $97,000, with the top ten percent earning close to $136,210.

Mechanical Engineering Salaries Median Entry-Level Salary1 Mean Annual Salary2 Top 10 Percent3

Mechanical Engineering

  • National Labor Stats
$64,682 $97,000 $136,210
More salaries and sources.

The future of mechanical engineering

Breakthroughs in materials and analytical tools have opened new frontiers for mechanical engineers. Nanotechnology, biotechnology, composites, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and acoustical engineering have all expanded the mechanical engineering toolbox.

Nanotechnology allows for the engineering of materials on the smallest of scales. With the ability to design and manufacture down to the elemental level, the possibilities for objects grows immensely. Composites are another area where the manipulation of materials allows for new manufacturing opportunities. By combining materials with different characteristics in innovative ways, the best of each material can be employed and new solutions found. CFD gives mechanical engineers the opportunity to study complex fluid flows analyzed with algorithms. This allows for the modeling of situations that would previously have been impossible. Acoustical engineering examines vibration and sound, providing the opportunity to reduce noise in devices and increase efficiency in everything from biotechnology to architecture.

Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech

We are committed to our mission of hands-on education of our students, by world-class faculty, through innovative teaching, mentoring, and knowledge creation.

Our Bachelor of Science Degree

The bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech offers undergraduate students many unique, hands-on learning opportunities:

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Undergraduate research opportunities are plentiful. Our department offers undergraduate students numerous opportunities in research, hands-on experience, and real-world client work. Research projects often require help from students for running simulations, taking data, analyzing results, etc. These opportunities may even be paid, depending on the availability of funds on the particular project. Take advantage of over 50,000 square feet of labs and computer centers, in the 13-story R. L. Smith Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Building.

Real-World Experience

Get ready to contribute on the job from day one. Our students benefit from hands-on experiences ranging from our senior capstone design program to our enterprise teams to internships/co-ops. As a mechanical engineer, you can make a difference in the world by using the latest technologies to help solve today's grand challenges.

ABET Accreditation

Our undergraduate mechanical engineering program is ABET Accredited. ABET accreditation is a significant achievement. We have worked hard to ensure that our program meets the quality standards set by the profession. And, because it requires comprehensive, periodic evaluations, ABET accreditation demonstrates our continuing commitment to the quality of our program—both now and in the future.

Prepare for Graduate Study

Our undergraduate program in mechanical engineering prepares you for advanced study in the field. Earn your MS and/or PhD degrees in mechanical engineering, engineering mechanics, or a related field either at Michigan Tech or at another university.

(Video) Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering


What is the meaning of mechanical engineering technology? ›

Mechanical Engineering Technology is the application of engineering principles and technological developments for the creation of useful products and production machinery.

Is Michigan Technological University a good school for mechanical engineering? ›

Our undergraduate program is currently 24th in BSME degrees awarded in the U.S. We have been in the top 27 in BSME degrees awarded for the past 37 consecutive years. Source: American Society for Engineering Education.

What are the 4 branches of mechanical engineering? ›

Manufacturing. Mechanical Design. System Dynamics and Control. Transportation Systems.

What is the difference between Mechanical Engineering Technology and mechanical engineering? ›

Mechanical Engineering Technology

While mechanical engineers are very design and theory-oriented, mechanical engineer technologists focus on putting ideas into action. For example, a mechanical engineer may design a machine based on engineering principles.

What do you learn in Mechanical Engineering Technology? ›

Mechanical engineering technology students put knowledge into action, developing skills in generating and using mechanical and fluid energy, developing machines and products, production processes, installing and maintaining machines, and solving repetitive engineering problems.

What is the number 1 University in Michigan? ›

1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Which University of Michigan is best for engineering? ›

Here are the Best Engineering Schools in Michigan
  • University of Michigan--Ann Arbor.
  • Michigan State University.
  • Michigan Technological University.
  • Lawrence Technological University.
  • Oakland University.
  • University of Detroit Mercy.
  • Wayne State University.
  • Western Michigan University.

What GPA do you need to get into Michigan engineering? ›

You must have at least a 2.5 GPA to be considered for admission. Applicants are welcome to apply with courses in progress, but prerequisites must be completed by the requested term of enrollment. We require a grade of C or better in all prerequisite courses.

Which type of mechanical engineer is best? ›

Here are the six best-paying jobs in mechanical engineering:
  • Automation engineer.
  • Research and development engineer.
  • Senior mechanical engineer.
  • Senior design engineer.
  • Powertrain engineer.
  • Instrumentation engineer.

Is mechanical engineering hard? ›

The field of mechanical engineering ranks as one of the hardest majors in part because of its technical requirements. Students must take advanced mathematics and science courses as part of their training.

Who is the No 1 mechanical engineer in the world? ›

Ranking number 2 on our list of the top 10 mechanical engineering companies in the world is Google. Google is arguably the largest technology company in the world and is known for hiring an endless list of mechanical engineers.
Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Companies in the World 2020.
Name of CompanyNASA
Revenue (USD billions)22.63
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., USA
9 more columns
2 Nov 2020

What subjects do mechanical engineers study? ›

Coursework for mechanical engineering majors begins with foundational classes in math, physics and chemistry. Students also take mechanical engineering courses covering topics such as thermodynamics, fluid and solid mechanics, environmental science, and mechatronics.

What are the two types of mechanical engineer? ›

Branches of Mechanical Engineering

Acoustical engineering: the manipulation and control of vibration to reduce unwanted noise. Manufacturing engineering: optimizing manufacturing techniques, developing processes as well as machines, tools, and equipment for the manufacture of goods.

Is engineering technology better than engineering? ›

Generally speaking, engineers are more theoretical, analytical, and design-oriented while engineering technologists are more hands-on and applications-oriented.

Can engineering technologist become engineer? ›

Graduates from an accredited Bachelor of Engineering Technology programmes are eligible to register with BEM as an Engineering Technologist allowing them to take up employment in providing engineering services. apply to become a Professional Engineer.

Is engineering technology a good degree? ›

Engineering technology can be a good career option for those who want to enter the engineering field and pursue hands-on work. However, it may be helpful for students to choose a post-secondary institution and program that is ABET accredited.

What are 5 duties of a mechanical engineer? ›

  • Perform a full lifecycle product development (design, develop, test prototypes, manufacture and implement)
  • Design systems and components that meet needs and requirements.
  • Produce outline designs.
  • Conduct experiments methodically, analyse data and interpret results.
  • Test and evaluate theoretical designs.

What is 5 most important skills for a mechanical engineer? ›

Top Five Skills Needed to be a Mechanical Engineer
  • Problem Solving. Every mechanical engineer should have problem solving skill. ...
  • Creativity. Mechanical engineers have to design and develop the complicated products. ...
  • Clear communication abilities. ...
  • Leadership skills. ...
  • Mathematics.
11 Oct 2021

Why do people study mechanical engineering? ›

WHY CHOOSE TO STUDY MECHANICAL ENGINEERING? Mechanical engineers design and build solutions to a range of problems, improving efficiency across a wide range of industries. By studying mechanical engineering, you can look forward to good job prospects, high salaries, and varied work.

What is the number 1 University in USA? ›

Harvard University

This Ivy League school is the oldest higher education institution in the country and has the largest endowment of any school in the world.

What is the number 1 Ivy League college? ›

The best Ivy League school in 2022 is Harvard, followed by Princeton and Yale based on this ranking method. The most notable changes in rankings compared to last year is Columbia dropping below Princeton, U Penn and Yale.

What city in Michigan has the best schools? ›

Northville Public Schools is the best school district in Michigan. Comprising eleven schools in the wealthy suburb of Northville, the district consistently has a graduation rate north of 96% and its students regularly best state and national averages on the ACT and SAT's.

Which University produces the best engineers? ›

Here are the 2023 Best Engineering Schools
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Stanford University.
  • University of California, Berkeley.
  • Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Purdue University--West Lafayette.
  • University of Texas--Austin (Cockrell)
  • California Institute of Technology.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology.

How hard is it to get into Michigan engineering? ›

Most years we'll admit around 20% of the students who apply. That equates to over 3000 acceptance letters, and you only need one acceptance letter. So let's talk about the top seven tips that you can use to get that acceptance letter to Michigan Engineering.

What is a low engineering GPA? ›

Employers that value students who earn perfect or nearly perfect grades use students' GPAs to determine whether they are qualified for an engineering job. Virginia Tech suggests reporting a GPA above 3.0, but, with companies that want only graduates with an exemplary student record, a GPA lower than 3.5 may hurt.

Can I get into University of Michigan with a 2.7 GPA? ›

Standard Program Admission Requirements

Students who meet our standard admission requirements generally have the following minimum GPA to start at UM-Flint: 2.7 high school GPA. High school diploma or minimum (GED score of 170)

What is the minimum GPA for engineering? ›

Though the range will vary, many engineering programs have GPA requirements for applicants. Most colleges expect a high school GPA of at least 3.0 or a demonstration that the student was in, at minimum, the top 25 percent of their graduating high school class.

What is mechanical engineer highest salary? ›

Mechanical Engineer salary in India ranges between ₹ 1.4 Lakhs to ₹ 7.5 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 3.2 Lakhs.

What are the three 3 categories of mechanical engineers? ›

- Certificates of registration for the practice of mechanical engineering shall be of three (3) categories and in order of rank as follows: (a) Professional Mechanical Engineer; b) Mechanical Engineer; and (c) Certified Plant Mechanic.

Is mechanical engineering has a lot of math? ›

The physical laws governing engineering are heavily mathematical, and so is the training for mechanical engineers. The field requires proficiency in algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics and differential equations.

Can a mechanical engineer do everything? ›

They work with everything from engines to elevators to medical devices. A mechanical engineer uses math and science to figure out solutions to mechanical problems. They also build upon past accomplishments in mechanical engineering to improve efficiency and embrace innovation.

Are mechanical engineers successful? ›

Mechanical Engineering jobs are not only profitable, but also in high demand. The number of available work opportunities is both stable and growing. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, in America alone, there will be a 4% increase in Mechanical Engineering jobs through 2028.

Which country has best jobs for mechanical engineers? ›

8 Best Countries for Engineers on the Hunt for Work Abroad
  • Canada. Canada is an infrastructurally sound country with an advanced economy and vast access to natural resources, such as gas and lumber. ...
  • New Zealand. ...
  • India. ...
  • Japan. ...
  • China.
4 Jan 2021

Which country is famous for mechanical engineering? ›

The US has the most number of top mechanical engineering schools; 29 out of the world's top 100. This reason is alone to attract international students that you can aim to apply to multiple universities, all of which are one of the best in the field.

Which country has highest salary for mechanical engineers? ›

The manufacturing industry in the United States is expected to reach $6 trillion by the end of 2022. This makes the US one of the most lucrative regions in the world for mechanical engineering graduates.

What is the job title of a mechanical engineer? ›

Some entry-level mechanical engineering jobs include: mechanical design engineer, test engineer, automation engineer, sales engineer, and product quality engineer.

What is the future of mechanical engineering? ›

Mechanical engineering is undergoing some radical shifts as a profession as robotics, virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data transform the way that engineers design and develop projects. In the past, designing new tools and systems often required multiple prototypes and test runs.

Does mechanical engineering require math? ›

Most of the projects you will work on involve math. Mechanical engineers use math for many different reasons like using physics formulas to determine things like energy and force, using algebra to design suspension systems or developing algorithms for computer software.

How long do you study mechanical engineering? ›

A bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, which usually takes four years to earn, ensures that students have the fundamental technical knowledge for obtaining a license and getting started with a job in the field.

What is the most important subject in mechanical engineering? ›

The fundamental subjects required for mechanical engineering usually include: Mathematics (in particular, calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra) Basic physical sciences (including physics and chemistry) Statics and dynamics.

What are the 7 types of mechanical engineering? ›

Disciplines within mechanical engineering include but are not limited to:
  • Acoustics.
  • Aerospace.
  • Automation.
  • Automotive.
  • Autonomous Systems.
  • Biotechnology.
  • Composites.
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)

What are the 4 main branches of mechanical engineering? ›

Manufacturing. Mechanical Design. System Dynamics and Control. Transportation Systems.

What are 3 examples of what mechanical engineers can do? ›

"A mechanical engineer has opportunities to work in the automotive, heating and cooling, manufacturing and aeronautic industries, to name a few," he explains. "Projects can be revolutionary or evolutionary."

How long is Mechanical Engineering Technology? ›

The Mechanical Engineering Technology program is a practical, hands-on, full-time, two-year diploma program that lets you develop strong technical, analytical, and problem-solving skills essential for a range of exciting careers in the challenging field of mechanical engineering.

What is mechanical technician job? ›

A Mechanical Technician diagnoses and repairs faults on cars and other vehicles. They work primarily on a vehicle's mechanical faults but may also use specialised tools and computers to diagnose and repair electronic faults on modern cars.

Why is mechanical technology important? ›

Why is Mechanical Engineering Important? Without mechanical engineering, we would not have things like engines, generators, elevators or even air conditioning. While we might not even realize it, we most likely use something that has been mechanically engineered every day.

Is a mechanical engineering technology degree hard? ›

It solely depends on your passion. The focus of mechanical engineering technology is more on hands-on and applied learning. You can expect less physics and maths and more practical projects too. If you see yourself working in the technology-driven world – then, no this shouldn't be a “very” difficult degree!

What is the difference between engineering and engineering technology? ›

Most notably, a Bachelor of Science in Engineering emphasizes theories and advanced concepts, while an Engineering Technology degree emphasizes hands-on application and implementation.

Which job is best for mechanical? ›

Here are the six best-paying jobs in mechanical engineering:
  • Automation engineer.
  • Research and development engineer.
  • Senior mechanical engineer.
  • Senior design engineer.
  • Powertrain engineer.
  • Instrumentation engineer.

Is mechanical engineering good for Career? ›

Is mechanical engineering a good career? Yes. A mechanical engineering degree can lead to careers in many fields, including manufacturing and aerospace. These careers provide strong annual salaries.

What is the qualification as a mechanical technician? ›

Relevant courses include: Level 2 Certificate in Mechanical Engineering. Level 2 Diploma in Engineering Technology. Level 3 Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.

What skills do mechanical engineers need? ›

Important Qualities
  • Creativity. Mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery. ...
  • Listening skills. Mechanical engineers often work on projects with others, such as architects and computer scientists. ...
  • Math skills. ...
  • Mechanical skills. ...
  • Problem-solving skills.
8 Sept 2022

What is the top skills a mechanical engineer must have? ›

Top Skills Needed to be a Mechanical Engineer
  1. Problem Solving. A portion of every mechanical engineer's day involves solving client problems. ...
  2. Creativity. Mechanical engineers often develop and design products. ...
  3. Clear communication abilities. ...
  4. Collaboration. ...
  5. Mathematics.

What are the benefits of being a mechanical engineer? ›

Benefits of choosing Mechanical Engineering course
  • A wide range of career options. ...
  • Exposure to global opportunities. ...
  • A broad range of knowledge. ...
  • Developing New Technology. ...
  • You will contribute to the society. ...
  • Transferable Skills.

Why do students choose mechanical engineering? ›

Mechanical engineering is a very interesting and dynamic field and can give a lot of opportunities for a career. Mechanical engineers are in high demand for their knowledge of advanced machines and their ability to make machines that are more efficient and safer, from car engines to conveyor belts.


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