5 Mechanical Engineering Schools Worth a Deeper Look
A mechanical engineering degree allows graduates to take their careers in a number of interesting directions, depending on their interests. Mechanical engineers are involved at every step of the process of creating mechanical devices, from initial designs to developing, building and testing. Since mechanical engineering is one of the broadest fields within engineering, it gives individuals the freedom to shape their career paths as they choose. Mechanical engineers may find themselves working in engineering services, in research and development, in the manufacturing industry, or for the federal government. The field is constantly changing as technology innovations surface, giving mechanical engineers plenty of opportunity to feel challenged and engaged by their work.
5 Noteworthy Universities for Mechanical Engineering
Searching for mechanical engineering programs that stand out from the pack? Here are five colleges worth a deeper look.
Georgia Tech's George Woodruff School is widely rated as one of the country's top mechanical engineering schools: In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked it the 5th-best graduate engineering program in the nation. Georgia Tech is particularly strong in its industrial engineering offerings, and is a great fit for students interested in working with mechanical components in any capacity. The school emphasizes involving students in research, and offers plentiful opportunities in the city of Atlanta for students to gain work experience through co-ops or volunteering. Primary research areas in engineering include automation/mechatronics, fluid mechanics, mechanics of materials, manufacturing, and bioengineering.
Michigan Tech has a strong focus on engineering, with 57 percent of its undergraduates in engineering majors. Its location in Michigan, home to America's automotive industry, contributes to its particular strength in automotive engineering. The school started a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) curriculum with a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, and now both engineering undergraduates and graduate students have access to an array of courses that provide both specialized knowledge and hands-on experience with every facet of HEVs. The school's resources and close connections to the auto industry leaders in Detroit make it an ideal spot for students who aspire to help reinvent America's car industry.
The University of North Dakota's mechanical engineering program offers a comprehensive overview of the field, with students that work on projects ranging from wind tunnel experiments and space hardware design to nanotechnology development and agricultural innovations. The program is particularly noteworthy for its online bachelor's degree program, which allows students to reap the same benefits of the brick-and-mortar mechanical engineering program at their own pace from anywhere in the country, while continuing to work or meet other outside obligations.
Purdue University's College of Engineering is another contender regarded as one of the best engineering grad schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report, with an 8th-place ranking in 2013. The school excels in many engineering disciplines, including mechanical engineering. Among its strongest features are its multidisciplinary research initiatives, including one in Global Sustainable Industrial Systems. Purdue is also a leader in engineering research: the U.S. Department of Energy's Graduate Automotive Technology Education initiative recently awarded Purdue a $1 million grant to explore hybrid technologies for commercial vehicles. The school has also developed its own online platform, called the Freeform Classroom, for delivering course content to students with greater flexibility.
Texas A&M University's Dwight Look College of Engineering is recognized as a leader in aerospace engineering, and may be an ideal option for students who aspire to build aircraft, spacecraft, missiles or satellites. The school also offers some less common specialties, including health physics, industrial distribution and safety engineering. It's also particularly well-regarded for its programs in biological and agricultural engineering, petroleum engineering and nuclear engineering. Texas A&M's partnership with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, also located in College Station, gives students excellent opportunities to get involved with cutting-edge engineering research.
The wide range of disciplines within mechanical engineering makes it an open, flexible field offering a number of potential career routes. If an aspiring mechanical engineer can zero in on a particular direction within the field before beginning his or her studies, choosing the right mechanical engineering program can be easier. However, no matter what mechanical engineering career path you pursue, rewarding opportunities may await you.
"Mechanical Engineers," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm
"Aerospace Engineers," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/aerospace-engineers.htm
"Texas A&M University - College Station: Engineering School Overview," U.S. News & World Report, 2012, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering-schools/texas-a-m-university-college-station-look-02174
"Best Engineering Schools," U.S. News & World Report, Ranked in 2013, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering-schools/eng-rankings?int=e2a2b9