Mechanical engineers are often referred to as the general practitioners of the engineering profession. They work in nearly every area of technology, from aerospace and automotive to computers and biotechnology. Mechanical engineering is a core discipline that encompasses the general areas of design and manufacturing; fluid and solid mechanics; and thermal and materials science.
Mechanical engineers might develop a bike lock or an aircraft carrier, a child’s toy or a hybrid car engine, a wheelchair or a sailboat. In other words, they construct and engineer just about anything that involves a mechanical process, whether it’s a cutting-edge product or a life-saving medical device. Mechanical engineers work in a wide range of fields, including the automotive industry, aerospace, computers, electronics, industrial machinery, manufacturing, mining, oceanography, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, printing and textiles. They develop new energy technology, improve the functionality of artificial limbs and even design race cars.
The mechanical engineering undergraduate curriculum at CU Boulder incorporates abroad range of courses to provide a balanced education in the fundamentals of the profession. Students can choose from two technical elective plans. One provides a broad, general education in mechanical engineering, while the other allows students to specialize in the technical area of biomedical or environmental engineering. Both paths prepare students for successful careers in industry or government, or for graduate education.
Students of the program also complete engineering senior design projects that are sponsored by local and national industry and provide hands-on and relevant design experience. Students can participate in undergraduate research internships and industry co-ops, and gain professional exposure through the university’s student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Graduate and undergraduate research may involve participation in one of the department’s major research centers, which include the Center for Combustion and Environmental Research; DARPA Focus Center on Nanoscale Science and Technology; NSF Membrane and Applied Science Center; Nanomaterials Characterization Facility; and the Collaborative for Air Quality Research. Students can also participate in faculty research through independent study and research assistantships. Specific research topics range from studying the loss of bone mass experienced by astronauts during long periods of spaceflight; to inversemodeling to track the source of greenhouse gases; to discovering the mechanical properties of exciting new nanomaterials such as graphene.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering prepares students for careers involving technical innovation and leadership. Graduate programs include a Master of Engineering, a Master of Science and a PhD, each of which provides a solid foundation for careers in industry, research labs and academia. The department tradition of interdisciplinary research provides students with exciting new opportunities in key research areas like air quality, bioengineering, materials science, thermo fluid sciences, microsystems, mechanics of materials and others.
Students are drawn to the Mechanical Engineering Program at CU Boulder because it is a tier one research institution that harnesses stateoftheart experimental, theoretical and computational approaches in order to expand the frontiers of technology. In addition to working with nationallyrecognized faculty, students benefit from affiliations with the University of Colorado Anschutz medical school (a top 10 medical school in the U.S.), NIST and NREL.