Mechanical engineering is one of the most diverse and exciting branches of engineering. Its scope ranges from the design of very fine and sensitive instruments to the design of mammoth power plants. Mechanical engineering can encompass aerodynamics, lasers, high performance engines, electronic controllers, computer modeling and simulation, composite materials and robotics.
Mechanical engineering involves the creative design, manufacturing, testing, evaluation and distribution of such devices as automobiles, prosthetic limbs, home appliances, spacecraft, all types of engines, air conditioning equipment, artificial organs, nuclear and fossil fuel power plants, controls, robotics, and many types of instruments.
In order to prepare for such a broad field, mechanical engineers must have a solid foundation in physics, chemistry and mathematics. This field also includes studies in basic mechanics of solids and fluids, electricity and electronics, controls, dynamic analysis, mechanical design, thermodynamics, applied mechanics, and heat transfer.
Students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, selection is competitive. Factors used to determine eligibility to directly enroll include ACT/SAT scores (emphasis on math), strong college prep curriculum (emphasis on math, science and rigorous courses), and class rank or GPA. The middle 50 percent of directly enrolled pre-majors (autumn 2016) had ACT score ranges of 29–33 and 98 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes.
Students not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in Science, Technology and Environment Exploration (see exploration.osu.edu).
Summary of the major requirements for mechanical engineering:
- Engineering survey (1 course)
- Fundamentals of Engineering (2 courses)
- Chemistry (1 course)
- Electrical circuits and electronic devices (1 course)
- Manufacturing process engineering (1 course)
- Engineering economics (1 course)
- Materials science, biology or additional chemistry (1 course)
- Mathematics (4 courses)
- Mechanical engineering core (16 courses)
- Physics (2 courses)
- Statistics (1 course)
- Technical electives (12 credit hours)
Major requirements total 107 credit hours. General Education courses add 24 credit hours, bringing the total credit hours for the mechanical engineering degree to 131.
Students with at least a 3.5 overall GPA are also eligible for the BS/MS combined degree program. This is an efficient way to earn a master’s degree, as students have the opportunity to double-count credit from their undergraduate degree toward a graduate degree in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Students in this program are normally accepted at the end of their junior year and begin taking graduate-level courses during their final year of studies. Most students can complete master’s requirements in three semesters after completing a bachelor’s degree.
The College of Engineering helps undergraduate engineering students obtain career-related employment of three types: cooperative education, internships and part-time jobs. For more information, consult the Engineering Co-op and Internship Program (ECIP).
The mechanical engineering program provides high-achieving and creative students research opportunities that result in graduating with either research distinction or honors research distinction. Eligible students work one-on-one with a faculty member to develop an individual research project, earn six credit hours of technical elective credit, and write an undergraduate thesis that will require an oral defense to a faculty committee. To qualify for the research distinction program, students must have an overall 3.0 GPA going into their final year of studies in the mechanical engineering curriculum, and for the honors research distinction program, at least a 3.4 overall GPA.
There are many opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in student chapters of national societies, organizations and various project teams. Visit mae.osu.edu/student-organizations for a list of organizations and project teams associated with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Perhaps the greatest single reason for studying mechanical engineering is to prepare students for employment in a wide range of exciting industries including aerospace, automotive, biomedical, chemical, computers, electronics, fossil and nuclear power, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, robotics, and textiles.
Mechanical engineers find employment in eight broad classifications within the field: research, development, design, testing and evaluation, production and manufacturing, operation and maintenance, marketing and sales, and administration. The breadth of the mechanical engineering program also provides for greater mobility for career shifts later in life. Additionally, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering can open the door to post-graduate study in several engineering fields, business, law and medicine.
Beginning salaries for graduates with a degree in mechanical engineering range from $53,000 to $74,000 with the average being around $63,000. Salaries depend on candidates’ skills, previous work experience and other factors determined by various employers including the willingness to relocate.
The program educational objectives of the mechanical engineering undergraduate program are to educate graduates who will be ethical, productive and contributing members of society. As they progress professionally after graduation, our alumni will do the following:
- Use their engineering foundation for success in
- Careers in engineering (practice, research, R&D, education, management, or service) in industry, academia, government or other organizations
- Technical non-engineering careers in industry, academia, government, or other organizations
- Graduate school in engineering
- Non-technical careers in areas such as law, medicine, business, public policy, secondary education, service industries, etc.
- Non-technical careers involving management or entrepreneurship
- Use lifelong learning skills to
- Take advantage of professional development opportunities in their disciplines
- Develop new knowledge and skills and pursue new areas of expertise or careers
- Adapt to changing global markets and workforce trends
- Engage in professional service by
- Using their engineering background to advance society and to help solve technical and societal problems
- Developing new knowledge and products that will promote sustainable economic development to improve the quality of life
- Promoting the practice of engineering as a source of societal good
Find Student Outcomes supporting our Educational Objectives at go.osu.edu/me_outcomes.
Interested in a career in the STEM fields?
Check out the STEM Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a career in the fields of science, technology, environment and math.