What do mechanical engineers learn in college?
The most important thing you need to learn, although it is not a course of study per se, is to solve problems. And that means, first, to take a complicated problem and break it down into smaller problems that you can deal with using the various disciplines that you have studied. Your undergraduate courses tend to do the opposite: you start by analyzing a narrowly-defined system and lear Darrenn how to solve problems in that context using free-body diagrams and equations that describe the physical phenomena of interest. After you do that a few times, you can look at cases that are less narrowly defined and learn even better methods to study and analyze them. At some point, you may decide that certain subject areas interest you more than others. And that's ok. Later in your education (as a Junior or Senior), you may get to choose Electives, and that's how you can become more specialized in a specific discipline. Good luck to you as you continue your education, Darren!
My daughter is currently a sophomore in college and majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I asked her your questions and this is her answer:
The general classes are just chemistry, physics and a lot of math classes like calc and differential equations. We then learn about statics and dynamics, so things in motion versus things not in motion. Material science is about the properties of different materials. We also learn about circuits , computer aided design (CAD) and Machine shop.
Other classes in the program for her 3rd and 4th years include: Solid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Machine Elements, Heat Transfer, Engineer Probability and Statistics, Design of Thermal Systems, Ethics and Sustainability, Dynamics and Vibrations, Simulation and Control, Management and Negotiation.
Hope this helps. She really likes this major since it is pretty broad and you can branch off to other engineering fields like biotech, civil or structural, or material engineering etc...