4 answers

What courses do Mechanical Engineers have to take in college?

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I am wondering what specific courses Mechanical Engineers must take in college. It would be helpful if someone could give me an example of what a mechanical engineer's course looks like. #mechanical-engineering #courses #engineering

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4 answers

Cheryl’s Answer

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Hi Britney, My name is Cheryl Caffrey (Peter is my husband). I studied Mechanical Engineering in 1984-1988 and 1989-1991 to get my Masters. The first two years are pre requisites unless you took the AP classes in college - they include Calculus (I-IV), Physics, Chemistry, Computers (Matlab and Python are good languages to know) and things like English/humanities (they like to get some broader perspective courses in there). From there you go to Statistics, Material Science, Fluid Dynamics, Mechanisms, Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, and you have projects to put your knowledge together - either in the different classes or outside of the structured classes. Some kids work on the Society of Automotive Engineers Formula 1 Race car, or solar car or dune buggy, or NASA projects. The main thing to do when you are in engineering is to get internships - definitely in your Junior year but Sophomore year too if you can get them. If you can get one your freshman year then that's great - otherwise work with your professors and see if you can volunteer for a summer or maybe work for a small stipend - this gives you some experience you can then apply to your Sophomore year internship search. Coops are also another way to go - these last 6 months (usually a summer and then fall or spring and then summer). Several sites like Indeed.com or Kelly Services are places to find posted internships - as well as your school placement services. I understand these days about 50% are done with contacts you or your parents may know so be sure to hit everyone you know up for a summer job. Good luck!!
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Sarah’s Answer

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I agree with all of the above. In your first few years, in addition to the courses Brandon & Adam listed, you will also most likely take labs with each of your science courses. As you progress through your degree, you will take more mechanical engineering specific labs (i.e. CAD lab, Machine shop lab, etc.) in addition to more specialized courses (i.e. heat transfer, fluid mechanics, etc.) . Additionally, you may have an opportunity to take more focused courses in a particular genre of mechanical engineering, like aerospace or energy systems. Part of what I enjoyed about the MechE degree was your ability to explore a variety of different areas within the engineering space!
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Branden’s Answer

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Many mechanical engineering degree programs offer first-year engineering courses which provide a baseline for developing skills and understanding with the engineering problem solving methodology, basic programming in languages such as C, Python, and Java, and team collaboration / leadership / presentations. In addition, in your first year you will take courses such as Calculus 1 - 3, General Chemistry, Physics 1 & 2, and Gen Ed electives. After that, you will start getting more specific within your degree program with courses such as Thermodynamics, Mechanics, and Electric Circuits.
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Adam’s Answer

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Your first year or two will be mostly baseline science and math classes (calc 1-3, diff eq, linear algebra, chem, physics, bio). After that you will start to take more specialized courses such as statics and dynamics. The first year of baseline classes will give you a good indicator of whether the engineering life is for you - it was not for me!
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