Mechanical Engineering Advising Guide

Department of Mechanical Engineering

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What is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineers design and study machines and systems that move or that convert energy. That involves everything from microscale sensors and activators to spacecraft for exploration of the universe.

Mechanical engineers are inventors. They work in automotive, aerospace and marine transportation to invent ways to move people and things efficiently. They develop new energy systems to generate power while reducing carbon emission. Mechanical engineers design medical devices that improve health and extend life. Mechanical engineering is an exciting and fascinating profession.

 

Career Opportunities in Mechanical Engineering 

 "CollegeGrad.com," a career-tracking resource that follows current job trends, discusses some of the things mechanical engineers typically do:

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering fields. Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries.

Mechanical engineers design power-producing machines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines, as well as power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

Mechanical engineers design systems for buildings, including, elevators and escalators, heating and cooling and hydraulic and fluid systems. They also design material-handling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations.

Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers extensively. Mechanical engineers are routinely responsible for the integration of sensors, controllers, and machinery. Computer technology helps mechanical engineers create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work, interact with connected systems, and generate specifications for parts.

The following are examples of types of mechanical engineers:

Auto research engineers seek to improve the performance of cars, trucks, and other vehicles. These engineers work to performance, reliability, and fuel efficiency. They develop power trains that may use new fuels and energy sources.

Heating and cooling systems engineers develop systems to maintain proper environments for people, animals, or goods. They develop such systems for airplanes, cars, schools, supermarkets, hockey rinks, and even computer rooms.

Robotic engineers plan, build, and maintain autonomous systems for wide range of applications. They may design robots that use sensory (light, sound) or other inputs to perform a task, or use artificial intelligence for action decisions.1


A Mechanical Engineering degree can prepare you to work in a wide range of engineering and technical fields:

Acoustics Engineer Design Engineer Nanophysicist
Aerospace Engineer Engineering Consultant Metallurgist
Automotive Engineer Failure Analyst Petroleum Engineer
Biomedical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Research Scientist
Biophysicist Materials Scientist Structural Engineer
Combustion Engineer Mechanical Engineer Systems Engineer
Construction Engineer Mining Engineer Technical Sales Engineer


Mechanical Engineering can also prepare you for a career in a number of professions where technical, analytical, and communications skills are important. Here are some of those professions:

Attorney Physician Production Manager
Corporate Investment Banker Product Development Specialist Project Manager


Salary Trends Mechanical Engineering 

According to NACA Salary Survey 2017, the average salary for someone with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree is $65, 557/year.

 

High School Preparation

To best prepare for a Mechanical program, take a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that includes mathematics (trigonometry and calculus if available), chemistry, physics, and English. Mechanical engineers need good communication skills, so classes and extracurricular activities which help you to write and speak effectively will be very valuable.

 

How to Major in Mechanical Engineering

To major in Mechanical Engineering, students must take a total of 18 hours of general education classes (not including English Composition I and II). It is important that students make adequate progress in the Mechanical program. Satisfactory completion of a set of fundamental courses is required before a student is allowed to take advanced courses. Professional Component Standing (PCS) is awarded by the chair of the department when the student completes the PCS requirements.

College of Engineering PCS Courses  
Course Number Course Title Minimum Grade 
EH 101 English Composition I C
EH 102 English Composition II C
CH 131 General Chemistry I with Lab C
MA 125 Calculus I C
MA 126 Calculus II C
PH 201 Calculus-Based Physics I with Lab C

 

Mechanical Engineering PCS Courses  
Course Number Course Title Minimum Grade
MA 227 Calculus III C
MA 237 Linear Algebra I C
PH 202 Calculus-Based Physics II with Lab C
EG 283 Statics C
ME 135 Engineering Graphics and Comm C


Students must make a "C" or better in order to be considered for Professional Standing. Once PCS has been earned, students can be permitted to continue in 300- and 400-level engineering courses as well as declare a concentration in Aerospace Engineering or Biomedical Engineering should they wish to do so.

Mechanical engineering students are required to take their Engineering discipline specific Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination in Alabama or another state prior to graduation.. Degree requirements include a minimum of 18 semester hours of approved electives in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Satisfactory completion of the 126 hour program outlined in the Bulletin leads to a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Students must also comply with the College of Engineering Requirements for a Degree, which are covered in the Bulletin under the College of Engineering.

 

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Students are encouraged to intern and/or co-op once they’ve completed their fundamental classes. Accepting a co-op could extend time to graduation. Co-op students should register with Career Services.

Mechanical Engineering Highlights 

There are many research opportunities for a mechanical engineering student to conduct research with a faculty mentor, either during the school or over the summer term. Interested students should contact the department chair for more information on research opportunities.

Study Abroad Opportunities 

The College of Engineering has agreements with six German Universities for exchange programs. Please contact the College of Engineering or Study Abroad Office for more information and details on the exchange program

 

Academic Plan

Following an academic plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years. 

To see a sample academic plan for this major, please click here.  Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you.

For additional degree information, visit the undergraduate bulletin.

 

For More Information

Please contact the Department of Mechanical Engineering for more information at (251) 460-6168 or Nani Perez Uribe at nperezuribe@southalabama.edu.

You can find us on campus at:

College of Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Shelby Hall, Rm 3128
150 Student Services Drive
Mobile, AL 36688

Website: http://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/engineering/me/

*The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other majors, please refer to the USA bulletin or contact the department/College directly. 

 

1 https://collegegrad.com/careers/mechanical-engineers