What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Do you like to create, improve and tinker with things? Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering, where the principles of engineering, math and physics meet imagination and creativity to keep things running—in the simplest of ways to the most complex.

Mechanical engineers research, develop, design and manufacture engines, machines and other mechanical devices for the benefit of society, such as:

  • Power-producing machines: automobile and jet engines, bicycle gear systems, hovercraft and space vehicle engines, ocean-vessel systems, fuel-efficient engines
  • Power-using machines: air-conditioners, air purifiers and systems, robots, machine tools, roller coasters, water-cooling heat exchangers and manufacturing equipment
  • Medical devices: prosthetic hands and limbs, braces, mobility equipment
  • Educational and household items: educational toys for kids, safety gadgets, self-propelling vacuums

Mechanical engineers are also at the forefront of newly developed technologies, such as:

  • Bioengineering
  • Nanoengineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Renewable energy

USD's Mechanical Engineering curriculum includes study across several areas:

  • Thermal Sciences: including thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer with applications in the efficient conversion of energy that allows the development of commercial power plants, environmentally friendly lawn mower engines and cryogenic medical devices used to treat cancer.
  • Mechanics and Materials: including the analysis of machine elements, materials and dynamics to improve products such as artificial knees, automobile suspensions and space vehicles.
  • Design and Manufacturing: including application of manufacturing processes and integration of engineering fundamentals from the thermal science, mechanics and materials areas in analysis and synthesis of mechanisms and machinery.

We encourage undecided students to take ENGR 101 - Introduction to Engineering - as part of their University Core Requirements to get hands-on experience in what engineering is all about.