Majors & Programs


Mechanical Engineering

As an engineering school, we aspire to discover the unknown, educate students, and serve society. Our strategy focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, and security. Through innovative partnerships with academic and industry partners—across disciplines and across the world—we will contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.

Why Consider Mechanical Engineering?

The 21st century abounds with challenges that mechanical engineers can help solve, in areas spanning energy generation, medical device development, climate change, automotive and aerospace vehicle design, manufacturing, and nanotechnology. By virtue of their ability to understand and solve important problems in these areas, mechanical engineers are well prepared to take leadership roles in industry, law, medicine, and government. Mechanical engineering is a good choice for students who enjoy math and science and have a desire to make an impact.

The Washington University Advantage

The most pressing challenges of the 21st century involve energy, sustainability, healthcare, security, and information technology. New materials—nano-structured, multi-functional, energy-harvesting, light, strong, and environ-mentally sustainable—will play a significant role in addressing each of these challenges. Mechanical engineers, in collaboration with physicists, chemists, physicians, biologists, and other partners, will harness these new materials to address the grand challenges we face.

At Washington University we explore fundamental mechanical engineering and materials science at the interfaces between traditional disciplines:

  • Where mechanics converges with biology
  • Where materials science converges with nanotechnology and
  • Where aerospace engineering converges with the science of energy.

We believe it is at these interfaces that solutions to many of engineering’s grand challenges may be found.

First-Year Engineering Seminar

A weekly first-year engineering seminar, organized and run by upper-class students, will introduce you to engineering and will help you identify the specific area of engineering that matches your long-term interests and aspirations. In addition, the seminar helps develop your leadership, collaboration, and communication skills—all of which will help you succeed throughout your undergraduate education.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students have many opportunities to participate in research in areas such as biomechanics, wind turbine simulation, and synthesis of nanomaterials for medical or energy-related technologies. Sixty percent of our current students participate in an undergraduate research or independent study project with faculty.

International Study Opportunities

Engineering students have the opportunity to study abroad through the College of Arts & Science Overseas Programs but there are also opportunities available only to engineering students—including summer-, semester-, or year-long study programs. Students can travel to further study engineering or pursue other cultural experiences to enhance academics through a second major or minor.

For example, students have visited China to learn about biomedical engineering applications that have led to senior design projects. Some students have traveled throughout Asia to learn about nanotechnology, renewable energy, and environmental technologies. Others have learned about medical imaging methods in Germany or participated in engineering programs in Israel. All of the programs, however, are unique to Washington University and offered exclusively to our engineering students.

Career Opportunities in Mechanical Engineering

Graduates with a BS in Mechanical Engineering may enter the work force as practicing engineers, or pursue further study in engineering, law, business, or medicine.

Recent graduates have joined Anheuser-Busch InBev, AmerenUE, Monsanto, Exxon-Mobil, NASA, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, the Peace Corps, Proctor & Gamble, and the United States Navy. Their roles are to design new devices, come up with new processes, and develop strategies for increased efficiency or better performance. Graduate study in Mechanical Engineering can lead to a career in basic or applied research. Finally, a mechanical engineer who prefers “none of the above” is well prepared to start a company or come up with his or her own career, armed with quantitative skills, creativity, and critical thinking.

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