Bachelors In

Mechanical Engineering Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.
on June 30, 2020

Why We Love It

  • $88,190
    Potential Avg. Salary*
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook

* Salary & growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at for 17-2141 Mechanical engineers 11/2021. Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

Machines are used by businesses in almost every industry. From construction to manufacturing, healthcare to transportation, machines make business possible, streamline operations, and improve profitability. With a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, you’ll learn to develop, improve, troubleshoot, repair, and maintain the large and small machines that modern businesses rely on.

What is a Degree in Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is a broad degree that covers aspects of many engineering disciplines. Students learn about the engineering tools and design programs, study the materials used in machine development, utilize computer-aided design programs, explore different mechanical systems, and understand engineering safety concepts. This knowledge enables them to succeed in a variety of engineering roles as an industrial, agricultural, manufacturing, robotics, or aerospace engineer.

In a mechanical engineering program, students may have the option to study the field from a broad, overall perspective or to focus their education on a specific subarea. In a general program, students study two major aspects of mechanical engineering: mechanical systems energy and fluids, and mechanical system structures and functions. This enables graduates to lend their knowledge and expertise to every aspect of machine product development—from design to quality assurance.

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What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Mechanical Engineering?

  • Thermodynamics
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Structure and Property of Materials
  • Mechanical Instrumentation and Devices
  • Engineering Project Management
  • Dynamic Systems
  • Mechanical Design
  • Computer-Aided Engineering

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering?

Because a mechanical engineering degree can lead to positions in various engineering roles, the demand for engineers depends highly on the graduate’s chosen specialization. Those who work in the manufacturing industry—particularly in marine and automotive engineering—may have the greatest job prospects as demand for more energy-efficient vehicles and vessels increases. Demand should also be sustained in the manufacturing and agricultural industries to help increase production and productivity.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Mechanical Engineering will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online Mechanical Engineering Degree

Mechanical engineering is a popular choice for undergraduate students but it is less common as an online degree because of the practical nature of the study. If you are looking for an online degree then it is recommended to complete the theoretical courses online and then complete the practical courses on campus to make sure that you are competitive in the job market. Earning a bachelor degree in engineering requires completing around 120 credit hours which can usually be done in 4 years by full-time students. Delivery of a capstone project is a requirement in almost all mechanical engineering programs.

What Can You Do With a Mechanical Engineering Degree?

Mechanical engineering is a field of study related to the design, development and production of mechanical devices including machines, engines and other tools with focus on the generation of desired movement. This fields of study combines physics, mathematics, electronics and materials science. Mechanical engineers rely heavily on computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing tools to develop a wide variety of products essential to life. They may develop industrial equipment and machinery, heating and cooling systems, transport systems, aircrafts, robots and medical devices.

What does a mechanical engineering student learn?

Mechanical engineering is a field that focuses on the movement of subjects and how to use various types of energies to generate controlled and desired movement. There are different types of mechanical engineering which are usually offered as specializations including fluid mechanics, heat transfer, manufacturing, system dynamics and control, and ground vehicle systems. The following courses are commonly offered in mechanical engineering programs:

  1. Mathematics courses: algebra, trigonometry, geometry and calculus.
  2. Science courses: chemistry, biology in addition to several advanced courses of physics.
  3. Energy conversion: this is the core of mechanical engineering which is the generation of controlled mechanical energy from other forms of energy. For example, a car engine converts electricity or potential energy stored in fuel to mechanical energy in the form of the vehicle movement.
  4. Robotics: currently, robotics are used as essential part in manufacturing of products as cars and other products. Robots has reached highly advanced forms with some robots simulating the movement of humans and animals.
  5. Electrical systems: electricity is the most common form of energy used in robots and equipment. The use of electric vehicles is growing around the world with the development of electric cars with very high performance and introduction of electrics planes.
  6. Thermodynamics: it is the branch of physics that studies the relation between heat and other forms of energy and how it affects materials.
  7. Machine design: this course introduces the different approach for machine design which include adaptive design, developmental design and new design.
  8. Other courses: theory, research and problem solving. Some of mechanical engineering programs may also include introductory courses that help students develop skills as English, humanities, public speaking and communication.

Now I have the mechanical engineering degree…where can I work after graduating?

Although mechanical engineering is a specialized field, there is still high demand for the graduates by companies and organizations around the world. The following list shows examples for career options available for mechanical engineering graduates:

  1. Automotive engineers: the industry of cars is directly related to establishing mechanical engineering as separate field of study. Automotive engineers have achieved significant advances since the appearance of automotive vehicles.
  2. CAD engineers: these are specialized engineers who are mainly focused in using computer software for development of designs and its implementation using computer controlled systems.
  3. Nuclear engineer: nuclear energy represents one of the major sources of energy used by the modern civilization. Nuclear engineers work in nuclear plants and in nuclear submarines.
  4. Control and instrumentation engineer: the role of this engineer is to develop, install and maintain equipment used for the control and monitoring of engineering systems.
  5. Aerospace engineers: they work in the development, building and maintenance of aircraft, rockets and spaceships.

Should I choose a mechanical engineering degree?

Mechanical engineering is one of the most difficult college programs to complete, however, it is rewarding regarding the career as well as the personal skills. If you have the passion to design piece of art equipment then mechanical engineering should certainly be among your choices. You should also have the following skills if you want to become a successful mechanical engineer:

  1. Solid technical skills: this is the core of engineering work which depends on the knowledge about the engineering fundamentals, calculations and applications.
  2. Effective time management and organization skills: engineers are commonly overloaded with work requirements and they should be able to effectively use their time and resources to complete the assigned tasks.
  3. Analysis and problem solving skills
  4. Attention to details: this is a challenging part about engineering since the designs normally contain huge amount of details and each part of these details remains very important.

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Best Jobs for Mechanical Engineering Degrees

The advantage of a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is its flexibility. Unlike other engineering disciplines like petroleum and mining engineering, a mechanical engineering degree qualifies graduates to work find work as an engineer in many different disciplines. Graduates may work as manufacturing engineers, industrial engineers, aerospace engineers, transportation engineers, and more.

How to save time and money

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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