Mechanical Engineering Major

two students building a wooden prototype

If you are interested in anything that moves, you will find a natural home in mechanical engineering.

Mechanical engineers are problem-solvers, designers, and creators. They understand materials, solid and fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, design, control, instrumentation, and production. Engineers in this area can recognize emerging issues, come up with novel solutions, and create and test prototypes of their designs.

As a mechanical engineer, you’ll create products and technologies that meet human needs. These can span a range from large to small: enormous power turbines and manufacturing robots on one end, nanoscale devices and systems on the other. No matter what their size, the devices you create and refine could have an impact on energy, transportation, space exploration, the environment, health care, aerospace, and more.

Mechanical Engineering Major Requirements

Mechanical engineering majors complete coursework in four categories:

  • Nonengineering and general education courses: Nonengineering and general education courses will make you a well-informed graduate in disciplines outside of mechanical engineering. You will take 53 credit hours in this category, including chemistry, physics, math, and a range of “chart-your-own-path” classes in areas such as Exploring World Cultures and Understanding the Individual and Society. For details on general education requirements, consult the course catalog.
  • Required engineering courses: Students earn 66 credit hours from engineering courses that all ME majors must take. These courses—including Engineering Dynamics, Fluid Mechanics I, and Experimental Methods in Mechanical Engineering—offer a thorough introduction to the field. Details on these requirements are in the course catalog.
  • Technical electives:ME majors complete 6 credit hours of courses that will prepare them for the specific careers or research they have in mind. Options include Probability and Statistics for Engineers, Electromechanical Energy Conversion, an undergraduate research course, and more (see the course catalog for details).
  • Free elective: The final 3 credit hours of the ME major come from one or more electives outside the mechanical engineering rubric, based on your choice.

Learn More About the Mechanical Engineering Major

Program Educational Objectives: ME Major

As part of our accreditation process, ABET asks our department to capture the overall goals of the undergraduate programs in mechanical and industrial engineering. These are called our program educational objectives. For the mechanical engineering major, they are:

  • To adeptly apply analytical, experimental, and computer tools in design and performance improvement of mechanical and thermal systems.
  • To effectively pursue ethically responsible professional growth through continued learning and by taking on different roles in multidisciplinary teams (i.e., to become better engineers, both technically and in dealing with others).
  • To work successfully in many different situations and with many different kinds of people, and to adapt to changes in the workplace and in the world (i.e., to be engineers who embrace diversity and change).

Student Outcomes: ME Major

Another part of the ABET accreditation process requires the department to identify the specific knowledge and skills that students are intended to have when they complete their undergraduate education. These are called student outcomes.

Students graduating from the mechanical engineering program at UIC will have:

  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, 738 students were enrolled at UIC Engineering as mechanical engineering majors across all class years. The department graduated 161 mechanical engineering majors in the academic year ending August 2019.

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