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Mechanical Engineering Major

One field, countless pathways Heading link

As a mechanical engineer, your personal interests can guide your career path. Are you inspired by robots that move on two legs (or four)? How about managing forest fires? Drones? The batteries of the future? See how all these pursuits find a home within ME — and how you can, too.

Get to know ME
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.

Download our 1-page ME major overview

Mechanical Engineering Major Requirements Heading link

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.

ME Majors and Alumni in Their Own Words Heading link

Laith Alsakkal, mechanical engineering alumni

Laith Alsakkal ’21
BS in Mechanical engineering

Pathways Engineer
Northrop Grumman

Favorite course: I think my favorite course was ME 210 Engineering Dynamics. What you use in the course is really relevant to engineering concepts that are used outside school.

Engineering project/assignment you did that you’re most proud of: Definitely Hyperloop. The team collaborated with IIT to create a levitation pod and 30 meter test track. All this wouldn’t be possible without the help of the department and members within the organization.

Internships you’ve held: Northrop Grumman

Favorite book: Fahrenheit 451

Ninoshka Friedman, mechanical engineering Alumni

Ninoshka Friedman ’20
BS in Mechanical Engineering

Boeing, at NASA Michoud
Structural Analyst Engineer

What are some of your day-to-day tasks?
My day is diverse and full of collaboration and anysis within the NASA Stress team. We work on structural repairs for the Space Launch System Artemis rocket. From the thrust beam of the engine section down to an avionics wire, we see it all.

How do you hope your work will create positive change in the world?
The Artemis rocket is sending us back to the moon and furthering our understanding of Space Exploration. In this manner, new technology is developed for this purpose. Also, we are advancing Space science by creating the most powerful rocket in the world.

How did the College of Engineering prepare you for your career? 
UIC set the foundation for my career not only by learning theoretical engineering but by applying these concepts with hands on experience. At UIC, I was involved in research and rocketry teams. I never expected that one day all of my experience at UIC would lead me here.

Would you recommend the College of Engineering to new applicants?
I highly recommend UIC due to its cultural network, community support and strong research facilities. I did research under Professor Brezinsky for two years and I was also awarded an NSF award and the prestigious Brooke Owens Aerospace Fellowship under his guidance.

One-sentence “Words of wisdom” to share with students:
Research, research, research

Learn More About the Mechanical Engineering Major Heading link

Program Educational Objectives: ME Major Heading link

The mechanical engineering program at UIC is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

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 apply engineering knowledge, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills with integrity in professional engineering practice or in non-engineering fields, such as law, medicine, education, or business. (Professional Practice)
  • To continue intellectual development and ethically responsible professional growth through graduate education, professional development courses, self-directed investigation, work in multidisciplinary teams, and/or on-the-job training and experience. (Professional Development)
  • To contribute to the betterment of society through impactful work and creating a collaborative, diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture in the workplace and community. (Service & Leadership)

Student Outcomes: ME Major Heading link

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 2021-2022 academic year, 727 students are enrolled at UIC Engineering as mechanical engineering majors across all class years. The department graduated 158 mechanical engineering majors in the academic year ending August 2020. View historical enrollment and graduation data here.

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