One of the most diverse and versatile engineering fields, mechanical engineering is the study of objects and systems in motion. As such, the field of mechanical engineering touches virtually every aspect of modern life, including the human body, a highly complex machine.
The role of a mechanical engineer is to take a product from an idea to the marketplace. To accomplish this, the mechanical engineer must be able to determine the forces and thermal environment that a product, its parts, or its subsystems will encounter; design them for functionality, aesthetics, and durability; and determine the best manufacturing approach that will ensure operation without failure.
Mechanical engineers play key roles in a wide range of industries including automotive, aerospace, biotechnology, computers, electronics, microelectromechanical systems, energy conversion, robotics and automation, and manufacturing. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) currently lists 36 technical divisions, from advanced energy systems and aerospace engineering to solid-waste engineering and textile engineering.
The breadth of the mechanical engineering discipline allows students a variety of career options beyond the industries listed above. Regardless of the particular path they envision for themselves, a mechanical engineering education empowers students with creative thinking skills to design an exciting product or system; analytical tools to achieve their design goals; the ability to overcome all constraints; and the teamwork needed to design, market, and produce a system. These valuable skills can be applied to launch careers in many other fields, such as medicine, law, consulting, management, banking, and finance.