Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers design and analyze machines of all types, including automobiles, airplanes, rockets, submarines, power generation systems, biomedical instrumentation, robots, manufacturing systems, household appliances and many, many more.

In addition, mechanical engineers design and analyze the energy sources that provide power to machines, fluids that interact with machines and the materials from which machines are constructed. Mechanical engineers also work in cutting-edge fields such as nanotechnology, alternative energy sources and environmentally friendly "green" manufacturing processes. Another important application of mechanical engineering is in medicine, where artificial organs, surgical tools and drug-delivery systems are vital to human well-being.

Mechanical engineers are in continuous demand by virtually all industries and are also employed by state and federal governments and enjoy one of the highest starting salaries of all college majors. Mechanical engineering graduates can, if they wish, continue their studies and obtain advanced degrees in fields such as business, law, medicine and engineering.

The VCU Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering is the largest in the College of Engineering and offers an accredited B.S. degree in mechanical engineering, including the option of obtaining a major concentration nuclear engineering.

As part of the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering, all students complete an approved internship or cooperative education experience.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will demonstrate:

  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