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Mechanical Engineering Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • Why Mechanical Engineering? The Ohio State University, Accessed November 2017, https://mae.osu.edu/undergraduate/admissions/why-mechanical
  • Mechanical Engineering Online Degree, University of North Dakota, Accessed November 2017, https://und.edu/academics/extended-learning/online-distance/degrees/mechanical-engineering/
  • Mechanical Engineering, Wright State University - Lake Campus, Accessed November 2017, https://lake.wright.edu/academics/engineering-mathematics-and-science-academic-unit/mechanical-engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin - Platteville, Accessed November 2017, https://www.uwplatt.edu/ems/mechanical-engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Accessed November 2017, https://mae.mst.edu/mechanicalengineering/mechanicalengineeringundergraduate/
  • BS Degree, Iowa State University, Accessed November 2017, https://www.me.iastate.edu/degrees-and-programs/bs-degree/
  • Mechanical Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Accessed November 2017, https://www.sdsmt.edu/ME/
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Accessed November 2017, http://infohost.nmt.edu/~mecheng/homepage.html
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs, Accessed November 2017, https://mae.uccs.edu/undergraduate/bs.php
  • Mechanical Engineering, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Accessed November 2017, http://cooper.edu/engineering/mechanical-engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering, Grove City College, Accessed November 2017, http://www.gcc.edu/Home/Academics/Majors-Departments/Mechanical-Engineering
  • Is getting a master's degree in mechanical engineering worth it? Lisa Kirschner, GrabCAD Blog, April 15, 2015, http://blog.grabcad.com/blog/2015/04/24/masters-degree-in-mechanical-engineering-worth-it/
  • Program Objectives and Outcomes (ABET), University of California - Berkley, Accessed November 2017, https://www.me.berkeley.edu/undergraduate/degree-program/program-objectives-and-outcomes-abet
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed November 2017, www.bls.gov/ooh
  • Engineering Scholarships, ASME, Accessed November 2017, https://www.asme.org/career-education/scholarships-and-grants/scholarship-and-loans
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
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As the oldest branch of engineering, mechanical engineering is a broad field that offers numerous employment opportunities. Virtually every system that includes moving parts has been designed, manufactured or maintained by mechanical engineers in some capacity.

To work as a mechanical engineer, you'll typically need at least a bachelor's degree. While one benefit of the field is that it teaches skills which can be used across industries, many mechanical engineering degree programs allow students to specialize their studies. They may focus on a certain sector or specific area such as design, energy systems or even nuclear engineering.

Some institutions also offer online mechanical engineering degrees for those are unable to study on-campus. Whether you are interested in traditional or online degrees for mechanical engineering, keep reading to learn more about this versatile field of study. We've compiled a list of the top schools for mechanical engineering as well as information on careers, professional organizations and financial aid options.

Best Colleges for Mechanical Engineering Degree Programs 2017-18

To find the best colleges for mechanical engineering degree programs, Schools.com surveyed institutions for a variety of program accessibility and student success factors. Using this methodology, the following ten institutions rise to the top.

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Methodology
1Wright State University - Lake Campus+
ADMISSION RATE
99%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

With a scenic campus in Celina, Ohio, Wright State University - Lake Campus takes the top spot among the best schools for mechanical engineering. Enrolling only about 1,300 students, the school is a good choice for anyone seeking a small learning environment.

The Lake Campus mechanical engineering program is relatively new, but it has been expanding rapidly. That may be because of its focus on providing a rigorous education using modern equipment and classes that are small. Engineering students have studied overseas in Germany and Taiwan, and the school encourages internships and part-time employment to complement classroom studies.

Wright State University - Lake Campus has the lowest tuition rate among the schools listed here. It is also notable for its flexible scheduling options and student support services.

Additional Info
2University of Wisconsin - Platteville+
ADMISSION RATE
80%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
8

The University of Wisconsin - Platteville is another school that ranks high for affordable tuition, student support services and a prominent mechanical engineering program. The four-year school is also the fastest growing member of the University of Wisconsin System.

Mechanical engineering is one of the most popular majors at the school. Its bachelor's degree program was created in 1975 and is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Students learn in a state-of-the-art lab using a curriculum that emphasizes hands-on projects and activities. For those interested in online mechanical engineering degrees, the University of Wisconsin - Platteville has a collaborative engineering program that combines online classes with in-person instruction.

UW-Platteville was founded in 1866 and enrolls nearly 8,500 students. Its campus is in Platteville.

Additional Info
3Missouri University of Science and Technology+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
40

As part of the University of Missouri System, the Missouri University of Science and Technology is known for its excellent engineering programs. It ranks high for both its prominence and its graduation rate.

Students at Missouri S&T get hands-on experience that starts in their freshman year. The school emphasizes design and build experiences and open-ended projects. Seniors in the undergraduate program complete a capstone project prior to graduation. There are also graduate degrees available through the university, including online degrees for mechanical engineering. The online master's degree in mechanical engineering is available in both a thesis and non-thesis option.

Missouri S&T was founded in 1870 and has the distinction of being one of the first technological institutions in the nation. Its campus is in Rolla.

Additional Info
4Iowa State University+
ADMISSION RATE
87%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
33

Iowa State University prides itself on providing a student-centered education. Its nearly 37,000 students have access to hundreds of clubs and organizations which complement their academic studies.

Engineering was one of the first programs offered at ISU, and the school has the seventh largest program in the country by enrollment. Nearly 10,000 students study the field at Iowa State University. Its mechanical engineering program offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Those earning a bachelor's degree can choose from four areas of study: design and optimization, materials and manufacturing, thermal fluids and dynamic systems.

ISU ranks high for affordable tuition and its graduation rate. It has the third highest graduation rate among the best colleges for mechanical engineering degree programs.

Additional Info
5Montana State University+
ADMISSION RATE
83%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
10

Located in Bozeman, Montana State University enrolls more than 16,500 students. That makes it the state's largest university. The school was established in 1893 and is part of the Big Sky Conference for athletics.

The mechanical engineering degree programs at MSU are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available. What's more, undergraduate students can select from either a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology. The curriculum is deigned to be challenging and provide real-world skills needed by employers today.

Montana State University has the third lowest tuition rate among the top schools for mechanical engineering. It is also notable for supporting its students through services such as academic advising and career placement assistance.

Additional Info
6South Dakota School of Mines and Technology+
ADMISSION RATE
85%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
6

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology ranks high for its low student-faculty ratio. It also has the ninth most prominent mechanical engineering program among all the schools surveyed.

Known simply as Mines to many, the school's mechanical engineering program relies on a design-based curriculum. Students can also participate in one of 13 teams that create drones, cars and other vehicles. Accredited programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Those studying for a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering can specialize in one three areas: controls and robotics, thermal science and solid mechanics.

SD Mines was founded in 1885 and has its campus in Rapid City. It is a public institution.

Additional Info
7New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology+
ADMISSION RATE
23%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$15
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

More commonly known as New Mexico Tech, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology offers both traditional and online mechanical engineering degrees. Its accredited program is popular and ranks fifth for prominence. New Mexico Tech also has the second lowest tuition of the colleges on this list.

The institute's Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering is intended to prepare students for graduate school as well as employment in government or industry. There is also a master's degree and doctoral degree available in the field. The master's degree can be earned on-campus, or classes are streamed live on the internet for online students.

New Mexico Tech was founded in 1889 and enrolls more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its campus is in Socorro.

Additional Info
8University of Colorado - Colorado Springs+
ADMISSION RATE
93%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
25

Low tuition, small classes and strong support services all helped the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs rank among the best colleges for mechanical engineering degree programs. The school is one of four campuses within the University of Colorado System and was established in 1965.

Mechanical engineering degrees are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students learn a comprehensive core curriculum and then can specialize their learning through electives. They are also invited to join the UCCS active chapters of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Society of Automotive Engineers. For students who want to earn both bachelor and master's degrees, an accelerated program is available.

UCCS enrolls approximately 12,000 students in its six colleges. Its campus is in Colorado Springs.

Additional Info
9Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$75
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Based in New York City, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art typically goes by the shortened name of Cooper Union. The school was founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, a philanthropist who envisioned a public learning center that would enrich the city.

Cooper Union's Department of Mechanical Engineering offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. These are intended to produce broadly educated students through a rigorous curriculum. Its graduates may go on to work in industries such as aerospace, biomedical engineering or utilities. The mechanical engineering degree programs at Cooper Union are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

At 9-1, the student-faculty ratio at Cooper Union is the best among the schools listed here. It also has the second best graduation rate among the top colleges for mechanical engineering.

Additional Info
10Grove City College+
ADMISSION RATE
82%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Rounding out the best colleges for mechanical engineering degree programs is Grove City College. The Christian institution was founded in 1876 and prides itself on being an independent institution that runs without federal financial aid.

The mechanical engineering program at Grove City College has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Students can earn a Bachelor of Science through a curriculum that prepares graduates for careers in research, production, design and more. About a third of all students spend a semester studying in France at the College's European Study Center.

Grove City College has the best graduation rate among the top schools for mechanical engineering. Its campus is in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Additional Info

Mechanical Engineering Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

A bachelor's degree is considered the entry-level education for mechanical engineers. Some students may go directly to graduate studies after earning their undergraduate degree, but it's usually not necessary to get a job.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineering degree programs should give students and solid foundation of math, science and engineering skills. They should know how to design and conduct experiments, create systems or components and work as part of a team. Depending on their degree specialization, they may go on to work in one of these occupations:
Mechanical Engineer
A mechanical engineer could be employed in any number of industries. They are hired to design products and oversee their manufacture. Some mechanical engineers specialize in fields such as robotics or auto research.
Materials Engineer
Materials engineers don't create products but work with the materials used for the development of products. Professionals in the field may specialize in ceramics, plastics, metals or other substances.
Aerospace Engineer
As their name suggests, aerospace engineers work with aircraft and aerospace technology. They may develop new systems or oversee projects to ensure the safe production and use of planes, spacecraft and defense systems.

Career Outlook for Mechanical Engineering Majors

Engineering is integral to many fields, but job growth for professionals may depend on their specific specialty. Here's a look at the projected career outlook for graduates of mechanical engineering degree programs.

JOB TITLE
AVERAGE SALARY($)
EMPLOYMENT
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Mechanical Engineers$91,500291,2908.8%
Drafters, Engineering Technicians, and Mapping Technicians$58,450674,5405.7%
Mechanical Engineering Technicians$58,18043,3905%
Materials Engineers$98,61027,2001.6%
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
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Financial Aid and Scholarships in Mechanical Engineering

Many college mechanical engineering departments offer scholarships, grants and other aid. In addition, there are national scholarship programs for mechanical engineering students. These include awards offered by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education and SAE.

National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowship
Applicant must be a U.S. citizen who is eligible to pursue graduate study at a participating NPSC-member university. Minimum 3.0 GPA, application, transcripts, GRE general exam scores, and three to five letters of recommendation required. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 30

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Recipient must maintain acceptable academic standing and full-time status to retain fellowship.

ASME Foundation Scholarships
Applicants must be current ASME student members who are currently enrolled in (or have been accepted into) an ABET-accredited (or similarly accredited) undergraduate degree program in mechanical engineering, mechanical engineering technology or a subject related to one of these. They must be rising or current sophomores, juniors or seniors with a minimum 3.5 GPA. Selection is based on academic achievement and professional potential in engineering.  More

AWARD AMOUNT

$11,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 1

 

 

HSF/Marathon Oil Corporation College Scholarship Program
Applicant must be a United States citizen or legal permanent resident with a permanent resident card or passport stamped I-551 who is of Hispanic American, African American, Asian Pacific Islander American, or American Indian/Alaskan Native heritage and is enrolled as a sophomore or senior college student with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Sophomore applicants must be majoring in engineering (civil, chemical, electrical, geotechnical, mechanical, or petroleum), geology, geophysics, accounting, marketing, global procurement or supply chain management, environmental health and safety, energy management or petroleum land management, or transportation and logistics; senior applicants must be planning to earn a Master's degree in geology or geophysics. Recipient must agree to participate in a possible paid summer internship opportunity with Marathon Oil Corporation. FAFSA is required. Program will begin as of fall 2009. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$10,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 1

 

 

Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Portland Post Scholarship
Applicant must be enrolling as a college sophomore or above at a public college or university in an aeronautical, biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering program. FAFSA and minimum 3.0 GPA required. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$10,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 1

 

 

Professional Organizations

Founded in 1880, ASME has grown to 130,000 members that include both professionals and students.
With more than 115,000 members, this global organization is based in England and was founded in 1847.
SAE is a global group not only for automotive engineers but those working in aerospace as well.
SME is an industry group for engineers and other professionals working within the manufacturing sector.
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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