Why mechanical engineering?
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 wellbeing. 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.
Mechanical engineering at VCU
The Department of Mechanical Engineering enrolled its first class of undergraduate students in the fall of 1996 and moved into what is now Engineering West Hall in 1998. Two years later, in May 2000, M.S. and Ph.D. graduate degree programs in engineering were established and the first graduate students joined the department.
Currently, the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering is the largest in the VCU School of Engineering, enrolling approximately 420 undergraduate students and 70 M.S. and Ph.D. students.