Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering (ME) is one of the most dynamic and exciting engineering disciplines. According to a recent survey published by the US News and World Report (2008), Mechanical Engineering is by far the most popular undergraduate degree in engineering. At the graduate level, ME ranks first in popularity among engineering doctoral students.

The field of Mechanical engineering covers the design and analysis of all kinds of systems and technologies with mechanical components, and has applications in energy production, environmental systems, materials, composites, transportation, robotics, manufacturing, machine design, and many more areas. Several key emerging technologies fall fundamentally within the domain of mechanical engineering expertise. Among these technologies are micro- and nano-scale fabrication processes, energy, and the environment. Modern mechanical engineers can navigate virtual design environments and are adept in computing so they play a significant role in the future development of information technology.

Mechanical engineers interested in biotechnology obtain an understanding of life sciences at the undergraduate level and contribute to multi-disciplinary research and industrial projects. Students earn mechanical engineering degrees not only to practice careers in engineering, but also as preliminary training for many other fields such as law, medicine, and business. The demand for mechanical engineers in today's increasingly complex society is growing rapidly, and projections indicate it will stay that way far into the future.

Program Overview

The mission of the SDSU Mechanical Engineering program is to prepare the graduates to apply basic and advanced engineering knowledge and skills to the design, analysis and research of engineering systems and to prepare them to compete successfully in today's job market and for lifelong learning. We pride ourselves on an educational experience that emphasizes hands-on, team-based projects. Student design projects involve real-world experiences and are often sponsored by industry. While we provide instruction in the state-of-the-art tools of mechanical engineering, we also emphasize a solid grounding in the core fundamentals of the physical sciences, mathematics, and the engineering sciences because an engineer's work is predominantly intellectual and varied and not of a routine mental or physical nature. In addition, students are provided with the opportunity to select a path of study to satisfy their areas of interest through elective courses.

Professional electives may be selected from available courses in specialization areas such as design and manufacturing, energy and thermofluids, mechanics and materials, dynamics and control, and bioengineering.  Furthermore, undergraduate students have ample opportunity to conduct cutting edge research under the supervision of our internationally recognized faculty.

The SDSU ME graduates are able to assume personal responsibility for the development and application of engineering knowledge for the benefit of humankind. They are qualified to take the engineer-in-training examination as a first step to professional registration, to enter industry at the junior engineer level, or to continue formal education at the graduate level. In addition to the program’s emphasis on the core fundamentals of subject matters in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering, a continuing study of the social sciences and humanities is woven through the curriculum in order to broaden the students’ appreciation of the world and to provide them with an understanding of the societal, environmental, economic, and ethical dimensions of engineering solutions

Special Features

The Department has well equipped educational and research laboratories and centers covering a broad spectrum of interests in Design and Manufacturing, Energy and Thermofluids, and Materials and Mechanics. Some are briefly described below (for more details see the Mechanical Engineering Department Web site).

  • Computer Aided Design (CAD) Laboratory - Computer aided engineering is an important part of our program. The CAD Lab is where the solid modeling and computer aided design courses (ME101 and ME 102) are taught. The primary CAD software used are Pro/Engineer and SolidWorks, which are commonly used in local industry. Students are also introduced to Pro/Mechanica, CosmosWorks, Pro/Manufacturing and MasterCAM. These tools are taught in the first year and utilized throughout the ME curriculum. Because our students possess these competencies, many of them attain internships and jobs long before they graduate.
  • Materials Laboratory - This laboratory serves a number of important functions, which include training our students in machining (students machine their own test specimens), testing and characterization of engineering materials, professional communication, team-based activities and web-based interaction.
  • Mechatronics Laboratory - Education and research in a multidisciplined area encompassing mechanical, electronic/electrical, and computer engineering is carried out in the Mechatronics Laboratory. This fully equipped facility offers a learning environment to explore the design and operation of machines that have an "intellectual" or microprocessor system. The laboratory also integrates cutting edge research in the areas of sensors, actuators, smart systems and micro/nanotechnology.
  • Microfabrication Laboratory – This laboratory enables interdisciplinary research and education activities focused on micro/nanotechnologies and their integration into macrosystems.  It includes a Class 100 Clean Room facility which houses photolithography and semi-conductor equipment such as an ASML mask alignment and exposure system, a photoresist spinner, a silicon deposition system, a metal sputtering machine, a wash bench for etching, and a flip-chip bonder.
  • Powder Technology Laboratory (PTL) - Various research topics conducted in this lab includes Powder Metallurgy, Ceramic Processing, Functionally Graded Materials, Electronic Packaging, Thick and Thin Film Technologies, LTCC, Electrochemical Processing, Combustion Synthesis, Mathematical Modeling and Computer Simulations of Sintering Processes. PTL is sponsored by Sandia National Laboratory, SPAWAR, Sun Microsystems, National Science Foundation, Solar Turbines and State of California.
  •  Industrial Assessment Center - The Mechanical Engineering Department is home to the Industrial Assessment Center, whose mission is to facilitate productivity improvements of small and medium-sized manufacturing facilities in San Diego through increased energy efficiency, waste minimization and operations efficiency.
  • Energy Engineering Institute - This institute was established in 1986 with the primary objective of enhancing the interaction and cooperative applied research opportunities with local and regional industries in the energy field. Undergraduate and graduate students and faculty from Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments are involved in obtaining solutions to problems posed by both industrial and governmental sponsors. Industrial projects are usually incorporated into the mechanical engineering curriculum as senior projects and/or master's theses. Institute research projects cover a wide range of areas such as: cogeneration, international energy generation studies, geothermics, solar ponds, and desalination.
  • The MESA Engineering Program (MEP) provides assistance to ensure student success. The development of academic excellence is fostered through a coordinated program of advising, mentoring, tutoring, group study and many other support services. In addition, the College of Engineering sponsors the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Pre-College Program, which operates in many local high schools to encourage entrance into math-based careers. For additional information, please contact MEP at (619) 594-0232.
  • Student organizations in mechanical engineering include student chapters of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE); the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning (ASHRAE); and the major's honorary society, Pi Tau Sigma.
  • Many other active student chapters of professional and honorary societies, each with one or more faculty advisors, are housed within the College of Engineering to support and enhance various academic endeavors.

Career Opportunities

The SDSU Department of Mechanical Engineering provides a broad based education that has been developed to prepare the student for a wide range of careers and new technologies. Our ME graduates are in high demand for mechanical engineering positions in San Diego and across the nation.

A number of factors indicate that employment opportunities for mechanical engineering graduates will increase. Engineers now comprise nearly 40 percent of the top management of U.S. industrial firms. As in other fields, mechanical engineering job openings for women are increasing dramatically.

The future depends on solving the worldwide problems of energy shortages, environmental pollution, world health, and inadequate food production. Mechanical engineers are heavily involved in finding those solutions. Jobs in mechanical engineering include developing products to improve air and water quality, inventing more efficient energy sources, designing farm equipment to improve crop yield throughout the world, and developing systems for biological research as well as lifesaving medical equipment. In addition to biotechnology, new job openings for mechanical engineers are being created in the emerging areas of micro- and nano- technologies, information technology, and the environment. A mechanical engineer, now more than ever, is someone who can translate scientific theories into real products to improve the quality of life.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Mechanical Engineering program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.