what is mechanical engineering?

A mechanical engineering degree is one of the most versatile engineering degrees available. Our program prepares students to be successful and resourceful in a variety of industries.

Curious about how you can apply your degree? 

Automation encompasses designing smart mechanical systems to make decisions based on complex information. Mechanical engineers are skilled in designing automated mechanical systems because they are trained to understand the relationship of energy in these systems. Our program prepares graduates to create automated systems for a variety of industries including cars, roller coasters, rockets and many more! ME Courses to prepare you for this industry: ME 305: Introduction to Mechatronics ME 405: Mechatronics ME 507: Mechanical Control System Design Related Clubs: Cal Poly Robotics
Vehicle Engineering covers a wide array of technologies critical to all industries including transportation, construction and recreation. The need for cars, trucks and other vehicles will remain but how they are used, constructed and powered is rapidly changing. Cal Poly ME graduates can be found throughout the US and Europe in the governmental/civil, consumer and motorsports industries. ME Courses to prepare you for this industry: ME 416: Ground Vehicle Dynamics ME 441: Single Track Vehicle Design Related Clubs: Cal Poly Racing SuperMileage Human Powered Vehicle PROVE
Bike Design
If you have a love of bicycles, we can help leverage that dedication into an incredibly rewarding engineering career. Designing bicycles and bicycle components allows Cal Poly ME graduates to apply their hands-on learning to one of the most enjoyable uses of Mechanical Engineering. The Cal Poly ME Department has graduates at many of the best-known companies in the highly competitive bicycle industry. ME Courses to prepare you for this industry: ME 329: Mechanical Systems Design ME 441 Single Track Vehicle Design ME 412 Composite Materials Analysis and Design Related Clubs: Cal Poly Bike Builders Human Powered Vehicle
The energy industry is very vast and impacts every facet of society. Here are two areas that our program can prepare you for: Power Production includes oil extraction and refining, natural gas extraction and processing, wind turbine design and operations, solar power design and implementation, nuclear energy, and all types of power plants. Mechanical engineers are involved in all stages of power production and energy conversion. They are critical to the nation and world's ability to ensure we have power and will be essential to moving us to a more renewable energy based society. Energy Usage: Together residential and commercial buildings make up 40% of the US energy usage! HVAC&R (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration) Engineers are essential to ensure that our food is safe, our buildings are comfortable, and energy and water is used efficiently. In order to achieve Zero-Net Energy goals and reduce our dependence on oil and gas, we need creative and hard-working engineers. ME Courses to prepare you for this industry: ME 302: Thermodynamics ME 341: Fluid Mechanics ME 350: Heat Transfer
Fire Protection
Fire protection engineers use science and technology to protect people, property, and businesses from destructive fires. A comprehensive understanding of how fires ignite, spread, and compromise safety is necessary for truly optimized design in almost every industry. Fire is a ubiquitous concern that requires an engineer with a specialized understanding in thermal-fluids, combustion, and fire protection strategies to ensure safety. Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly prepares students well for the base level of knowledge necessary to succeed in Fire Protection Engineering. Cal Poly Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) website: http://fpe.calpoly.edu/ ME Courses to prepare you for this industry: ME 302: Thermodynamics I ME 303: Thermodynamics II ME 341: Fluid Mechanics I ME 342: Fluid Mechanics II ME 350: Heat Transfer ME 420: Thermal System Design
The Mechanical Engineering program gives students a chance to learn hands-on design and manufacturing skills. Throughout the time spent in classes, students are encouraged to utilize the Cal Poly Machine Shops to create models and prototypes of designs. Here students can learn how to use a variety of tools for woodworking, machining, and welding. By getting hands-on machining and manufacturing experience, Cal Poly Mechanical Engineering students are prepared to enter industries that focus on making, creating, and machining. ME Courses to prepare you for this industry: ME 234: Philosophy of Design ME 328: Design for Strength and Stiffness ME 416: Ground Vehicle Dynamics ME Senior Project
Creating a part for 3D printing or CNC Milling? Running a wind tunnel test or optimizing structures? Looking to test for fracture points in a heart valve or simulate a storm over the East Coast? Numerical modeling includes many kinds of simulated experiences where a mechanical engineer learns to predict and analyze real-world phenomena with correct assumptions and higher level math.
As a mechanical engineer, you have the opportunity to change and improve the quality of life for individuals through prosthetics engineering. Our program prepares you from day one to solve problems in biomedical engineering ranging from artificial intelligence to biomechanics. Related Clubs: EMPOWER
The hybrid rocket research group of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly focuses on various aspects of hybrid propulsion technology, and on the basic science that makes it work. The groups emphasize analytical characterization of rocket engine performance, followed by experimental testing in our Engines’ Test Cell. ME Courses to prepare you for this industry: ME 303: Thermodynamics II ME 347: Fluid Mechanics II ME 350: Heat Transfer ME 542: Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Compressible Flow
The amusement park industry recruits heavily from Cal Poly’s Mechanical Engineering department. In this industry, you'll learn to design rides, fountains, special effects, animatronics, and work behind the scenes to make the magic happen. Anything that moves needs a mechanical engineer! Related Clubs: Cal Poly Amusement Park Engineers and Designers
Previous slide
Next slide