The opportunities and challenges in the field of mechanical engineering are diverse and virtually unlimited. The broad variety of career possibilities includes research and development, design analysis and synthesis, manufacturing and production engineering, testing, sales, engineering, maintenance and administration. The challenge of a mechanical engineer may lie in the perfection and reliability of a device that will be duplicated a million-fold or in the control optimization of a single complex system of unique design. The mechanical engineering curriculum is designed to prepare graduate students in many applied fields, including such important areas as biomechanics, energy conversion, combustion engines, emissions controls, machine tool design, manufacturing, computer graphics, structural analysis, automatic controls, vehicle dynamics and design, continuum mechanics, fluid dynamics, environmental design, mechanisms, acoustics and noise control, laser diagnostics, and composite materials. Faculty members in the Department are currently engaged in state-of-the-art research in all of these areas. Specialized areas of research support for graduate students include: manufacturing processes, composite material behavior, combustion, acoustics and noise control, vibrations, laser diagnostics, biomechanics, control of mechanical systems, sheet metal stamping, and engine research.
Part-time study (with most courses offered in the evening) and cooperative programs allow professionals working in local industry to pursue graduate degrees while employed.
The Mechanical Engineering Department has three research thrust areas, namely, the "Advanced Materials and Manufacturing", the "Advanced Propulsion and Energy Systems", and the "Noise and Vibration Control". In addition, many Biomedical Engineering courses are cross listed with PhD courses and are available for PhD students to take and be considered towards their degree. PhD students must select a field of study in one of the three thrust areas.