What is Mechanical Engineering?
Mechanical engineers use the principles of force, energy and motion to design, manufacture and operate machines and mechanical systems that work in a safe, efficient, economical and predictable fashion. Study in the field includes technical activities in product and machine design; manufacturing and production engineering; design and installation of thermal-fluids and/or mechanical systems; and design, analysis and development of energy-producing engines or devices.
Admission criteria for this program vary based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank, GPA and co-curricular activities. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program. Test scores in the lower range may be acceptable with higher class rank and/or GPA.
Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following college preparatory subjects:
- English (4 units)
- Mathematics, including algebra, geometry and either pre-calculus or calculus (4 units)
- Science, including Chemistry and Physics (3 units)
- Social sciences (3 units)
- Electives (5 unit)
Successful mechanical engineers have a strong foundation in math and science. Skills in calculus and physics are particularly important. Mechanical engineers are problem-solvers and enjoy thinking outside of the box to develop creative solutions to problems. In addition, computer skills are increasingly necessary in mechanical engineering professions.
Graduates of this major pursue many different careers. A few examples include:
- Machinery design
- Automotive design
- Technical sales
The UC student chapters of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers sponsor special projects in which UC mechanical engineering students participate in designing, building and testing of formula race cars and various types of mechanical devices.
Department faculty, in addition to their commitment to undergraduate education, also engage in high quality research with government agencies such as NASA and the Department of Defense, as well as corporate partners like GM, GE, Ford, Visteon, Sikorsky and Boeing, among many others.
Freshmen must begin the program during fall semester. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. High school students who wish to be considered for scholarships must apply by December 1 of their senior year.