Mechanical engineering is the broadest of the engineering disciplines. This field focuses on two major topics: thermal systems and mechanical systems.
As a result, the mechanical engineering curriculum overlaps many other engineering fields, including aerospace, biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, materials and metallurgical and petroleum.
High School Preparation
Any prospective engineering student should have a strong high school background in elementary, intermediate and advanced algebra, trigonometry, geometry, pre-calculus, chemistry and physics.
Additionally, the pre-engineering student should have solid reading comprehension skills and the ability to write logically, clearly, concisely and with correct grammar.
The core curriculum of mechanical engineering at any engineering school accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) consists of:
The study of the effect of forces on a stationary body.
The study of the effect of forces on a moving body.
The study of the structure of materials on a molecular and atomic level.
The study of heat and its relationship to pressure, density, temperature and work.
The study of liquids and gases in motion.
The study of the heat transfer process from one body to another.
Structural Analysis or Mechanical Design:
The study of the effects of loads on a body and its components.
Kinematics and Dynamics of Machinery:
The study of a moving body with and without reference to the cause of its motion.
The study of amperage or current flow in a closed loop consisting of voltage sources and resistors.
Instrumentation and Controls:
The study of instruments for measurement and controls in modern systems.
The study of machine vibrations.
The study of the latest computer language and computer-aided design (CAD).
Before these courses can be taken, however, the aspiring mechanical engineer must develop a thorough understanding of the fundamental subjects of calculus, differential equations, partial differential equations, calculus-based physics and chemistry.
All mechanical engineering programs require multiple semesters or quarters of these subjects. These subjects lay the foundation to the understanding of the core curriculum. The mechanical engineering student cannot master the core mechanical engineering concepts without mastering the fundamentals.