From rockets to robots, power plants to biomechanical parts, mechanical engineers put both energy and machines to work. Wherever there is motion or energy, mechanical engineers have played a role in the innovations that define modern life.
Mechanical engineering is a broad discipline, covering such diverse topics as aerodynamics, medical devices, energy systems, system control, robotics, new product development, materials development, structural integrity, manufacturing, automotive systems, and space vehicle systems. The mechanical engineering department offers a solid foundation in mechanical engineering fundamentals as well as the opportunity for students to concentrate their studies in several specific areas of engineering. Because of their comprehensive training and education, mechanical engineers are often called upon to assume management positions. They work in many different industries and businesses as product developers, researchers, prototype designers, automotive engineers, aerospace engineers, management consultants, among many others, and many serve in senior leadership positions in their fields.
The mechanical engineering department is the largest academic department in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. We offer a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering with options to focus your studies on aerospace engineering, automotive engineering, bioengineering, or energy and the environment. At the graduate level, we offer Master of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in mechanical engineering and an advanced certificate in vibrations engineering.
Well-equipped facilities offer you the opportunity to build models and prototypes to demonstrate particular engineering design concepts. Experimentation and research are encouraged, including enriching undergraduate and graduate research experiences in areas such as sustainable energy systems, biomedical and assistive device technology, systems analysis, robotics, vibrations, and automotive and aerospace engineering.
Vision and Mission
Vision: RIT’s mechanical engineering department will establish itself first as one of the top 25 mechanical engineering programs in the nation, and then as a top 25 program in the world.
Goals: In pursuit of our vision, the department’s goals are to:
Demonstrate a revolutionary advance in engineering education whereby we turn every entering student into graduates who achieve outstanding success.
Provide solutions to three compelling problems of national and global significance.
Other mechanical engineering departments must emulate us. We must disseminate our model of education and research and become the role model to which other institutions aspire.
The BS degree in mechanical engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org. For Enrollment and Graduation Data, Program Educational Objectives, and Student Outcomes, please visit the college’s Accreditation page.
Undergraduate options in aerospace, automotive, bioengineering, and energy and the environment
Areas of research
Undergraduate and graduate mechanical engineering students
The mechanical engineering department offers undergraduate degrees that build a strong foundation in engineering mechanics and design tools in the first year of study. In subsequent years, course work continues with advanced mechanical engineering subjects and the integration of cooperative education – nearly a year of full-time, paid work experience in industry. Your degree culminates with a significant multidisciplinary design project in the final year of study.
A mechanical engineering master's degree that focuses on the in-depth examination of dynamics, robotics, nanotechnology, biomechanics, and energy systems to prepare you to enter a career in industry or research.
The minor in mechanical engineering exposes students to the core foundations of the discipline. Courses help non-majors explore high-technology careers and communicate more effectively with engineers on project teams. The minor consists of a five-course sequence that builds on prerequisite knowledge from calculus and engineering mechanics. Elective courses provide additional depth of knowledge in an area of individual student interest.
Two visionaries in the fields of advertising, marketing and communications have been named co-recipients of the 2020 Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award, presented by RIT’s Saunders College of Business. Sue Butler and Tracy Till are the first joint female recipients in the award’s 35-year history.
As businesses look to reopen and jumpstart the COVID-19 stalled economy, RIT alumnus Jim Swift finds himself a much sought-after adviser. Swift ’88 is president and chief executive officer of Cortera, a national business intelligence company that is providing analytics on an estimated $1.5 trillion annual business-to-business transactions — data that businesses need to determine their future.
RIT honored its 2020 class of Distinguished Faculty—Manuela Campanelli, Satish Kandlikar and James Perkins. The Distinguished Professor designation is given to tenured faculty who have shown continued excellence over their careers in teaching, scholarly contributions, lasting contributions in creative and professional work and service to both the university and community.
Honor Societies and Student Chapters of Professional Organizations
Pi Tau Sigma: Pi Tau Sigma is the mechanical engineering national honor society. Membership, by invitation, is open to men and women ranked in the upper third of their class in their fourth and fifth years at RIT. Chapter activities are tailored to foster high ideals in the engineering profession, support departmental activities, and promote professionalism.
Tau Beta Pi: This national engineering honor society was founded to celebrate those who have conferred honor upon their Alma Mater by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as students in engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the field of engineering, and to foster a spirit of liberal culture in engineering colleges. Election to Tau Beta Pi is one of the highest honors bestowed on an engineering student by his or her peers.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers: The student chapter of ASME offers educational, technical, and social activities. It helps students develop leadership skills and leads to contacts with engineers in industry and students at other colleges within the region. The student chapter is active and works closely with the local professional chapter.
Society of Automotive Engineers and FSAE Competition Team: The purpose of the RIT Society of Automotive Engineers is to give students the opportunity to meet with senior engineers in industry and provide students a chance to apply their classroom knowledge in various projects.
Society of Women Engineers: The Society of Women Engineers is a student-run organization that organizes and hosts guest speakers, high school outreach, community activities, tours, social events, and events with other student organizations. The RIT chapter is strongly committed to encouraging women in their pursuit of careers in engineering or related fields.
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers: The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers is an association of professionals and students in engineering, science, technology, business, and other related disciplines at RIT. SHPE’s aim is to identify and promote professional growth opportunities for Hispanic students.
National Society of Black Engineers: The student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers is dedicated to the retention, recruitment, and successful graduation of its members.
Aero Design Club: The student chapter is dedicated to promoting careers and opportunities in the aerospace industry.
Formula One SAE Racing Team: Our award-winning SAE team builds a car from the ground up every year. Purchasing only the engine block, tires, and bulk materials, it is entirely designed and constructed by our students to compete in national and international competitions.
Mechanical Engineering Professional Organizations and Societies
Professional organizations and societies provide opportunities for students to enhance their professional development through local and student chapter meetings and activities, including society-sponsored conferences, symposia, and workshops. Learn more by exploring some of the professional organizations and societies for opportunities to volunteer, get involved, and shape your career.