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
RIT alumni and long-time supporters of FIRST Robotics, Dan Schneiderman and Joe Kessler, were recognized as the 2019 Regional as Volunteers of the Year during the FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional competition March 15 and 16. Both were honored for their contributions to the organization and the regional competition, serving in a variety of roles from advocates and team mentors to field judging, set up and match coordination.
The Mechanical Engineering Program Advisory Committee is comprised of successful engineers who work at various businesses throughout the United States. Together they review the mechanical engineering curriculum to ensure that our program remains up-to-date and responds industry changes. The committee has annual meetings at the end of the academic year. Learn more about the professionals that comprise our advisory committee.
The mechanical engineering department supports the Kate Gleason College of Engineering’s research initiatives in communications, energy, health care, nano-science and engineering, and transportation.
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.
The ME in mechanical engineering is intended to be a terminal degree program designed for those who do not expect to pursue a doctoral degree but who wish to become a leader within the mechanical engineering field. This program is particularly well-suited for students who wish to study part time, for those interested in updating their technical skills, or for those who are not focused on a research-oriented master of science degree, which requires a thesis. A conventional thesis is not required for the program. In its place, students complete a capstone experience, which may be a design project leadership course or a well-organized and carefully chosen industrial internship. A research methods course may also fulfill the capstone experience; however, this option is primarily intended for students who are considering transitioning to the MS program in mechanical engineering. (Courses taken within the ME program are transferrable to the MS program.)
The mechanical engineering masters produces graduates who are leaders in their respective fields who are ready to tackle high-level problems as practicing professionals. Designed for students who desire advanced training in specific areas of mechanical engineering, the master of science acts as a prelude to a career in either research or industry. Students can choose to focus on a variety of disciplines including dynamics, robotics, nanotechnology, biomechanics, energy systems, or more.
The advanced certificate in vibrations provides students with specialized skills that are sought after in a variety of industrial settings. Engineers with skills in vibration engineering contribute to manufacturing production systems, aerospace systems, automotive engineering, medical product development, building mechanical and plumbing systems, consumer product development, and a host of industrial equipment and process systems. This certificate takes students beyond the normal preparation in vibration engineering that students typically complete during their undergraduate program of study. Students learn to use sophisticated software tools, analytical techniques and experimental methods to design, develop, and implement solutions for problems of vibration control and minimization in engineering systems. Students are exposed to modern technologies used in industry to ensure that they are prepared for their specialized job market. The curriculum answers a need for graduate level instruction for practicing engineers in a field of importance for the 21st century.
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.
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.
The Mechanical Engineering Academy was established to recognize those who have achieved outstanding representation of the mechanical engineering discipline. Induction into the Mechanical Engineering Academy is a mark of achievement. Learn more about our inductees.
The Mechanical Engineering Department offers a variety of resources for our students that vary from academic support to handbooks and more. Visit our Student Resources page for more information.