Students wanting to design and build things should consider majoring in mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering is, more than anything else, the engineering of systems. Systems are interactions of components, power and information.
There are incredible mechanical engineering systems in aerospace and automotive hardware, power generation facilities, and manufacturing. Because systems bring together the engineering of mechanics and motion, thermodynamics and fluids, materials and structures, and control, Mechanical Engineering is a broad discipline of design and analysis. Not sure what engineering discipline to pursue right now and want to keep your options open? This broad-based foundational major may be perfect. Mechanical Engineering is also flexible, allowing a focus in many important disciplines, such as fatigue/fracture mechanics and failure analysis. If understanding, building, and using state-of-the-art materials such as composites and ceramics intrigues, or if designing and analyzing structures is your desire focus, this challenging major may be the right one. The Mechanical Engineering degree is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.
The goal of the Mechanical Engineering program is to Educate Engineers for the Military Profession. To ensure success of our graduates, we prepare them to attain the following Program Educational Objectives two to five years after graduation:
- Recognition as successful Air Force officers through demonstration of their ability to:
- Rapidly acquire required knowledge,
- Lead others effectively,
- Effectively apply ethical and moral standards,
- Improve unit performance by application of organizational skills,
- Make sound decisions based on critical thinking,
- Communicate effectively,
- Selection for career training on, or ahead of, schedule, and for a progression of assignments of increasing responsibility,
- A demonstrated ability to solve Air Force technical problems,
- Success in continuing education.
The foundation that prepares graduates for attaining these objectives is provided by Student Outcomes which describe what students must attain prior to graduation. These outcomes relate to the skills, knowledge, and behaviors students acquire as they progress through the program. These Student Outcomes are:
- An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering
- An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
- An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability
- An ability to lead and function on multidisciplinary teams
- An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems
- An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
- An ability to communicate effectively both written and orally
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a military, global, economic, environmental and societal context
- A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
- A knowledge of contemporary issues
- An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
With a degree in mechanical engineering students can get an Air Force assignment as an aeronautical engineer, astronautical engineer, civil engineer, mechanical engineer or project engineer. The mechanical engineering degree also satisfies the educational requirements for Air Force test pilot, flight test combat systems officer and flight test engineer duties. Additional specialties are scientific analyst and acquisition project officer. Successful completion of this degree may qualify you for assignment in the developmental mechanical engineer career field.
If you are a top performer in the mechanical engineering major, graduate school can be an option as a first Air Force assignment, either by winning a prestigious national scholarship (Guggenheim, Hertz, Rhodes, etc.) or through direct departmental sponsorship. The mechanical engineering major gives you the flexibility to pursue either a more specialized degree in graduate school or to continue your broad-based study in engineering. Whether you ultimately choose a graduate program in aeronautical engineering, astronautical engineering, materials engineering or mechanical engineering, your decision will be an informed one.
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