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Mechanical Engineering

Why Study Mechanical Engineering?

If you’re passionate about finding new sources of energy, solving environmental problems, or even enhancing health care through creating better medical devices, mechanical engineering might be your ideal career path. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines, providing the skills and knowledge that will allow you to use your creativity to solve the major challenges facing the human race. 

Solving these challenges often requires interdisciplinary teams. On these teams, mechanical engineers often become system integrators, working not only on one component of the system, but also making sure all parts of it work together to achieve the desired result. All industries require mechanical engineers, be it automotive, aerospace, energy or pharmaceutical.

Vanderbilt Engineering Advantages

When you study mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt, you will start with a strong foundation in basic math and physics and will move on to upper-division courses in all major areas of mechanical engineering. You won’t be stuck in a textbook, either; you’ll be developing hands-on skills in the labs and as part of teams in laboratory studies and design projects, and you’ll be using the most modern computational tools. In fact, our unique curriculum will have you working on design projects from your freshman year until you graduate.

Plus you’ll be able to work side by side with some of the top minds in the business—your professors are not only experts in the mechanical engineering field, but they are terrific mentors and will help you find the best application of your talents and interests.

Like all other Vanderbilt engineering students, you’ll be getting a very good liberal arts education that will enrich your technical and scientific training and help you to become a better problem solver, team member, and manager. You’ll also be prepared to advance into graduate studies in engineering, management, law, medicine, and finance. You’ll also be prepared to advance into graduate studies in engineering, management, law, medicine, and finance.

Special Opportunities at Vanderbilt Engineering

Take your pick. Do you want to do field and laboratory research during the summer? Take a terrific summer internship with NASA, GE, or Raytheon? Do you want to learn first-hand about how to work as part of a multidisciplinary engineering team? Spend a semester studying abroad in Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Australia or Hong Kong?

These are a few of the opportunities through the Department of Mechanical Engineering. When you add the opportunities you can access as a Vanderbilt student, the possibilities seem endless. You’ll have the best of both worlds as an engineering student and a Vanderbilt student, with close ties to your professors and fellow engineering students, while being fully engaged in the broader Vanderbilt University community with students from all over the globe.

Honors Program

Some of our best students consider graduating from the Mechanical Engineering program with Honors. Candidates for the honors program are admitted to the program with the permission of the Department Chair and an Honors Faculty Advisor. Candidates are expected to conduct independent research, complete two graduate courses and submit a formal written honors thesis on the candidate’s research.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Many of our undergraduates participate in research activities working alongside faculty, research scientists, and graduate students on cutting edge engineering projects. Examples of recent undergraduate research projects include:

  • Real-time biofeedback system for biomechanics of human locomotion, Jacqueline Cabello
  • Simulations of magnetic levitation vehicles, Jonathan Schenker
  • 3-D printing of artificial vasculature, Quinton Monk
  • Material state monitoring using CdSe nanocrystals, Dylan Shane
  • Capsule for controlled drug delivery, Nikos Gkotsis

Career Opportunities

Your undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering will prepare you for a wide range of jobs with government, private consulting companies, and major industries. You might work at a company specializing in robotics, automotive, aerospace, electrical, chemical, solar, petroleum, plastics, or metal-producing industries. If you decide to become a biomechanical engineer, you will work with physicians to investigate the mechanics of the body and to design instruments and devices for safety and medical purposes.

Or, if you decide to pursue an advanced engineering degree, you’ll get the support and encouragement you need. The department offers master of engineering, master of science, and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering. You might be particularly interested in the department’s major strength areas in prosthetics, surgical robotics, combustion, computational fluid mechanics, microfluidics, robotics, fluidics, microscale heat transfer, nanotechnology, and photonics. The curriculum can be arranged to achieve both the bachelor and the master of engineering within five years. If you decide to obtain a law degree or a master in business administration, your undergraduate mechanical engineering degree will provide excellent preparation and a competitive advantage.


Mechanical Engineering consists of 23 faculty members who are dedicated to developing tomorrow’s engineering leaders through teaching, learning, and research.  Our faculty are internationally recognized leaders in a wide range of engineering subjects including medical robotics, rehabilitation engineering, biomechanics, alternative energy, human/machine interfaces, meta-materials, optics, heat transfer, microfluidics, nanomaterials, combustion and more.


Kenneth D. Frampton
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Mechanical Engineering
104 Olin Hall
VU Station B #351592
Nashville, TN  37235-0108
Phone: (615) 343-0610
Fax: (615) 343-6687

Mechanical Engineering Website