Studies begin in mathematics, mechanics, and thermodynamics and progress to courses such as machine design, heat transfer, and system dynamics. Students also learn how to apply scientific principles, engineering analysis, and engineering design to solve unstructured problems. In their senior year, students will work in small teams with individual faculty to complete capstone design projects. Some projects will be based on faculty research advancing basic understanding in Mechanical Engineering. Through the college's Learning Factory, industry-sponsorship may be available for some projects, giving students the opportunity to work on "real world" design challenges while completing their education.
Mechanical engineers research, design, test, manufacture, and operate products ranging from automobiles to rocket engines. They have tremendous flexibility, working in every type of industry, in jobs ranging from research and development to manufacturing and operations. Mechanical engineers also work in product design, procurement, technical sales, and management. Graduates enter a wide variety of industries such as health care, energy, military, transportation, consumer products, and sports/recreation. A mechanical engineering education is also an excellent preparation for careers such as technical management, business law, patent attorney and technical sales.
The educational objectives of the Penn State Berks Mechanical Engineering Program are to produce graduates who, within three years of graduation, are able to:
- Be employed as a practicing engineer in fields such as design, research, development, testing, and manufacturing
- Assume positions of leadership and responsibility within an organization
- Progress through advanced degree or certificate programs in engineering, business, and other professionally related fields.
- Students should be able to determine which fundamental physical law, including those from chemistry and calculus-based physics, applies to a given problem and express that law in mathematical form
- Students should be able to solve mathematical expressions of physical laws using differential and multivariate calculus, matrix algebra, differential equations, and numerical methods.
- Students should be able to describe how systems typically found in mechanical engineering (such as machines, engines, and heat exchangers) work, and be able to work professionally in both thermal and mechanical systems areas, including the design and realization of such systems.
- Students should be able to take a real system, develop a mathematical model of the system, discuss the assumptions behind and limitations of the model, and solve the model for the values of parameters of concern using mathematical or computational techniques.
- Students should be able to define objectives and requirements for an engineering problem, develop a plan for solving the problem, propose solutions to the problem, make and defend decisions about the problem, and manipulate models for the problem in order to find an optimum solution.
- Students should be able to design and conduct experiments using modern data acquisition equipment; analyze and interpret experimental data using statistical methods; demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the principles of electrical engineering, and apply computer or other technology appropriately to an engineering problem.
- Students should be able to identify social, economic, safety, quality, reliability, ethical, global and other contemporary issues in an engineering problem and demonstrate that their solution to the problem addresses these issues.
- Students should be able to communicate their ideas and solutions effectively to a wide range of audiences, both orally and in writing.
- Students should be able to demonstrate an ability to work as a professional in a multi-disciplinary team environment, including team leadership.
- Students should be able to recognize the need for life-long learning, be prepared to continue their education through formal or informal study, be open-minded with regard to different opinions and cultures, and be able to adapt to a continuously changing work environment.