Human beings are defined by their tendency to think and innovate. As the world grows, the need to communicate and explore increases exponentially and with that need, the need for machinery and equipments to help the cause rises, too. This brings to fore the significance of inventing and operating these tools efficiently so as to ensure that they achieve their purpose. This is where the department of mechanical engineering assumes prime importance.
Often cited as the broadest field in the spectrum of engineering, mechanical engineering is the branch of engineering involved in the design, production, operation, analysis and maintenance of machinery and other mechanical systems. It applies principles of engineering, physics, mathematics and materials sciences and makes use of tools like CAD (Computer-aided Design), Computer-aided manufacturing and product life-cycle management. Mechanical engineers function in a multitude of areas, ensuring high and steady packages. The department is a popular pick among students owing to the scope and prospects for employability and further education. The branch functions in areas like mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, material science, composites, nanotechnology, biotechnology, nanobiotechnology, and the like, giving a vast range of subject matter and practical learning to its students. It is a field that is custom-built to conduct an analysis of the problems faced by the world, find solutions to it, build machines and equipment to bring about that solution and operate those machines. It holds all the more eminence in today’s times as the age of the internet pressurizes corporates to increase their speed and efficiency and build well-connected networks. Moreover, the environmental issues that the world is constantly on the brink of dictate that companies take into context issues like global warming and rising pollution levels while conducting their operations. Such contemporary perspectives imply that mechanical engineers constantly remain on the mark, innovating and improving existing equipment while also inventing new constantly.
Mechanical Engineering Course Curriculum
The educational coursework in Mechanical Engineering comprises both of in-class and practical learning. In-class knowledge is essential so as to ensure that the students develop a complete understanding of the principles and the subject matter involved. It is essential to understand the need, components and functioning mechanisms of a machine system before beginning to work on it. Practical lessons assume importance in that that it provides the student's opportunities to apply their knowledge and test out their skills in the ‘real world’. Practical learning completes an essential prerequisite for students - a guarantee that their skills are as feasible in the out-of-classrooms application. The curriculum of the department is divided into various sub-disciplines:
- Mechanics (The study of force)
- Mechatronics (The study of mechanics and electronics)
- Structural analysis
- Design and drafting
It is under these disciplines that studies for the department are conducted. These disciplines are further divided into a myriad of subjects that ensure all-round understanding:
- Physical sciences
- Instrumentation and measurement
- Engineering design
- Product design
Degrees in Mechanical Engineering
The department comprises of multitudes of degrees at all levels. While some students opt for master’s degrees and doctorates, most students seek employment opportunities after their undergraduate education. The degrees offered in the department at the bachelor’s level are:
- Bachelors of Engineering
- Bachelors of Science
- Bachelors of Technology
- Bachelors of Applied Sciences
- Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelors of Science Engineering
Masters degrees and doctorates are also offered by universities across the world but they are less sought after in comparison to the aforementioned degrees. Further education is usually taken up by students looking to make their future in academia. Most students seek professional accreditation from the concerned authorities in their countries after their bachelor’s to seek employment.
Study Mechanical Engineering Abroad
Indian students looking to pursue education in the field of mechanical engineering often choose to apply to foreign universities, a move that has multiple reasons. Countries like USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the like are some of the most popular study destinations for Indian students. First and foremost, these countries are home to some of the finest universities in the world, a factor that ensures the highest quality of education accorded by excellent faculties, consisting of members who are accredited members of their respective subject fields. Secondly, these countries have access to better technology and research and development facilities as developed countries. This ensures better practical learning and experience, of a level that might not be accorded in developing countries. In addition to this, these countries are replete with employment opportunities and multitudes of jobs, a factor that ensures their attractiveness to international students. Furthermore, as these countries play host to students and faculty members of different nationalities, religions, cultures, perspectives and ethnicities, they foster a diverse environment, something that has been proven to help the learning and understanding capabilities of a student. Moreover, some of these nations, like Germany, provide a few extra months on a student visa so as to provide candidates time to seek employment. The advent of globalisation has pushed countries to open their arms to international students and job-seekers with the intention of triggering an intellectual exchange amongst the countries of the world.
The best institutes for mechanical engineering the world over are:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
- Stanford University, USA
- University of Cambridge, UK
- Harvard University, USA
- University of California, Berkeley (UCB), USA
- University of Michigan, USA
- University of Oxford, UK
- Imperial College London, UK
- University of Tokyo, Japan
- Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
In addition to these academic institutions, educational hubs like National University of Singapore, California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Tsinghua University (China) and Delft University of Technology (Denmark) are also proficient at offering education in the department.
Most of these universities consist of an extensive application process, that comprises of Statement of Purpose (SoP), Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) and the like. This sort of process also usually comprises of an interview conducted at the university or digitally. These interviews are meant to analyse the candidate’s interest and scope in the subject. Some universities also conduct entrance exams. Some universities might execute the cut-off process to take in students on the basis of their performance in the 12th grade. Most universities in the USA, UK, other countries of Europe, and Australia require applicants to submit scores of tests like GMAT, GRE, IELTS, SATs and TOEFL in order to check their proficiency at English. Countries like Germany might require candidates to know the local language as a handful of universities impart education in the local language. Other than this, the candidate must look into visa requirements before departing. In addition to this, a handful of universities ask candidates to submit their family’s financial accounts in order to ensure that the student would be able to pay off the fees. However, some institutions like Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology follow the “need-blind” policy wherein they do not consider the candidate’s financial background while offering admission. Education in the USA usually costs around 20-25 lakh rupees for the first year while it costs around 4-5 lakh rupees in Europe. The tuition fee varies from location to location and institution to institution. The living expenses, including accommodation, stationery, transportation and daily expenditure, usually ranges around 5 lakh rupees annually. Most of the aforementioned institutions offer various types of scholarships to their financially-troubled students. Most colleges also give their students internship and part-time job opportunities so as to ensure that students can manage their daily expenses.
Upon completing their education, mechanical engineering graduates are extremely favoured by the employers. This is largely owing to their combination of bookly knowledge and practical learning. The fact that most mechanical engineers acquire professional accreditation also contributes to their employability. Since their educational course comprises of analysis and solutions, mechanical engineering graduates are hired by corporate and government bodies the world over to analyze problems, devise how thermal and mechanical tools might help with the problem, invent or innovate those tools and operate them. Their job profile also requires them to test and analyze the solution and check whether the problem has been solved in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Mechanical engineering is a field that requires constant work and innovation in the respective area. The fields mechanical engineering students find employability are:
- Manufacturing plants
- Industrial equipment and machinery
- Heating and cooling systems
- Transport systems
- Research and development
- Transport phenomena
The areas of work that mechanical engineers function in might also overlap with other engineering disciplines like civil engineering, aeronautical engineering, metallurgical engineering, electrical engineering, and industrial engineering frequently. The job profiles that a mechanical engineering graduate usually occupies are:
- Nuclear engineer
- Mechanical engineer
- Control and instrumentation engineer
- Production manager
- Technical sales engineer
Research indicates that the demand for mechanical engineers is set to increase over the next few years, a trend marked by the fact that a majority of engineering profiles filled in the USA are mechanical engineering profiles.
The employability of the department’s students indicates towards its prominence in the educational world. It is of little surprise, then, that students from all over the world seek studies in the department,