Jul 17, 2024  
2016-2017 Academic Catalogue 
2016-2017 Academic Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is the second oldest of the engineering professions and has the largest enrollment of students in the United States. Mechanical engineering is a very broad field which includes many areas of study such as refrigeration, air conditioning, energy conversion, nuclear engineering, biomedical engineering, transportation equipment engineering and industrial engineering. Mechanical engineers are employed in design, operations, sales, energy conservation, research, and management. A mechanical engineering education is an excellent background for a career in the military, government, business, or other professions such as law and medicine.

The mechanical engineering curriculum at VMI has two main branches: one branch consists of courses related to energy; the other branch has courses which are related to structures and motion in mechanical systems. The curriculum provides a broad background with courses in science, mathematics, liberal arts, and all of the engineering sciences. Extensive use is made of the computer facilities at VMI.

The mission of the Mechanical Engineering Department is to prepare graduates for graduate studies, for a professional engineering career, or for a career in the military through a continually improving curriculum of courses in engineering, related sciences, mathematics, and humanities which will allow the student to possess:

Educational Objective 1

Enable the student to develop the ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems in both the thermal/fluids, mechanical design and related areas.

Supporting Program Outcomes:

1.1 Graduates will have the ability to apply the knowledge of mathematics (through multivariate calculus and differential equations), science (through chemistry and calculus-based physics), and engineering to engineering problems in the thermal and mechanical design areas.

1.2 Graduates will have the ability to analyze, and design mechanical and thermal systems, components and processes incorporating applicable engineering standards and realistic constraints.

1.3 Graduates will have the ability to design and conduct experiments, and to analyze and interpret experimental results.

1.4 Graduates will have the ability to use modern computational and analytical techniques, skills and tools.

Educational Objective 2

Enable the student to develop the professional skills and awareness necessary to responsibly practice engineering in a global and societal context.

Supporting Program Outcomes:

2.1 Graduates will have effective oral and written communication skills.

2.2 Graduates will have the ability to effectively function on teams.

2.3 Graduates will have an understanding of their professional and ethical responsibilities.

2.4 Graduates will recognize their need of life-long learning and will possess the ability to engage in life-long learning.

Laboratory facilities consist of: Computer-aided Design and Engineering Lab; Energy Lab; Computation Lab; Instrumentation Lab; Manufacturing and Robotics Lab; Materials Lab. Laboratories are designed as an extension of classroom work and provide technological experiments considered important to the engineering student. Cadets are provided practical hands-on experience on modern equipment. The department strongly emphasizes the use of computers for problem solving. A programming language is taught using microcomputers, and computer-aided drafting (CAD) is taught as a companion element in the drawing course. Both programming and CAD, as well as other computer applications, become an integral part of most courses taught in the department.

The Mechanical Engineering Department has been in existence since 1941 as a service department to the other engineering departments. The new curriculum, started in 1982, produced its first graduates in May 1985 and is accredited by ABET, Inc.

The department sponsors a student section of the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). Participation in professional activities is emphasized. Cadets are required to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination as a graduation requirement during their first class year so that in the future they can become registered Professional Engineers.

Honors in Mechanical Engineering

1. Eligibility

Each candidate must:

  1. Have an overall 3.00 quality point average in all classes (through the end of his/her 2nd class year).
  2. Have an overall 3.25 quality point average in all Mechanical Engineering classes (through the end of his/her 2nd class year).
  3. Have a 3.00 quality point average in all classes at graduation.
  4. Have a 3.25 quality point average in all Mechanical Engineering classes at graduation.

2. Application and Administrative Procedures

Each candidate must:

  1. Inform, in writing, the Department Head of their intention to participate in the Honors Program before the end of the cadet’s second class year.
  2. Register for 2 semesters of the Independent Study sequence (ME 461 -ME 462 ).
  3. Find a faculty adviser who is willing to supervise their Independent Study.
  4. Have the subject of their independent study approved by the Departmental Honors Committee prior to the beginning of the Independent Study sequence. The Departmental Honors Committee will appoint a faculty Thesis Committee consisting of three faculty members including the adviser.

3. Program Requirements:

Each candidate must:

  1. Write an honors thesis. A typed draft of this thesis will be submitted to their Thesis Committee no later than five days before the beginning of the final examination period.
  2. Present the results of their independent study to the Thesis Committee and any interested faculty no later than the second day of the final examination period, and receive the endorsement of a majority of the faculty present for the presentation.
  3. Present the results of their independent study at an undergraduate (VMI Undergraduate Research Symposium, National Undergraduate Research Conference, MARCUS, etc.), regional, national, or international conference.
  4. Submit the final version of their thesis to the Thesis Committee before the end of the final examination period.

Additional Information

Applicants considering mechanical engineering as a choice of major may best prepare in high school by taking the full college preparatory program augmented by as many mathematics and science courses as their schedules permit. Courses in engineering drawing (drafting) and computer programming are also recommended, but they should not be taken in lieu of elements of the college preparatory sequence.




    Coordinator: Colonel Robert McDonald
    For information pertaining to the Institute Honors Program, please see Special Programs .


    Department of Mechanical Engineering
    Department Head: Colonel Hardin

    Requirements for a major in mechanical engineering are specified in Mechanical Engineering .