Feb 23, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mechanical Engineering

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: The Curricula

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 mechanical engineering program also offers two concentrations: the Aerospace Engineering Concentration and the Nuclear Engineering Concentration. 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.

Mechanical Engineering (ME) Departmental Mission Statement

The mission of the VMI Mechanical Engineering Department is to prepare graduates for graduate studies, a professional engineering career, or a career in the military through a continually improving curriculum of courses in engineering, related sciences, mathematics, and humanities which will ensure that our graduates are prepared to meet our educational objectives.

ME Departmental Educational Objectives:

The educational objectives of the VMI Mechanical Engineering Program are to produce graduates, who will, within a few years of graduation,

  1. have successful careers in industry or the military, or be successfully engaged in post-graduate or advanced educational studies
  2. be responsible global contributors who uphold strict ethical standards and who continue to develop their professional skills through sustained engagement in lifelong-learning activities

ME Department Educational Goals and Supporting Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)

The potential of our graduates to realize our educational objectives depends on the skills and abilities they have developed through the ME curriculum. Therefore, the department has identified specific Educational Goals and supporting Student Learning Outcomes (SLO), related to those skills and abilities, that each cadet should possess by graduation.

Educational Goal 1

Graduates will have the ability to apply the knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to engineering problems in the thermal and mechanical areas.

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

SLO 1.2     Graduates will have the ability to analyze and design mechanical and thermal systems, components and processes.

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

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

Educational Goal 2

Graduates will possess the professional skills and awareness necessary to responsibly practice engineering in both a technical and societal context.

SLO 2.1     Graduates will have effective oral and written communication skills.

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

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

SLO 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; Computational Labs; Instrumentation Lab; Manufacturing Lab; Materials Lab. Laboratories are designed as an extension of classroom work and provide technological experiments considered important to cadet understanding of classroom concepts. Cadets are provided practical hands-on experience on modern equipment. In addition, the department strongly emphasizes the integration of design/fabrication/testing projects, which is supported by a Cadet Projects Lab, and computational problem solution, supported by significant computational resources, across the courses taught in the ME department. Various computer programming languages are taught as well as computer-aided drafting (CAD). Both programming and CAD, as well as other computer applications, form an integral part of many of the courses taught in the department.

The Mechanical Engineering Department has been in existence since 1941 and, until 1982, served as a service department to the other engineering departments. The degree-bearing ME program, initially implemented in 1982, produced its first graduates in May 1985. The Mechanical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

The department sponsors a student section of the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). Participation in professional activities is emphasized with cadets being required to attend two professional society meetings as a graduation requirement. Cadets are also 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:

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

   2. Application and Administrative Procedures

Each candidate must:

A.  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.
B.  Register for 2 semesters of the Independent Study sequence (ME 461-ME 462).
C.  Find a faculty adviser who is willing to supervise their Independent Study.
D.  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:

A.  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.
B.  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.
C.  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.
D.  Submit the final version of their thesis to the Thesis Committee before the end of the final examination period.

Mechanical Engineering Enrollment and Graduation Data

Mechanical Engineering Academic Year
  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Undergraduate Cadets Enrolled in ME* 189 173 175 182 167 183 171
BS Degrees Awarded in ME** 27 29 19 28 23 38 21

 *Fall Census
**July 1 - June 30

Major in Mechanical Engineering

Concentrations in Mechanical Engineering



    Department of Mechanical Engineering
    Department Head: Colonel Hardin

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

    Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: The Curricula