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Engineering Mechanics
Mechanics is the study of forces that act on bodies and the resultant motion that those bodies experience. With roots in physics and mathematics, Engineering Mechanics is the basis of all the mechanical sciences: civil engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, aeronautical and aerospace and engineering.

Engineering Mechanics provides the "building blocks" of statics, dynamics, strength of materials, and fluid dynamics. Engineering mechanics is the the discipline devoted to the solution of mechanics problems through the integrated application of mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles. Special emphasis is placed on the physical principles underlying modern engineering design.

What's the Difference between Engineering Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering?
Although the names of the two degree programs sound alike, Engineering Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering are distinct programs with important differences in outlook, philosophy, and content. These differences are most apparent in the junior and senior years as the Engineering Mechanics major delves deeper into the field of mechanics and takes more rigorous math courses than the Mechanical Engineering major.

Required courses in the Engineering Mechanics curriculum provide a foundation in Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, continuum mechanics, and computational mechanics. The Engineering Mechanics secondary field options, which stress different branches of the science of mechanics rather than application areas, also require 400-level courses. These advanced courses, required for Engineering Mechanics undergraduates, are frequently taken by graduate students from several different disciplines. Many Engineering Mechanics undergraduates participate in research, and some are offered teaching assistant positions for introductory courses.

On balance, the Engineering Mechanics graduate is an engineering scientist, well equipped for further study in graduate school, or for research-oriented jobs in industry. He or she will have a thorough education in applied mathematics, with emphasis on the techniques needed to solve mechanical problems. The Engineering Mechanics program emphasizes analytical skills, scientific breadth, and research preparedness.

Those interested in a career in engineering mechanics should consider reviewing engineering programs that are accredited by ABET, Inc. If you choose to attend a program that is not ABET accredited, you should be sure that the university is regionally accredited. Engineering mechanics students take courses such as Mechanical Vibrations, Aerodynamics, Elementary Heat Transfer, Fluid Dynamics, and Design Problems in Engineering.

Engineering Mechanics students are also encouraged to engage in undergraduate research with a faculty member. As a result, Engineering Mechanics students are prepared for careers at the forefront of a wide variety of fields, including the aerospace, electronics, automotive, manufacturing, software, and computer industries. The curriculum also provides excellent preparation for graduate school in many different engineering disciplines.

Students seeking engineering mechanics jobs enhance their employment opportunities by participating in internship or co-op programs offered through their schools. These experiences provide the students with broad knowledge and experience, making them more attractive candidates to employers. Many universities offer co-op and internship programs for students studying engineering mechanics. Click here for more information.

Professional Organizations

American Society of Civil Engineer's Engineering Mechanics Division

American Society of Mechanical Engineer's Applied Mechanics Division

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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