Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Mechanical engineering

College of Engineering

Concentration(s):
Mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering
Program description

Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers design and analyze machines of all types including automobiles, airplanes, rockets, submarines, power generation systems, biomedical instrumentation, robots, manufacturing systems, household appliances and many, many more. In addition to well-known areas such as nuclear energy, nuclear propulsion and nuclear medicine, nuclear engineers are involved in many other applications of nuclear science and technology in fields as diverse as agriculture, industry, homeland security, forensics, environmental protection and even art.  Current areas of research within the department include but are not limited to energy conversion systems, smart materials, corrosion, medical devices, aerosol science, sensors, radiation detection and measurement, nuclear reactor design, robotics, fluid mechanics, nanotechnology, and biomechanics.

Career opportunities

Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Engineers in this discipline work on power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They also work on power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material-handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing. Some mechanical engineers design tools that other engineers need for their work.The key characteristics of the profession are its breadth, flexibility, and individuality. The career paths of mechanical engineers are largely determined by individual choices, a decided advantage in a changing world.

Change of major requirements

VCU GPA of 3.0 or greater, with a minimum of 12 VCU credit hours earned. Completion of MATH 200, MATH 201, PHYS 207, and CHEM 101 with a GPA of 3.0 or greater, inclusive of all course attempts (historical repeat not considered in calculation of this GPA).


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Automation Engineer
  • Automotive Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Maintenance Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Product Development Engineer
  • Robotics Engineer
  • Sales Engineer
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • College Professor
  • Lead Research Scientist
  • Project Lead Engineer
  • Research & Development Engineer
  • Research Engineer
  • Simulation & Modeling Engineer
Professional associations and resources
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Plan of study in Bulletin
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 201 or higher
Science required
  • 5+ additional science courses
Foreign language requirements
  • No
Additional tuition/fees
  • Yes
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0
Department name:
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Building/room location:
401 West Main Street, Room E3221
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-9117
Email:
mechengr@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
  • Register for EGMN 103 & EGMN 190.
  • Register for the highest level math you can.
  • Attend all SI sessions and seek tutoring.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Continue progression in engineering and mathematics coursework.
  • Learn about double-majors or minors that pair easily with your major.
  • Nuclear Engineers take EGMN 351 & 352.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Get to know other VCU students and meet new friends from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural or identity-related organization.
  • Identify ways in which you are culturally uninformed. Begin to learn the historical and current events that have shaped cultures to which you have been underexposed.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Take ENGR 395 Professional Development and gain key skills for finding internships, co-op’s, or research opportunities.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend Engineering Internship/Career Fairs.
  • Consider attending a national career fair (SWE, SHPE, NSBE) to gain exposure to more employers.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • Discuss electives for your concentration with your advisor and professors.
  • Attend or present a poster at a scientific meeting or conference.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Participate in culturally diverse events both at VCU and beyond. Art, music, and food festivals and exhibitions are plentiful.
  • Practice professional communication and interpersonal skills that embrace cultural differences.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Attend Engineering Internship & Career Fair.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Choose courses teaching content and skills most relevant to your preferred post-graduation opportunities.
  • Declare any possible outstanding minors for which you may already have credit (Math and Physics).
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Continue to explore cultures beyond your own through scholarly and recreational avenues.
  • Visit the Museum District’s many offerings, such as the VMFA and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Engage in research with a faculty mentor.
  • Gain practical experience through internships, externships and skill building.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.
  • Attend Engineering Internship/Career Fairs.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Mechanical engineering

College of Engineering

Concentration(s):
Mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
  • Register for EGMN 103 & EGMN 190.
  • Register for the highest level math you can.
  • Attend all SI sessions and seek tutoring.
Experience Year 2
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Continue progression in engineering and mathematics coursework.
  • Learn about double-majors or minors that pair easily with your major.
  • Nuclear Engineers take EGMN 351 & 352.
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Get to know other VCU students and meet new friends from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural or identity-related organization.
  • Identify ways in which you are culturally uninformed. Begin to learn the historical and current events that have shaped cultures to which you have been underexposed.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Take ENGR 395 Professional Development and gain key skills for finding internships, co-op’s, or research opportunities.
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend Engineering Internship/Career Fairs.
  • Consider attending a national career fair (SWE, SHPE, NSBE) to gain exposure to more employers.
Year 3
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • Discuss electives for your concentration with your advisor and professors.
  • Attend or present a poster at a scientific meeting or conference.
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Participate in culturally diverse events both at VCU and beyond. Art, music, and food festivals and exhibitions are plentiful.
  • Practice professional communication and interpersonal skills that embrace cultural differences.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Attend Engineering Internship & Career Fair.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Choose courses teaching content and skills most relevant to your preferred post-graduation opportunities.
  • Declare any possible outstanding minors for which you may already have credit (Math and Physics).
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Continue to explore cultures beyond your own through scholarly and recreational avenues.
  • Visit the Museum District’s many offerings, such as the VMFA and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Engage in research with a faculty mentor.
  • Gain practical experience through internships, externships and skill building.
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.
  • Attend Engineering Internship/Career Fairs.