Technical Specialization Course Tracks

The following groupings are possible specialty areas that you can study within the mechanical engineering program. Courses outside of ME can be used as an Engineering Technical Elective (ETE) or General Technical Elective (GTE) as noted. A Mechanical Engineering Technical Elective (METE) can also be used for ETE or GTE. A course noted as ETE can also be used for GTE.

Mechanical Engineering in Aerospace Applications

Specialization in the application of mechanical engineering in the aerospace field. Track courses focus on advanced mechanical engineering topics needed in aerospace applications such as fluid dynamics, gas turbines, mechatronics and automatic control systems. Applications and professional opportunities exist in jet engines, rotorcraft, aircraft, and spacecraft design and development.

Vehicle Engineering for the 21st Century

This track includes traditional automotive engineering topics and advanced topics needed to meet today's needs for efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. Track courses include internal combustion engines, vehicle dynamics, fuel cells, hybrid vehicles, and advanced engineering tools such as mechatronics, finite element analysis, and control systems. Applications and professional opportunities exist in traditional the automotive and heavy transportation industries, earthmoving and construction equipment, and agricultural equipment. Emerging opportunities are developing as a result of the world's needs for low carbon emission, high efficiency transportation systems.

Biomedical Device Engineering

Specialization in the application of mechanical engineering to devices and instruments used in the medical field. Track courses include finite element analysis, automatic control systems, medical imagining, and prosthesis design. Applications and professional opportunities exist throughout rapidly growing medical instrument and patient rehabilitation fields. (A biomedical engineering minor can be pursued with BSME. A concurrent degree plan is also available.)

Combustion Based Energy Conversions

Specialization in conversion of energy from combustion of fuels. Track courses include combustion processes, internal combustion engines, and rocket propulsion. Applications and professional opportunities exist and are wide ranging from power generation, transportation systems, and aerospace fields.

Machine Dynamics and Design

Specialization in some of the most traditional and enduring mechanical engineering topics of design, motion, and dynamics of mechanical machinery. Track courses focus on the analysis of forces and motions in moving components and the control of noise and vibration resulting from the equipment operation. The most current engineering tools are used to design and analyze mechanical devices for safe, functional and efficient operation. Applications and professional opportunities exist in almost all fields requiring mechanical engineering expertise, including, agricultural equipment, steam turbines, solar power, marine propulsion, and micro-machines.

Control of Mechanical Systems

Specialization in the control mechanical systems for a specific goal such as maintaining a prescribed motion profile, efficient energy utilization or force application. Courses include control system design and analysis, mechatronics, and robotics. Applications and professional opportunities exist in many engineering fields, including process and equipment automation, aircraft flight systems, medication dispensing, and emission control of combustion processes.

Turbomachinery Based Energy Conversions

Specialization in the efficiency transfer of thermal to mechanical energy. The track courses focus on advanced fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and turbine design and operation. Applications and professional opportunities exist in many areas as the global demand for energy grows exponentially.

Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering

Specialization in the merging of electronics and mechanical devices to optimize operational efficiency. Topics include computer-mechanical device interfacing, control of mechanical actuators, automatic control systems, and operation of industrial robots. Applications and professional opportunities exist in fields, such as computer control of mechanical mechanisms, process automation, and pharmaceutical production.

Power Engineering

Specialization in the transfer of energy from one form to another, often as electricity in the end. The track is subdivided into nuclear engineering and power plant groupings. Courses in the nuclear engineering sub track provide the mechanical engineer with a fundamental knowledge of the field. The power plant sub track focuses on the conversion thermal energy to mechanical motion necessary to create electrical power, with courses in turbomachinery, heat exchangers, and automatic control systems. Applications and professional opportunities exist in electrical utilities and its support vendors.

Global Engineering via Study Abroad

Experience working in the global economy via a study abroad. Penn State's Global Engineering Education has numerous engineering exchange programs throughout the world. Through overseas study you will gain the critical experience to cultural sensitivities and the work environment. As each of the international partner institutions has different opportunities available, you can tailor your technical course of study. The experience prepares you to work for multinational companies in a variety of industries.

New Product Design and Manufacturing

This track provides a specialization in developing a product starting with a customer need through to a manufactured device. Courses focus on the design process, mechanical component design, design optimization, and manufacturing processes. Applications and professional opportunities range from consumer products to commercial aircraft.

Suggested Technical Specialization Course Tracks for Graduate School Preparation

Mechanical Sciences

Thermal Sciences

Career Resources
Study Abroad


With more than 60 faculty members, 330 graduate students, and 800 undergraduate students, the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering embraces a culture that welcomes individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise. Our faculty and students are innovating today what will impact tomorrow’s solutions to meeting our energy needs, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems. We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S.) graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at

Department of Mechanical Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519