University of South Carolina


Mechanical Engineering: What to Expect

Mechanical Engineering majors at the University of South Carolina have many opportunities for personal growth through small class sizes and dedicated faculty. As a Mechanical Engineering major, you will have the opportunity to work with a professor in research on some of today’s most notable engineering challenges. You will develop skills that will give you the ability to solve many of today’s world problems. Mechanical Engineering majors will choose a concentration from Design and Manufacturing, Engineering Materials, Mechanics of Solids, Thermal and Fluid Systems, and Nuclear Engineering.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a major in Mechanical Engineering:

  • Circuits or Electrical Engineering for Non-Majors
  • Introduction to Engineering Graphics and Visualization
  • Statics
  • Introduction to Applied Numerical Methods
  • Introduction to the Mechanics of Solids
  • Thermodynamic Fundamentals
  • Dynamics
  • Design of Mechanical Elements
  • Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines

There is an 18 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major specific courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. Mechanical Engineering students have studied all over the world including Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa. By participating in a mechanical engineering study abroad experience, you will learn that engineering is a global concern and that solutions to engineering problems must take into account and cultural differences of the world’s societies. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Website for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Mechanical Engineering major, you can get involved in American Society of Mechanical Engineering, American Society of Nuclear Engineering, Society of Automotive Engineering, and Engineers without Borders. Joining these organizations will give you the ability to grow professionally, interact with professionals who are currently working in the field, and see the current challenges the profession faces. You may also wish to get involved in annual competitions such as Solar Boat and Baja Race. Solar Boat is a worldwide competition to design, build, and race a boat powered by solar energy; while Baja Race is a worldwide competition to design, build, and race an off road vehicle. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Mechanical Engineering majors have gone on to pursue graduate programs in law, medicine, and engineering.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Mechanical Engineering has many faculty that have received University-wide teaching awards including Dr. Wally Peters, Dr. Jamil Khan, Dr. Steve McNeill, Dr. Jed Lyons, and Dr. David Rocheleau.  
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. Scholarships that incoming freshman are eligible for include the Cassidy Fae Pendley Memorial Scholarship in Engineering; Engineering Faculty, Student, and Alumni Scholarship; Harold S. Wrenn Bicentennial Scholarship; and the Michelin North America, Inc., Endowed Scholarship. The College of Engineering and Computing offers more than 60 additional scholarships each year.
Associated Learning Communities are an integral part of the university experience. These communities provide you with the opportunity to live in an environment that promotes diversity, embraces excellence, encourages insightful faculty-student interaction and works to develop a strong sense of community. These academically themed communities also emphasize active service-learning experiences, study-abroad opportunities and undergraduate research. First-year students in the College of Engineering and Computing may choose to live in the Engineering and Computing Community. Students will benefit from increased interaction with faculty and go on excursions to places such as Bose and BMW’s plants in South Carolina.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The USC Career Center operates a satellite office in the College of Engineering and Computing providing convenient access for students to obtain career guidance, as well as to participate in employer information sessions and on-campus interviews. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Career Opportunities

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

About the College of Engineering and Computing

The College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina is composed of five departments: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.  The College offers nine undergraduate degree programs.  The College of Engineering and Computing has been undergoing an unprecedented growth in research and scholarship and its faculty excel in a variety of areas including Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, and Atomic Level Engineering.  The College also offers several options for graduate studies including a Certificate of Graduate Studies, Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering, Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering.

Points of Pride

  • A national report issued on September 28, 2010 shows that USC and the College of Engineering and Computing are home to some of the South’s best doctoral programs including Chemical Engineering (ranked 7th in the South), Electrical Engineering (ranked 7th nationally and first in the South), and Mechanical Engineering (ranked 7th in the South).

Additional Resources
Mechanical Engineering Website
College of Engineering and Computing Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin