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The MU mechanical engineering program is structured to provide a comprehensive baccalaureate degree program that prepares students for practice of the profession in industry or government, or for further study toward other degrees such as the JD, MD, MS and PhD. Considerable effort is directed toward breadth of topics covered as well as depth in areas of thermal and mechanical systems in order to provide a program of the highest possible quality.

Education in a comprehensive university environment, rather than a narrowly focused training program, is a fundamental premise of our curriculum. The department instructs students in four major emphasis areas: design and manufacturing, dynamics and controls, thermal and Fluid systems, and materials, and offers excellent collaboration with other departments through a variety of co-listed courses and projects.

Customize Your Degree

The MAE curriculum offers convenient transferability among all departments during the first 2 years. Students concentrate on departmental requirements during the junior year. The senior year is primarily elective allowing the students to develop an individual study program. This enables students to complete a traditional program or explore studies in:

  • bioengineering
  • system design
  • materials
  • manufacturing
  • energy systems
  • controls

Hands On Experience

Experience in design is integrated throughout the required courses in the curriculum and culminates in the capstone design course MAE 4980: Senior Capstone Design. Students receive significant experience with open-ended problems where factors such as economic and social judgments are important. Group and individual projects are chosen to develop student expertise in attacking problems with more than one right answer, to communicate, to work in teams and to understand the nontechnical contributions to engineering decisions.


How does a student fit in to 25,000 other undergraduate students? Pretty well. This chart shows how students are divided into smaller communities called FIGS (Freshmen Interest Groups).

The capstone design experience is a small-group, project-oriented course that is structured to draw upon the student’s entire academic repertoire. This capstone course integrates earlier technical work with economic, safety and environmental considerations. The projects are primarily obtained from industrial or private business clients. The presentations of project results are made to a review panel consisting of members of the faculty, the MAE Industrial Advisory Council and representatives of the client firms.

In the Lab

  • Guidance and Control Engineer, MESSENGER Mission
  • John Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory
  • BS MAE

In what ways did Mizzou prepare you for life in the real world?

In some ways, my professional life is an extension of my academic background at Mizzou. I frequently rely on almost everything I learned in the MAE department to do my job on a daily basis. Of course, the real world also presents issues that I don’t have the necessary background to work through, but part of my Mizzou education was to learn how to approach difficult problems outside my area of expertise. These problem-solving fundamentals are instrumental in achieving results in the real world, and Mizzou does an excellent job of laying this foundation.

What has your career path been like?

After graduation with my undergraduate degree, I went to work in an engineering/project management position. While the work was challenging from an organizational perspective, it didn’t offer much opportunity for solving technical problems.  In order to pursue a more technically challenging career, I returned to Mizzou for graduate school. Upon graduation with my Masters, I found a job working in the space industry, doing guidance, control and trajectory work for interplanetary spacecraft. I currently lead a couple of small teams of engineers, one developing innovative approaches to deep space missions and another managing a mission in orbit about Mercury.

Anything you think prospective students should know specifically about MAE? And about Engineering and Mizzou in general?

Personally, I think the MAE department is an excellent path for prospective engineers. It offers exposure to many different topics in the engineering field (fluids, structures, dynamics, controls, etc.), and this broad exposure helped me shape my interests and find a career that is exciting and rewarding. From a broader perspective, the engineering school at Mizzou creates a great deal of opportunities to do exciting things. And I am a firm believer that students will get an education proportional to what they put into the experience. Students who work hard and invest in the extracurricular activities (engineering and otherwise) will find many more opportunities beyond MU.

We endeavor to present a strong experimental program through laboratory experiences to expose undergraduate students to modern instrumentation and measurement methodologies. Students work in well-equipped laboratories in design optimization, microprocessor control, materials, biomechanics, measurement and instrumentation, heat transfer and fluid dynamics, aerosol systems, and nondestructive evaluation. These laboratories are available for instructional and research purposes at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Undergraduate Research

  • Instrument System Engineer
  • Mars Science Laboratory
  • BS MAE 2005

In what ways did Mizzou prepare you for life in the real world? And how did it not?

Mizzou provided a great undergrad education focused on the engineering fundamentals. I feel the college of engineering prepares students for either careers in the “real world” or further graduate study. This is partially because the MAE professors used real life problems in their courses. I like to think of engineering as having a bag of tools to approach problems, and Mizzou provided me a great set of basic engineering tools. One aspect of the real world that I didn’t appreciate until working full time was the importance of communication. The MAE curriculum had two writing intensive courses, however, more of the elective engineering courses should have a writing intensive component. While writing intensive courses are not always fun, the skills gained are invaluable.

What has your career path been like?

I graduated from Mizzou (MAE) in Dec 2005 and worked as an intern at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) from March 2006 to August 2006. I worked on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter aerobraking phase, using the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft to make predictions on dust loading and atmospheric conditions. After my internship I went to Purdue University to obtain my master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering. My research focus at Purdue was aerospace optimization and systems. I then returned to JPL in the summer of 2008 and currently work as the instrument system engineer for the four science cameras on the Mars Science Laboratory. I’m working on the final tests on the spacecraft prior to launch in November 2011.

How has your MAE degree factored into that career, and what other elements of your college days played a part as well?

My career is ONLY possible because of my MAE degree. Dr. Kluever passed along the JPL internship announcement that ultimately led to my full time position. I always knew I wanted to work in the aerospace industry and the internship got my foot in the door. While at Mizzou, I was also involved with the St. Pat’s Board, Engineering Student Council, and the Admissions office. These experiences helped develop my communication and leadership skills that are important to engineers. Let’s face it – engineers are not always the best communicators.

Anything you think prospective students should know specifically about MAE? And about Engineering and Mizzou in general?

I think Mizzou is a great school to study engineering. It provided a great basic set of engineering skills that allowed me to find my dream job. The engineering class sizes were small and the professors were approachable. Mizzou is a great place that offered many different opportunities and experiences.

In addition, students have the opportunity to become involved in individual research or design projects, and those eligible for the honors program have further opportunities for more individualized study.


The Mechanical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,
Learn about  Mechanical Engineering ABET Accreditation here.