1. What is mechanical engineering?

This is how the U.S. Department of Labor describes mechanical engineers: Mechanical Engineers research, develop, design, manufacture and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. They work on power-producing machines such as electricity- producing generators, internal combustion engines, steam and gas turbines, and jet and rocket engines. They also develop power-consuming machines such as refrigeration and air- conditioning equipment, robots used in manufacturing, machine tools, materials handling systems, and industrial production equipment.

2. How important is mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineering is one of the few traditional engineering fields. It is responsible for most of (what we know today as) human civilization through the use of technology.

3. What are some of the top inventions of mechanical engineering?

According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the primary professional organization for mechanical engineers in the U.S., the ten leading inventions by mechanical engineers include: automobiles, space exploration vehicles, power (electricity) generation plants, agricultural mechanization, the airplane, mass production of integrated circuits (computers), air-conditioning and refrigeration machines, computer-aided engineering technology, bioengineering, development of codes and standards.

4. How is Mechanical Engineering different from other engineering majors?

(See the definition of mechanical engineering and the top inventions of mechanical engineering above.) Mechanical engineering deals with tools, machines, and mechanical devices, and all things in motion. Mechanical engineering is very broad and initially included chemical engineering, nuclear engineering, industrial engineering, materials science and engineering, and so on.

5. What kinds of jobs do mechanical engineers get after graduation?

Mechanical engineering is the most diverse of all engineering fields, and the job prospects are equally diverse. The following are some of the jobs that mechanical engineers perform (Wickert and Lewis, 2013):


a.   Design and analyze any component, material, module, or system for the next generation of automobiles

b.   Design and analyze medical devices, including aids for the disabled, surgical and diagnostic equipment, prosthetics, and artificial organs

c.   Design and analyze efficient refrigeration, heating, and air-conditioning systems

d.   Design and analyze the power and heat dissipation systems for any number of mobile computing and networking devices

e.   Design and analyze advanced urban transportation and vehicle safety systems

f.    Design and analyze sustainable forms of energy that are more readily accessible by nations, states, cities, villages, and people groups

g.   Design and analyze the next generation of space exploration systems

h.   Design and analyze revolutionary manufacturing equipment and automated assembly lines for a wide range of consumer products

i.    Manage a diverse team of engineers in the development of a global product platform, identifying customer, market, and product opportunities

j.    Provide consultant services to any number of industries, including chemical, plastics, and rubber manufacturing; petroleum and coal production; computer and electronic products; food and beverage production; printing and publishing; utilities; and service providers

k.    Work in public service for such governmental agencies as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Defense, National Institution of Standards and Technology, Environmental Protection Agency, and national research laboratories

l.    Teach mathematics, physics, science, or engineering at the high school, 2-year college, or 4-year university level

m.  Pursue significant careers in law, medicine, social work, business, sales, or finance

6. Examples of job titles:

Sample job titles for mechanical engineers include (Wickert and Lewis, 2013): Chief Executive Officer (CEO), product engineer, sales engineer design engineer, plant engineer, principal engineer, systems engineer, power engineer, mechatronics engineer, process development engineer, manufacturing engineer, packaging engineer, mechanical device engineer, energy efficiency engineer, mechanical product engineer, product application engineer, facilities design engineer, applications engineer, renewable-energy engineer, and electro-mechanical engineer.

7. What industries employ mechanical engineers?

Too many to list! Examples include: automobile industries (Hyundai, Kia, Daewoo, SsangYong, power generation and utility companies, engine companies (such as General Electric, Rolls Royce, Honeywell), aerospace airframe companies (such as Korean Air, Boeing, Airbus, Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, SpaceX), HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) companies, and general manufacturing companies such as those that manufacture computers. Mechanical engineers also find employment in government labs such as the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the various departments of defense (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force) everywhere.

8. How long will it take to graduate with a mechanical engineering degree at SUNY Korea? (Number of credits to take)

The program at SUNY Korea is designed for 8 semesters whether you enter in Spring or Fall semesters. The academic plan assumes you enter the university with the required prerequisite English Language proficiency and Calculus knowledge. This translates into approximately 130 credits of coursework covering the foundational courses, general university requirements, core mechanical engineering courses, and the technical elective courses.

9. What are the requirements for minoring in Mechanical Engineering?

The Minor in Mechanical Engineering

The minor in Mechanical Engineering is offered for students who want the record of their University studies to show a significant amount of upper-division work in the discipline. Entry into this minor presupposes a background in mathematics and physics, represented by the prerequisite requirements for the courses listed below.

Requirements for the Minor in Mechanical Engineering (MEC)

Completion of the minor requires 18-20 credits, of which 12-13 are from required courses and 6-7 from electives. 
A student who wishes to pursue this minor should consult with the undergraduate program director in the Department of Mechanical Engineering before registering for the elective courses. All courses must be taken for a letter grade and a g.p.a. of 2.00 or higher is required for the six courses that constitute the minor.

1. Four required courses:

2. Two elective courses chosen from the following: 

  • MEC 305 Heat and Mass Transfer
  • MEC 310 Introduction to Machine Design
  • MEC 320 Numerical Methods in Engineering Design and Analysis
  • MEC 325 Manufacturing Processes and Machining
  • MEC 364 Introduction to Fluid Mechanics
  • MEC 393 Engineering Fluid Mechanics
  • MEC 398 Thermodynamics II
  • MEC 402 Mechanical Vibrations
  • MEC 411 System Dynamics and Control
  • MEC 455 Applied Stress Analysis

Note: Other electives require the appro­val of the undergraduate program director.

10. What is the relationship between mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering?

Aerospace Engineering is also called Aeronautics and Astronautics in some institutions. Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering are very closely related, so much so that many institutions around the world (including Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Sejong University, Cornell University, Princeton University, University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles, SUNY Buffalo, to name a few) have both fields in the same department. When combined in a department, the department is usually called Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The basic undergraduate courses are the same. However, aerospace engineering majors focus entirely on aircraft and space vehicles, whereas mechanical engineering majors are involved in all types of vehicles (space, automobiles, ship, bicycles, motor cycles, etc.), in addition to the study of a myriad of other things (tools, engines, machines, and mechanical devises). Mechanical engineers are also responsible for agricultural mechanization and design/manufacture of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems). At the graduate level, the distinction between Mechanical and Aerospace is actually more blurred, and mechanical engineering professors routinely teach aerospace engineering courses, and vice-versa.

11. How can I change my major to Mechanical Engineering, if I was admitted to Technology and Society or Computer Science?

The requirements to apply to Mechanical Engineering are:


• Completion of at least 10 credits of mathematics, physics, and engineering courses required for mechanical engineering

• A G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher in all mathematics, physics, and engineering courses applicable to mechanical engineering requirements with no more than one grade of C or lower

• Completion of course evaluations for all transferred courses that are to be used to meet requirements of mechanical engineering.

12. When should I change my major to mechanical engineering?


There is no hard-and-fast rule, but this should be done as soon as possible to avoid delays in time to graduation, and issues with the prerequisites for the advanced courses in mechanical engineering.

13. Can I take summer courses to accelerate the process of completing my degree requirements?


Courses offered during summer are usually intended for remedial (catch-up) purposes rather than for acceleration.

14. Please tell me about hands-on experience in the mechanical engineering curriculum.

Mechanical engineering differs from many applied science and engineering programs in the emphasis on hands-on experience. Many of our courses require lab experience, which includes instrumentation and machine shops. Moreover, the capstone design courses in the department require that you actually build something physical that works. You cannot complete degree requirements without passing these courses. Furthermore, mechanical engineering students have the opportunity to take part in international competitions where they actually build machines and compete with universities all over the world on certain metrics of their design.

15. What professional societies can I join as a student of mechanical engineering?

Stony Brook students can become a member of the student chapters of these international professional organizations: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), American Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and American Society for Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Student organizations will be established at SUNY Korea, to include, for example, Korean Society of Mechanical Engineers.

16. Which engineering field is better: Technology and Society or Mechanical Engineering?

It really depends on your interest. Mechanical engineers build machines, mechanical devices, and the like. Technology and Society engineers are concerned with the interaction of engineering with the society.

17. How many calculus courses will I need to take for the undergraduate program in mechanical engineering?

Students are required to take a five-course sequence in calculus. The courses are taken at SUNY Korea.

18. Do we have industrial training during the course of our program in mechanical engineering at SUNY Korea?

Not explicitly. However, there are many exposures to mechanical engineering labs and machine shops during the course of the program. Moreover, students are encouraged to apply for, and accept, internship positions at various companies that are relevant to the field. There is an ample of opportunities to do this during the summer months.

19. What is this capstone design courses that I hear about in the mechanical engineering curriculum?

These are courses that require all students to go through the four major stages of mechanical design (requirement specification, conceptual design, detailed design, and production, or actual manufacturing of hardware). This course also requires that you innovate, build something new, or improve upon existing design.

22. What are rotating faculty members in SUNY Korea?

These are Stony Brook faculty or faculty from other institutions who come to SUNY Korea to teach for a semester or two.

23. Are there distance learning courses at SUNY Korea?

Most of the courses at SUNY Korea are taught on site.

24. Do I need to submit TOEFL scores for admission to SUNY Korea mechanical engineering?

All applicants to SUNY Korea must prove their English proficiency. The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination, or SAT must be taken by anyone whose native language is not English, even if you have attended high school in the United States. If you are a transfer student and have not completed a college- level writing course at a U.S. college or university (or received a grade below C in the course), one of the aforementioned exams is required for you as well.

25. What about SAT?

SAT is required for all students who did their high school in the United States. It is optional for other students. However, some students boost their credentials by submitting SAT scores.

26. Do I need to speak Korean to attend SUNY Korea?

No. The language of instruction at SUNY Korea is English.

27. What is the SUNY Korea Intensive English Center (IEC)?

This center caters to the needs of students who do not have the English to undertake a course of study at SUNY Korea. You need to pass the equivalent of the IEC courses before you can matriculate at SUNY Korea.

28. What opportunities do I have as a mechanical engineering student to delve more into a specific area of the field?

Although a significant portion of the courses in mechanical engineering are prescribed, you do have the freedom to choose three elective courses in one or more areas of your interest within mechanical engineering. This includes the opportunity to carry out some research work with a professor in an area of your interest.

29. Where do I go if I have more questions on the mechanical engineering program at SUNY Korea?

Come to the mechanical engineering department office at SUNY Korea, which is located in Room 619 of the B Academic building. You may also visit SUNY Korea’s Academic Advising office in Room 201 of the A Academic building. Of course, you can visit our website (www.sunykorea.ac.kr) for more information. You may contact the coordinator of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at SUNY Korea via +82 32 626-1801 and/or youjin.kim@sunykorea.ac.kr.