Mechanical Engineering


Learn to go from Legos to Lockheed.


We know what you've heard. Knowing how to analyze a Renaissance painting or being able to distinguish a B-flat from a B-sharp are both examples of extremely useful, valuable skills that will likely land you a super duper high-paying job and maybe even a Nobel Peace Prize.

Except…not really.

We like to be real here at Shmoop, and we gotta be honest when we say that some majors teach very few real-world skills. While majoring in fine arts sounds like fun, you don't exactly have the opportunity to mix the perfect shade of chartreuse on the daily.

This is not the case with mechanical engineering. The principles and practices that you learn in mechanical engineering courses will be reflected in your daily tasks, from getting to work (via car, bike or bus) to going to the gym (the elliptical machines or treadmills). One of the main goals of mechanical engineering (and modern life in general) is to make things easier.

You know how some kids take apart electronics when they were eight? That's likely the result of a deep curiosity to understand how and why things work…that, or a deeper, perhaps even primal instinct to destroy.

Let's go with the former.

These future engineers are in constant pursuit of the complicated answers to very simple questions, like "Why does the TV turn on when I hit this button?" or "What makes a car go?" or "How can I dump water on my sister without getting caught?" (The answer to the last question is an elaborate system of pulleys, by the way.)

Once mechanical engineering majors have gone to college and received their degree, they should have no fear of the "real world." Jobs are definitely available, even though the unemployment rate is right in the middle for college graduates. You might have to accept lower-level jobs for a while (giant robot boot-polishing, for instance), but once you get your career on track, you'll be on a good road.

Famous People who majored in Mechanical Engineering

  • Gordon Murray
  • Igor Sikorsky
  • Karl Benz
  • Thomas Midgley, Jr.
  • Bill Nye (The Science Guy)

Percentage of US students who major in Mechanical Engineering:


Stats obtained from this source.