Undergraduate Program

STUDENTS

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering 

Mechanical Engineering is one of five departments within UCSB's world-renowned College of Engineering, a dynamic intellectual community with a commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and community service. We offer accredited programs with globally recognized faculty who bring excitement to education through their research and industry experience.

Since UCSB Engineering is a smaller college within the larger UCSB campus, we offer an excellent student to faculty ratio for engineering courses (about 9:1) while providing students with the services, programs, and opportunities of a larger campus. We offer the option of completing your BS and MS degrees in five years, participating in an Education Abroad Program, or supplementing your degree program with coursework in technology management. 

Combined 5-Year BS/MS Program

Our Fifth Year Combined BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering program at UC Santa Barbara seeks to prepare ambitious undergraduate students more deeply and broadly than the Bachelor's program alone. Learn more about the 5-Year BS/MS Program.

Why Choose UCSB Mechanical Engineering

Unparalleled academic and undergraduate research experiences. Faculty members who are at the top of their fields. Opportunity and momentum for your engineering career around every corner!

+ Download: 15 Reasons to Choose UCSB's College of Engineering. (PDF)

Program Overview

The undergraduate mechanical engineering program at UC Santa Barbara offers a balanced curriculum, including both theory and application. This includes preparation in basic science, math, computing and writing; a comprehensive set of engineering science and laboratory courses; and a series of engineering design courses starting in the freshman year and concluding with a three  quarter design course sequence in the senior year.

Our students gain hands-on expertise utilizing state-of-the-art tools for computational design, analysis and manufacturing that are increasingly used in industry, government and academic institutions. In addition, the Department has a 15-unit elective program that allows students to gain depth in areas listed below, while maintaining appropriate breadth in the basic STEM areas of the discipline.

As their engineering knowledge base expands, many junior and senior students participate in research and design projects sponsored by department faculty researchers. The senior Capstone Program provides seniors with a one-year long design project which emphasizes team-based engineering design work over a wide range of applications. The Capstone Program encompasses competition-based projects, such as mini-baja and supermileage vehicles, biomedical technology, aerospace, microdevices, and many other opportunities for students to focus their mechanical engineering education. The program has developed extensive partnerships with industry to emphasize entrepreneurial product-oriented projects, as well as fostering industrial mentorship of student efforts.

The undergraduate program in mechanical engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Learn more at abet.org.

Program Educational Objectives

It is the objective of the Mechanical Engineering Department to produce graduates who:

  • Successfully practice in either the traditional or the emerging technologies comprising mechanical engineering;
  • Are successful in a broad range of engineering graduate programs;
  • Have a solid background in the fundamentals of engineering allowing them to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering examination; and
  • Engage in life-long learning opportunities such as professional workshops and activity in professional societies.

In order to achieve these objectives, the Department of Mechanical Engineering is engaged in a very ambitious effort to lead the discipline in new directions that will be critical to the success of 21st century technologies.

While maintaining strong ties to stem areas of the discipline, we are developing completely new cross-cutting fields of science and engineering related to topics such as:

  • Microscale engineering and microelectrical-micromechanical systems;
  • Dynamics and controls and related areas of sensors, actuators and instrumentation;
  • Advanced composite materials and smart structures;
  • Computation, simulation and information science;
  • Advanced energy and transportation systems; and
  • Environmental monitoring, modeling and remediation.

The department offers an undergraduate B.S. program as well as graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. The department also offers a 5-year combined B.S./M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Bioengineering and Systems Biology

Computational Science and Engineering

Dynamic Systems, Control and Robotics

Micro and Nanoscale Engineering

Solid Mechanics, Materials and Structures

Thermal Sciences and Fluid Mechanics 

Student Outcomes

A graduate of the UCSB Mechanical Engineering B.S. program should:

  1. Possess a solid foundation in, and be able to apply the principles of, mathematics, science, and engineering to solve problems and have the ability to learn new skills relevant to the student's chosen career. 
  2. Have the ability to conduct and analyze data from experiments in dynamics, fluid dynamics, thermal science and materials, and should have been exposed to experimental design in at least one of these areas.
  3. Have experienced the use of current software in problem solving and design.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to design useful products, systems, and processes.
  5. Be able to work effectively on multidisciplinary teams.
  6. Have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities.
  7. Be able to write lab reports and design reports and give effective oral presentations.
  8. Have the broad background in the humanities and social sciences, which provides an awareness of contemporary issues and facilitates an understanding of the global and societal impact of engineering problems and solutions.
  9. Be a member of or participate in a professional society.

Academics

The curricula for all of the major areas emphasize education in broad principles and fundamentals. At the same time, programs of study and research are flexible and tailored to accommodate the individual needs and interests of the students. Interdisciplinary approaches are stressed, and students are encouraged to cross over traditional boundaries into other departments.

Preparation for Graduate Studies

Qualified undergraduate students who wish to pursue advanced engineering education may apply to enroll in UCSB Mechanical Engineering MS or PhD graduate programs. The Masters program is intended to extend and broaden the undergraduate background and/or equip practicing engineers with state-of-the-art knowledge in their field. The degree may be terminal or obtained on the way to the PhD. The PhD. program is designed to prepare students for careers in research and/or teaching in their area of specialization.

Academic Advising

In the first year, a member of the Mechanical Engineering faculty is assigned to all incoming students. During junior year, a faculty advisor is available to assist students in the selection of departmental elective courses and provides counseling to students on a variety of issues related to their academic experience. Individual faculty members are also available for help in program planning and professional development.

The Mechanical Engineering curriculum must require students to apply principles of engineering, basic science, and mathematics (including multivariate calculus and differential equations); to model, analyze, design, and realize physics systems, components or processes; and prepare students to work professionally in either thermal or mechanical systems while requiring topics in each area. Students may petition deviations from the published curriculum that meet university and ABET requirements. For more information please contact Katelynn Vargas (katelynn@engineering.ucsb.edu), the ME Undergraduate Advisor, or Dr. Paden, the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor.

A Mechanical Engineering departmental undergraduate advisor is also available to all students for help with academic issues and policies. Undergraduate counseling is provided by advisors in the Office of Undergraduate Studies of the College of Engineering. 

Honors Program

The College of Engineering invites approximately the top 10% of incoming freshmen into the College Honors Program based on a combination of high school GPA and SAT or ACT scores. (Please note: eligibility criteria are subject to change at any time.) Transfer students with a UC transferable GPA of 3.6 or greater are invited to join the Honors Program.  

Career Development

Mechanical engineering graduates at all levels are highly sought after by many industries, including automotive, aircraft, marine, defense, electronics, and materials manufacturing. UCSB and the College of Engineering offer a number of opportunities throughout the academic year to meet representatives from businesses looking to hire UCSB mechanical engineering grads, such as Intel, Sonos, and more. Learn more about career information sessions and STEM-major career fairs at UCSB.

A major in mechanical engineering may also serve as an appropriate part of the program of studies required for a California community college teaching credential. Students who wish to secure this credential should consult the designated advisor in the Graduate School of Education.

Research Opportunities

Upper-division undergraduates have opportunities to work in a research environment with faculty members who are conducting current research in the various fields of mechanical engineering.

Preparation for Graduate Studies

Our program is designed to give students ample preparation for advanced engineering graduate education and a career path in academia if they choose.