Mechanical Engineering

Department Head: Gang Chen | Email | WebsiteGive to MIT

77 Massachusetts Ave. • 3-173 • Cambridge, MA 02139 • (617) 253-2201

Associate Head: John Leonard • 5-214 •  (617) 253-5305

Associate Head: Anette (Peko) Hosoi • 3-262 • (617) 253-4337

MIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department addresses the world’s most pressing needs and concerns, from renewable energy to extraterrestrial and undersea exploration. Our students and faculty are involved in areas ranging from the detection of precancerous events in the human body to the desalinization of sea water, from the design of low-cost radio-frequency identification chips to the fabrication of 3-D nanostructures from 2-D substrates. The department conducts research in seven principal areas:


Modeling, experimentation, and computation (MMEC) advances the formulation of physical and mathematical theories for representing the thermo-mechanical response of natural and engineering materials (solids and fluids) at the nano-, micro-, and macro-scales using modeling, experimentation, and computational methodologies. Develops computational tools for the robust design and optimization of the variety of thermo-mechanically coupled processes used to manufacture components and devices from these materials

Design, Manufacturing, and Product Development

Advances the designs and methods used to manufacture products, from nanopositioning equipment to precision consumer products

Controls, instrumentation, and Robotics

Improves automated systems and the robotic technologies used in medicine and in space and sea exploration

Energy Science and Engineering

Fundamental and applied research in thermodynamics; reactive flows and combustion; heat and mass transport; micro and nanotechnologies; batteries, fuel cells and electrochemistry; photovoltaics; off-shore wind energy; engines and transportation; cryogenics; efficient buildings; high efficiency low emission systems; CO2 capture; and renewable energy

Ocean Science and Engineering

Areas from the study of vortex-induced vibrations to the design of ships and offshore structures


Development of new technologies to treat and diagnose diseases and disabilities, measure the mechanical properties of cells and molecules, and enhance human-machine interaction

Nano/micro Science and Technology

Design of products at the nano and micro scale with far-reaching applications.


MECHE students find extensive opportunities to engage in advanced research, collaborate with faculty and colleagues, and grow as engineers, researchers, and innovators. Degree options include:

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Students in this program complete advanced study and a major thesis of original research, development, or design, performed under the supervision of a faculty or research staff member. Students usually spend as much time on thesis work as on coursework. This degree typically takes one and one-half to two years to complete.

Master of Science in Ocean Engineering

The curriculum leading to an SM in ocean engineering assumes that students have broad working knowledge in engineering. Graduates of this program are interested in developing the ocean for the good of humanity and are prepared to use whatever engineering disciplines necessary to address problems.

Master of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

This program covers all aspects of waterborne vehicles operating on, below, or just above the sea surface and is intended for individuals planning to specialize in the design of waterborne vehicles and/or their subsystems.

Master of Science in Oceanographic Engineering

To complete this joint program with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), students study and conduct research on the campuses of MIT and WHOI. Students are advised by an MIT faculty member, but may conduct their thesis research under the supervision of MIT or WHOI faculty. While in residence at MIT, students follow a program similar to that of other master’s students in the department.

Master of Engineering in Manufacturing

This 12-month professional degree program prepares students to assume technical leadership in an existing or emerging manufacturing company. Students must complete a highly integrated set of projects that cover the process, product, system, and business aspects of manufacturing, as well as a group-based thesis project.

Mechanical Engineer’s Degree

This program provides an opportunity for further study beyond the master’s level for those who wish to enter engineering practice rather than conduct further research. This degree emphasizes breadth of knowledge in mechanical engineering and its economic and social implications. It is distinct from the PhD program, which emphasizes depth and originality of research. The engineer’s degree requires a broad program of advanced coursework and an applications-oriented thesis, and typically requires at least one year of study beyond the master’s degree.

Naval Engineer’s Degree

This program provides U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard officers, foreign naval officers, and civilian students interested in ships and ship design with a broad graduate-level engineering education for careers as professional naval engineers. Completion of the degree requires a higher level and significantly broader range of professional competence in engineering than is required for an SM in naval architecture and marine engineering or ocean engineering.

Doctoral Degree

The PhD and ScD degrees are awarded upon the completion of a program of advanced study in the student’s principal area of interest, a minor program of study in another field, and a thesis of significant original research, design, or development. Doctoral degrees are offered in all areas represented by the department’s faculty. The department also offers a joint PhD in Oceanographic Engineering with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Our undergraduate programs combine a broad-based education in the engineering sciences with a strong grounding in quantitative, problem-solving, design, and communications skills. By emphasizing both analytical and creative methods, MechE prepares students for careers as engineers and entrepreneurs, and provides the foundation for graduate programs in medicine, business, or law. Degree options include:

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

This program fosters a broad intellectual foundation in mechanical engineering, preparing students to work in a range of fields. Students learn fundamental engineering concepts and the methods and techniques used in engineering practice, and they have the opportunity to apply what they learn in laboratory and real-world settings.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering as recommended by the Department of Mechanical Engineering

This program is designed for students whose career objectives require greater flexibility than our traditional mechanical engineering program affords. Students combine the essential elements of the traditional program with study in a complementary field such as robotics, bioengineering and pre-medicine, product development, energy conversion engineering, engineering management, and sustainable development.

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering

Students in this program learn essential engineering concepts and skills related to ocean science, exploration, transportation, defense, and resource extraction. Theory and computation of ocean systems are covered in a number of courses, complementing a rigorous mechanical engineering program. A hands-on capstone design class enables students to master the design of advanced marine systems, including autonomous underwater vehicles and smart sensors.