Study Mechanical Engineering in the US

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By Oshitha Narangoda
Last updated on December 12, 2023

Our comprehensive guide to mechanical engineering subjects at US universities covers everything you need to know about pursuing a degree in the US, career prospects, and more.

A female international student wearing a hijab stands in front of a table with an electrical drill, tools, and papers and works on a hands-on mechanical engineering project with her professor at a US university

International students looking to study engineering in the US have limitless options that can transform their career prospects and future. Mechanical engineering is one of the fastest-growing, high-demand engineering professions in the US and globally. 

Ranked #5 in Best Engineering Jobs, employment opportunities for mechanical engineers are projected to increase by 10% from 2022 to 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A degree from this field of engineering can unlock a range of career possibilities, including developing in-demand skills, qualifying for the highest-paying roles, and much more. 

So, what is mechanical engineering? What is it like to pursue this type of degree as an undergraduate or graduate student in the US? What skills can you gain? Keep reading to find out! 

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

This field involves designing, building, developing, and testing power-producing machines, which may range from powerful satellites to sensors and switches. Mechanical engineers also are problem solvers, applying engineering solutions to meet human needs. 

Choosing the right degree program is important for acquiring the knowledge necessary to become industry-ready!

Curriculum may include subjects such as:

  • Design and manufacturing

  • Thermal sciences

  • Machine system and structures

  • Solid and fluid mechanics

What Skills Can You Gain with a Mechanical Engineering Degree?

Apart from the technical skills you will learn while pursuing this degree, you may also learn soft skills to stand apart from other industry professionals. These skills can be applied in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, transportation, automotive, aerospace, power generation, and more.

Key skills that engineering graduates in the US study, practice, and apply during their education include:

  • Technical

  • Leadership

  • Problem-solving

  • Creativity

  • Teamwork

  • Communication

Shorelight universities offer international students like you world-class engineering programs with a rewarding student experience. These programs focus on a student’s core skills in a supportive learning environment — both in and outside of the classroom.

Here are several prestigious engineering degree programs offered at Shorelight universities.

Auburn University — Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Ranked #93 among National Universities and #53 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report, Auburn University is recognized for its renowned academics and groundbreaking research activities. Auburn’s 73,000-strong alumni include Apple CEO Tim Cook, astronaut Jan Davis, and Kathryn Thornton, the second US woman to walk in space.

The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn offers undergraduate and graduate level qualifications with a student-centered engineering experience. 

With research partners such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Army Research Office, and many other notable institutions, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering provides opportunities for students to get involved in an innovative learning experience and network with industry experts.

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

The bachelor’s program at Auburn emphasizes transformative engineering principles and thorough knowledge in mathematics. Students can specialize in two areas:

  1. Automotive engineering — This specialization focuses on the design and efficiency of automobiles.

  2. Pulp and paper engineering — A concentration applying mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development, and manufacturing of pulp and paper products.

How To Apply

To be eligible for the bachelor’s program, you are required to submit the following documents along with your application:

  • ACT and/or SAT scores

  • TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores

  • High school transcripts

  • Proof of financial support

  • Bank letter

If you are an international student who requires additional language support, you have access to a wide range of programs and other resources to help you transfer with ease.

The bachelor’s program equips students with a broad skill set to confidently enter the workforce with above industry qualifications, or encourages them to acquire a master’s qualification in this field.

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

The master’s program offers advanced research and practical application in the field of engineering. Students can closely collaborate with faculty members at each learning stage — allowing you to conduct industry-leading research!

Auburn’s master’s program offers two options to choose from:

  • Online

  • On-campus

Applications must be submitted three months before the beginning of the course. To apply, you must meet the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree, or equivalent in mechanical engineering from an accredited university

  • A minimum GPA score of 3.0/4.0

  • GRE or TOEFL scores

Graduates with degrees from other STEM disciplines may have to complete an additional undergraduate course in this major (if required after faculty review). 

Studying at Auburn opens many important career-building opportunities, and connects the next generation of engineers with industry-leading professionals. With an engineering degree from Auburn, graduates bring innovation and discovery to the field. 

Gonzaga University 

Ranked #93 among National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, Gonzaga University offers top-ranked programs in engineering, computer science, and other STEM fields.

Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, ranked #23 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report, offers engineering degrees that prepare students for career opportunities across many industries.

The mechanical engineering lab and manufacturing process lab at the university’s Herak Center are equipped with advanced technology for creative space and learning. Additionally, coursework provides hands-on project opportunities through senior year.

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Gonzaga

The bachelor’s program at Gonzaga, accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, aims to develop a student’s core skills while fostering personal growth, all in the service of creating competent professionals.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science provides a direct admission for engineering programs. For the application process, you may be required to submit the following documents:

  • TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, iTEP, SAT, or ACT scores

  • High school transcripts including Grade Point Average (GPA)

  • Documentation displaying extracurricular activities

  • College essay

  • Proof of financial support

  • Bank letter

If you find navigating through the process challenging, don’t worry! Shorelight advisors are always here to support international students with their application process. 

University of the Pacific 

When it comes to engineering, the University of the Pacific is recognized as an institution that builds leaders. Prestigious University of the Pacific alumni include former NASA astronaut and American engineer José Moreno Hernández and wastewater expert George Tchobanoglous.

The University of the Pacific is ranked #49 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report and #18 among the top private colleges in the US for engineering salaries by the Wall Street Journal.

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Pacific’s bachelor’s curriculum focuses on machine systems and structures, robotics, and other related engineering disciplines, alongside humanistic, societal, and environmental topics. This enables students to have a broad understanding of the industry and its social impacts — and to launch their careers successfully.

To earn this degree at the University of the Pacific, you are required to submit the following documents with the application:

To learn more about advanced credit options, finances, English language proficiency, and more at the University of the Pacific, speak to a Shorelight advisor.

Earning an undergraduate or master’s degree in this engineering specialization at world-class universities in the US opens doors to countless opportunities for new graduates. Researching the universities that want to recruit international students like you, in addition to studying their various engineering degree offerings, can help you make the right decision and take the next step toward your dream career.

What Are Mechanical Engineering Careers?

A student with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in this field of study can discover a range of high-demand careers including:

  • Aerospace engineer

  • Automotive engineer

  • Contracting civil engineer

  • Control and instrumentation engineer

  • Maintenance engineer

  • Mechanical engineer

  • Nuclear engineer

  • Project manager

  • Robotic engineer

  • Structural engineer

  • Technology specialist

Don’t forget, even more career options are available for graduates due to the multidisciplinary nature of this field. Graduates also have the option to choose a specialization and even start their own company in research and development as entrepreneurs!

How Much Does a Mechanical Engineering Graduate Earn?

This field of engineering offers high earning potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mechanical engineers have a median annual wage of $96,310

Take a look at the table below to get an idea of how much an entry-level mechanical engineer may earn in the US and other selected countries in the world.


Average salary with an undergraduate degree


Average salary with a graduate degree



Average salary with an undergraduate degree


Average salary with a graduate degree



Average salary with an undergraduate degree


Average salary with a graduate degree



Average salary with an undergraduate degree


Average salary with a graduate degree


Source: Payscale, 2023

As one of the most versatile and sought-after programs, this specialized field of engineering offers transferable and marketable skills, a wide range of knowledge, and global opportunities. By earning an engineering degree from a US university, you can secure your future with various career options anywhere you want to work.

Shorelight advisors are always available to help you transfer to a top US university and pursue your degree in the US. 

Take the next step toward your engineering degree in the US today >