What is Mechanical & Industrial Engineering?

Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Department


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Alison Hoxie with student

One of our students Luc Desroches works with Assistant Professor Alison Hoxie to solve a problem in one of our active learning classrooms.

What is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineers are especially creative professionals that deal with the design, development, and production of mechanical systems. One of the broadest forms of engineering, mechanical engineers have little problem finding job opportunities.

What is Industrial Engineering?

Industrial engineers make integral choices in both engineering and business settings. Involved in critical decisions like creating maximum efficiency in the manufacturing process, cost analysis, quality control, and the optimization of employee productivity. Industrial engineers are vital to business.

What does a Mechanical Engineer do?

  • Analyzes problems and systems to identify how mechanical or thermal devices can solve a problem
  • Uses computer aided design to create mechanical devices or subsystems
  • Analyzes and tests designs or systems 
  • Oversees manufacturing processes
  • Develops and tests prototypes of devices they design

What does an Industrial Engineer do?

  • Reviews production processes, engineering specifications, and other information to construct more efficient methods
  • Figures out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Establishes quality control procedures to minimize production costs and resolve any problems with current procedures 
  • Advises clients on product specifications and manufacturing capabilities
  • Interacts with vendors, staff, and management
  • Develops control systems to streamline financial planning and cost analysis

How do I know if Mechanical or Industrial Engineering are right for me?

Are you a creative thinker? Do you enjoy problem solving? Do you work well in teams? Do you enjoy math & science?

As an engineer you are constantly learning new things, teaching yourself new things, and researching new things. A desire to learn is very important because of the ever changing research in these fields. Engineers not only need to be good at problem solving, but they also need to have effective technical skills, and well developed communication skills.

Students in our Mechanical & Industrial Engineering programs, are encouraged to get involved with our campus engineering clubs. Students here have many opportunities to be part of award winning design teams, work on projects from start to finish, assist with outreach efforts and network with alumni.

We do our best to help students develop the skills that essential to success in the job market.

Career opportunities 

Mechanical & Industrial Engineering graduates are qualified for employment in a wide variety of organizations, both public and private. For example, recent graduates have taken positions with the following: Apple, Altec, Amsoil, Boston Scientific, Cirrus, Honeywell, Northern Tool, St. Jude Medical, Target Corp., Tundra Innovations and the United States Air Force.

UMD's most recent graduate follow-up report for Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering majors shows 92% and 100% placement rates, respectively, for our graduates. That means that almost everyone finishing our programs either finds a career or is enrolled in graduate school soon after graduation.