Main Highlight: Mechanical Engineering – Bwog

Editor Solomia Dzhaman presents Mechanical Engineering: the foremost for the engineer who likes a little bit of all the pieces.

So that you wish to be a Mechanical Engineer? Welcome to the good main SEAS has to supply. MechE is an extremely broad main, that offers you a superb “engineering basis” which you could apply to a whole lot of issues, and you may take a whole lot of locations. MechEs go on to do something and all the pieces: construct rockets, design the lenses in your telephone’s digital camera, mannequin the AC methods of a shopping center, create mass-manufacturing tools for rubber geese. Actually, any bodily object that you just work together with has a MechE connected to it. You actually can take it in no matter course you need, and alter paths pretty simply inside the engineering world.

MechE at Columbia is a vibrant, welcoming neighborhood. Our division is superb – professors care a lot about their college students, and the executive/advising staff within the division is implausible. College students are typically very well-connected, due to our comparatively small dimension (~50 folks in annually), and the truth that we take an ordinary set of programs. By junior 12 months, you could not personally know everybody, however no person is a complete stranger. The MechE neighborhood can also be aided by having a number of MechE-heavy golf equipment on campus: FSAE, CSI Rocketry, and Robotics. Many MechEs be part of one (or extra) of those golf equipment, and are in a position to pursue the issues they like doing, outdoors of sophistication. If you happen to select MechE, you positively received’t be left stranded.

Now, to the educational stuff:


Strap in, it’s SEAS, so it’s lots. The division maps out actually your total educational schedule for you, so save your electives, your path is fairly linear. Right here is the course schedule (that I annotated with some explanations), you’ll be able to “open picture in a brand new tab” to see it bigger. Taken from the SEAS Bulletin.

Usually, although, you’ve:

  • Common STEM Stuff: Columbia loves the core, together with the SEAS core. You’re going to should do a number of random STEM lessons (GenChem, Lab, Information Science, Intro to EE, and Intro Python/Java). There aren’t too many of those, however they’re all intro lessons, in order that they’re not tremendous enjoyable or participating. 
  • Math: You’re taking a superb quantity of math (Calc, Multi, Linear Algebra, ODE), which units you up properly to take your physics programs. 
  • Physics: Primarily based closely in mechanics, you are taking a whole lot of physics as a MechE, that’s simply the secret. 
    • Your lessons will embrace: Physics I, II, and III, Intro Mechanics, Strong Mechanics (“Solids”), Fluid Mechanics (“Fluids”), Thermodynamics (“Thermo”), Dynamics & Vibrations, Warmth Switch.
  • MechE programs: these focus largely on mechanical design and manufacturing. 
    • Your lessons will embrace: MechE Lab I and II, Pc Graphics and Design, Intro to Machining, Supplies and Processes in Manufacturing, Machine Design, Management Techniques, Senior Design I and II
  • Humanities: In fact, this may’t be Columbia and not using a bunch of random necessities. It’s a must to do a bit of the CC core: UW, ArtHum or MusicHum, CC or two International Cores, and PE. Additionally, for some purpose, Econ.

Overview of the Lessons:

There are such a lot of required ones, I’ll attempt to be transient the place I can. 

Earlier than we get into specifics although: MechE is a tough main. It’s a whole lot of work. Sadly, most of the lessons you are taking are going to be onerous and generally painful, that’s simply the best way it goes. However there are additionally gems right here and there, and as you undergo the foremost, you’ll uncover stuff you love, and notice that truly, this complete MechE factor is fairly cool. I assume all I’m saying is, don’t be discouraged by the extreme courseload. There’s no denying it’s powerful, and it appears tremendous daunting at first, however you discover your footing ultimately, and if you do discover topics you want, it’s actually rewarding.

Anyhow, the programs:

  • Math: All the mathematics lessons are fairly normal. Some you’ll discover personally tougher, some much less, and your math expertise largely is dependent upon the professors you select. Learn opinions! Take heed to your mates! Don’t take ODE with a nasty professor, you’ll a) not be taught ODEs and it’ll come again to hang-out you and b) hate your self.
  • GenChem, Physics I, II, III: These are all large lecture programs, the place you can be sitting in a room stuffed with different SEAS children and CC STEM majors. They’re boring, they’re tedious, and I’ll be sincere, you most likely received’t take a lot away from them. One of the best factor you are able to do is don’t slack, maintain your grades up, and use these lessons (and their necessary recitations) to fulfill folks. Research buddies are at all times good.
  • AOE: You understand it, you adore it. Hanging out with Vallancourt as soon as every week has by no means sounded so thrilling. 
  • Intro Python/Java: Precisely what it appears like: a category that teaches you the basics of a coding language from base 0. I might advocate taking Python, until you’re attempting to do a CS minor, during which case positively take Java (it’s a prereq for like, all the pieces CS). Regardless, figuring out how you can code  is tremendous helpful, and you have to a agency grasp on at the very least one language to achieve success in MechE, as a result of it comes up a good quantity. 
  • Intro EE: Be taught the fundamentals of circuits and circuit elements. You’ve most likely realized some of these things in physics in highschool, however the tempo will increase shortly. Make the most of workplace hours and be sure to don’t fall behind. This class additionally has a required lab part, so one night time every week from 6 to 9pm you can be fiddling round with wires and oscilloscopes within the EE instructing lab. 
  • Information Science: Principally, you get taught how you can manipulate information utilizing Python (and Pandas). It’s not tremendous riveting stuff, but it surely’s simple, and figuring out Pandas is definitely tremendous helpful, and a superb talent to placed on the ‘ol resume. 
  • Chem/Physics Lab: There may be some debate over which is the lesser of those two evils. My private opinion is that each are a whole lot of work, however Physics lab is worse. If you happen to can, take Chem lab, even should you didn’t actually like GenChem. It’s barely extra enjoyable, and higher taught. Both approach, you’ll discover ways to do experiments, error evaluation, and how you can write lab reviews. 
  • Mechanics: That is simply a median, run-of-the-mill statics class. Power diagrams! Woo! This can be a semester of drawing diagrams and doing power balances of issues that don’t transfer. Is it notably onerous? No. However do attempt to take it with a MechE professor, not a CivE, as a result of the CivEs are a lot harsher graders and usually extra…intense…as folks.
  • Solids: A category about beams. No, significantly. You’ll simply be analyzing alternative ways to use forces to a beam for a semester. Conceptually, it’s fairly easy, however Solids is the inspiration of a whole lot of engineering within the skilled world. Plenty of your technical interviews for jobs will take questions from Solids, so a method or one other, you’re going to have the ability to recite a stress-strain diagram in your sleep.
  • Fluids: How does fluid circulation? Apparently, in a whole lot of alternative ways. This can be a mechanics class, but it surely’s very completely different from the mechanics you’re most likely used to. It’s very closely primarily based in vector calculus, and usually requires a whole lot of sharp math expertise. I personally actually loved Fluids, it was certainly one of my favourite MechE lessons, and should you’re into the subject material it’s very rewarding.
  • Thermo: This class is all about heating and cooling cycles, and their effectivity. Additionally it is the bane of each* MechE’s existence. To be truthful, Thermo is a notoriously tough topic, each to be taught and to show, throughout all faculties. So it’s not simply Columbia Thermo that sucks. However yeah, this class sucks. Discover a research group you want, and get a replica of the textbook. This was most likely essentially the most time-consuming class of my faculty profession. (* perhaps there are folks on the market that understood, or perhaps even loved, this class, however I’ve but to fulfill them).
  • Warmth Switch: The physics of how warmth flows and temperature adjustments. You’d assume this could be a sequel to Thermo, but it surely’s really very completely different, and I might say builds extra on the ideas of Fluids. You’ll be taught all concerning the holy trinity: conduction, convection, and radiation. This can be a fairly simple class – you be taught a bunch of strategies to research warmth switch. 
  • Dynamics & Vibrations: Keep in mind Statics? Now what if as an alternative of being nonetheless, stuff moved? That is mainly a category about stuff that slides, rolls, shakes, and crashes. Conceptually, it’s pretty intuitive, however when it comes to problem-solving, it’s usually tough as a result of for the primary time, you need to take into consideration motion. This class is pretty tough, and might be the very best stage physics MechEs are required to take. It’s doable, and with sufficient work you’ll be wonderful, however it’s positively not simple. 
  • MechE Lab I: The primary half of the category is mainly a stats lecture class. The second half is studying to jot down conference-style analysis papers, by a sequence of straightforward experiments. It’s very chill and even enjoyable at instances – the ultimate mission is designing your personal experiment, and general you’ve a whole lot of freedom within the class.
  • MechE Lab II: For some purpose very completely different from Lab I. You get put into teams for the whole semester, and work on a brand new lab each two weeks, masking a spread of engineering matters, from a steam turbine to an Arduino. A bit of little bit of all the pieces right here, and it’s good to see a number of the ideas you research in physics lessons really performed out in actual life. 
  • Pc Graphics and Design: An intro to Solidworks. The category consists of a mixture of small weekly CAD assignments, together with two tasks. The midterm mission is to recreate an object in CAD, and the ultimate mission is to invent a product and make a CAD design of it. It’s fairly simple, not very onerous, and also you do find yourself studying Solidworks fairly properly. 
  • Intro to Machining: Learn to use all of the machines within the MechE Store! Milling, lathing, and numerous different energy instruments. Over the course of the category, you make just a little scissor jack, and that serves as your last mission. Once more, very simple, and pretty simple (until you procrastinate your mission and should do all of it last-minute). 
  • Supplies and Processes in Manufacturing: Half materials science, half manufacturing, this class is an introduction to the manufacturing course of. Find out about materials properties, and completely different manufacturing strategies. Not conceptually tough, however it’s simply a whole lot of data to retain.
  • Machine Design: An outline of design for manufacturing, and computer-aided evaluation of objects. You’ll be taught finite component evaluation, and mainly how you can simulate masses on components you design.
  • Controls: An introduction to classical management principle – primarily simply studying how you can mannequin completely different sorts of suggestions loops. You want a superb grasp on ODEs to know this class, however aside from that, it’s not a whole lot of math or physics, simply conceptual understanding. It’s a really distinctive class – very cerebral and theoretical, with not a whole lot of direct sensible utility at school.
  • Senior Design: That is the SEAS equal of a thesis. You get two semesters to provide you with, design, and create…a factor. It may be something (so long as it’s advanced sufficient), however actually, the sky is the restrict. Some folks use senior design to develop a component of a membership they’re in (CSI, FSAE, Robotics, and so forth). Some folks make a startup-style product. Some folks mannequin one thing. It truly is as much as you and your group. You have got a good quantity of steerage, and a sequence of “design opinions” that will help you alongside the best way.
  • Electives: You might be required to take three technical electives, two of which should be MechE programs. Most individuals use these to “specialize” inside a sure area of interest of Mechanical Engineering – robotics, manufacturing, bioengineering, no matter your coronary heart wishes. There are not any guidelines although, simply take lessons you assume you’ll like, or with professors you vibed with.

Division Publication:

As does each division, we’ve a publication. You’ll get emails on occasion, starting from division updates to job alternatives. Moreover, when you declare your main, you’ll be added to a Canvas class referred to as “MECE Profession Growth”, which is mainly an enormous MechE job board, each for jobs inside the faculty, and likewise for real-world profession alternatives. 

Making use of for the Main:

Nothing fancy, simply click on the button.

Final-Minute Suggestions:

  • Get as a lot of your normal necessities out of the best way as quickly as potential. Econ, EE, PE, International Cores, and so forth, get all of that carried out as quickly as you’ll be able to. Taking intro lessons is irritating, however sitting in a room stuffed with freshmen in your senior 12 months is way more irritating.
  • On an identical be aware, do your Tech Electives final. Till junior 12 months, when actual MechE coursework begins to choose up, you aren’t actually uncovered to a lot MechE material, so that you don’t know what you want but. You solely have room for a number of Tech Electives, so use them correctly, and don’t waste them on stuff you’re undecided about. Additionally, till about junior 12 months, you don’t even have a robust sufficient theoretical background to deal with a lot of the higher-level technical programs. You may’t take a 4000-level engineering course earlier than taking Linear Algebra. 
  • Make buddies within the main. And I don’t simply imply research buddies who you meet up with each week to test solutions with – make real buddies with the folks in your lessons. When it will get onerous, having folks you take pleasure in being round makes the grind a lot extra bearable, and even late nights learning might be enjoyable recollections with the precise folks.
  • I mentioned it above, however I’ll say it once more: our division has superb college. So work with them. If you happen to’re having bother, discuss to your professors. If you happen to like a category with a professor, take extra of their lessons. Ask them what their analysis is about. Chat with them within the elevators. They’re cool folks.
  • Doing analysis is very easy to arrange. I like to recommend attempting it out for at the very least a semester, simply to see if it’s your cup of tea. All you actually should do is discuss to a professor you want, or look out for these MECE Profession Growth job board bulletins. It’s easy, and also you acquire lots.

machines through Pixabay

SEAS Emblem through Columbia

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