A Message from the Department Head
Howdy! Welcome to Texas A&M University's Department of Mechanical Engineering! As you browse these pages, you'll discover that we have strong academic, research, and professional service programs. Our undergraduate and graduate students are provided an education, solidly based in the fundamentals, infused with creativity and innovation, and geared to instill a strong ethical responsibility commensurate with the engineering profession. They are well prepared to take a leadership role in industry and government when they leave our program.
Andreas A. Polycarpou, Ph.D., P.E.
Meinhard J. Kotzebue Professor
and Department Head
The department (2010) has approximately 1150 undergraduates and 410 graduate students, making us one of the largest mechanical engineering programs in the country. We award about 200 BSME degrees and 125 graduate degrees each year. Even though we are large, we still feel quality of education is important. In 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked our undergraduate program 14th nationally among all schools and 10th among publicly supported universities. Our ranking for our graduate program were 16th nationally among all schools and 9th among public universities. While we are pleased with our rankings, we are continually working to improve our undergraduate and graduate programs. Our high quality and substantial numbers of graduates generate strong interest and support from industries and employers from around the country. Our graduates are hired by a wide range of industries. Besides careers in industry, a number of our students go on to graduate, medical, dental, business, and law school. The department offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses. Prospective students should access our undergraduate or graduate web sites for more information.
Aggie mechanical engineering students have an opportunity to participate in a variety of international experiences. We have an ongoing exchange program with the University of Guanajuato in Guanajuato, Mexico. The College of Engineering also has a summer abroad program in Europe where students can take engineering classes taught by A&M instructors in countries such as Italy, Spain, or Germany. With the addition of our branch campus in Doha, Qatar, our students can spend a semester studying in the Middle East.
Our department has several active student societies including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Materials Advantage, and the Mechanical Engineering Honor Society, Pi Tau Sigma. Student societies have regular meetings, field trips to companies who hire our students, and participate in regional competitions/meetings.
We have been striving to improve the quality of our program by decreasing the student to faculty ratio. Over the past five years, we have hired 32 faculty new faculty who teach in both our undergraduate and graduate programs. We have grown from 45 tenure/tenure-track faculty in 2003 to over 60 in 2009. These faculty represent all major study areas of mechanical engineering. Our new faculty have brought expertise in non-traditional areas of mechanical engineering such as nano-materials, micro/nano-fluids, plasmas, and autonomous vehicles. Many of our faculty are registered Professional Engineers. Our faculty and student body come from all over the world. Three of our faculty hold the rank of “distinguished professor” at Texas A&M University. Many of our faculty are highly recognized in their fields and have earned numerous honors and awards by different engineering societies. Some of our faculty have served as presidents of national engineering societies. By the way, we’re continuing to hire faculty. Please check our web page for open positions.
Our faculty are very active in research and generating new engineering knowledge. With annual externally funded research expenditures exceeding $12.5 million, research support is derived from major federal research funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the State of Texas, and industry. The department has several large nationally recognized research laboratories in the areas of Turbomachinery, Energy Systems, and Polymer Technology. Other major research areas include:
- Combustion and IC Engines
- Heat transfer
- High temperature materials
- Fluid mechanics
- Composite materials
- Computational mechanics
Our research website provides you with access to our faculty and their research. As you look through our web site, you'll find information on our research programs and the faculty who work in these areas.
Our faculty publishes regularly in refereed archival journals and more than fifteen of them serve as editors or associate editors of these journals. Several faculty members are authors of engineering texts.
Fun things happen here, too. Our ASME student chapter sponsors an annual scholarship golf tournament each spring to help raise funding for scholarships. Companies find this tournament a great way to network with our students. Over the past decade, some of the SAE students have designed and built a vehicle for the Formula SAE Competitions. They have placed first in five of these competitions since 2000. The last two were in 2009 and 2011, when they won the Formula SAE Hybrid competition in New England. Several years ago, Road and Track retired their trophy here when our students won that performance competition at the Formula SAE three years in a row.
Every year, we also have our seniors work on “real world” design projects sponsored by a variety of companies such as 3M, FMC, Fluor, Haliburton, Lockheed Martin, and Shell. These projects range from fiber optic couplers, to control systems, to drilling equipment for use 3000 m below the ocean surface. Students must develop conceptual designs and in many cases, build a prototype. These designs can lead to a patent. Companies interested in participating can find more information on senior design program web site.
Whether you're a prospective undergraduate or graduate student, a faculty or staff member, a former student, or an industry advisor or recruiter from industry or government, you'll find that the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University is a great place. This web site tries to feature aspects that will interest most people, but if you don't find what you're looking for or if you'd like additional information, please contact me by mail, telephone, fax, or E-mail. I'll do my best to help you.
Andreas A. Polycarpou, Ph.D.
Department Head & Meinhard J. Kotzebue Professor
Office: 401 Mechanical Engineering Office Building
Phone: 979-845-5337 Fax: 979-845-3081