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Engineering Schools Shift Focus to Collaboration

March 2, 2020
Mechanical engineering curriculums are changing. Take a look at these accredited institutions training the newest generations of engineers.

The need for mechanical engineers in all industries is expected to rise 4 percent by 2028, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, yet some industries could have a greater necessity. That is certainly the case for the HVAC sector.

A report written by Roma Agrawal and Susan Dumond, both of global infrastructure firm AECOM, discusses the urgent need to upskill the engineers of today and attract the engineers of tomorrow to keep pace with the rate of technological innovation. The report — Skills 2030: Securing the Talent to Build our Future Infrastructure — also discusses the changing tide in engineering education.

“On campuses across the world, there’s a revolution taking place in engineering education,” the report says. “The aim is to replicate the professional environment and practical challenges modern engineers will face in their careers every day, as closely as possible. … [T]his includes giving students more opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams tackling real-world problems.”

Here, we’ve culled through dozens of respected programs nationally to present a representative list of schools with MCAA and/or ASHRAE affiliations that have embraced the “revolution” to prepare graduates for successful careers as 21st-century engineers.


1. Auburn University
Auburn, AL; 334-844-2308;

Mechanical Engineering: Specially designed to assure all bachelor degree students have demonstrated capabilities in the core mechanical engineering topics including statics, dynamics, thermodynamics, mechanical design, computer-aided engineering, heat transfer, mechanical measurements, and system dynamics/controls. Accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Graduate degrees offered.


2. University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK; 907-474-7136, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Bachelor’s degree program incorporates studies for a variety of careers, including HVAC: thermodynamics, computer-aided design, finite element analysis, nanotechnology, statics, dynamics, mathematics, fluid mechanics and the environment. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


3. Arizona State University, Tempe
Tempe, AZ; 480-965-2335, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Bachelor’s degree curriculum includes the study of the principles governing energy transfer, mechanical design, sensors and control devices, and the application of these principles to the creative solution of practical, modern problems. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


4. California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA; 805-756-1334, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Bachelor’s degree curriculum includes a broad spectrum of courses in general and mechanical engineering topics as well as an in-depth understanding of physics, math and materials. Students can choose the HVAC & R concentration, which focuses on the design of mechanical systems for commercial and industrial buildings. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

5. California State University, Chico
Chico, CA; 530-898-5346, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Includes the study of applied mechanics, thermal-fluid systems, and automation. The graduate is prepared to analyze and design complex mechanical systems involving all three areas. The degree is a general one with an elective allowing for a modest degree of specialization. ABET-accredited.

6. California State University, SacramentoSacramento, CA; 916-278-6624, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Bachelor’s degree program includes courses on design, thermal sciences, manufacturing, properties, and selection of materials, and computer applications related to these topics. Balancing fundamentals, analytical methods, and design applications, the program prepares graduates for long-term engineering careers. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

7. University of Southern California
Los Angeles;

Mechanical Engineering: The program leading to a bachelor’s degree requires students to apply principles of engineering, basic science and mathematics (including multivariate calculus and differential equations); to model, analyze, design and realize physical systems, components or processes; and prepares students to work professionally in both thermal and mechanical systems areas. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


8. Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO; 970-491-3587, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Students take basic science and mathematics courses while beginning their engineering studies in design and computing. The senior year focuses on a year-long design course to help students transition from college to an engineering career. Participation in labs further develops design, modeling, and analysis skills.


9. Florida International University
Miami, FL; 305-348-4183, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The bachelor’s degree program is designed to give the student a thorough understanding of the fundamental laws of science in any of the following areas: fluid/thermal science, mechanics materials and design, or design, robotics and manufacturing. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

10. University of Florida
Gainesville, FL; 352-392-0961;

Mechanical Engineering: The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering administers the bachelor’s degree program. It is home to about 1,600 undergraduate students, with about 70 percent majoring in mechanical engineering. Graduate degrees offered.


11. Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta; 404.894.3203, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The bachelor’s degree curriculum comprises a core of fundamental concepts, plus a design/professional-practice stem, plus 15 credit hours of free electives. The program prepares students to be problem solvers and to contribute to a wide range of industries and businesses. There is a strong emphasis in the program on design, creativity and hands-on learning. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

12. Kennesaw State University
Marietta, GA; 470-578-2737,
[email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The mechanical engineering degree program focuses on the application of the principles of mechanics and materials to design machines and devices. Graduates will be required to master technical elements and to demonstrate particular competence in the areas of communication, fiscal management, and project control. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


13. Boise State University
Boise, ID; 208-426-4078,
[email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The bachelor’s degree program is designed to be a dynamic experience where students gain solid foundations in engineering principles while getting the hands-on skills that make engineering real. The curriculum was carefully developed with input from engineering professionals to provide a sound foundation in basic engineering while enabling students to specialize in diverse topics. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


14. Bradley University

Peoria, IL; 309-677-2711, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The undergraduate degree gives students the flexibility to gain a broad background or develop specialized knowledge in energy systems. The degree is capped by a year-long team senior project in which students develop a product or solution for a local or regional company. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

15. Illinois State University
Normal, IL; 309-438-3661;

Engineering Technology: An applied program that allows students to explore the integration of engineering principles and modern technology. The courses focus on the management of people, processes, and materials through hands-on, application-oriented activities.

16. Western Illinois University
Macomb, IL; 309-762-9481, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The bachelor’s program builds upon a foundation of solid mechanics, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. The degree offers areas of emphasis in design engineering, manufacturing engineering and robotics engineering. ABET-accredited.


17. Indiana State University
Terre Haute, IN; [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering Technology: The bachelor’s program focuses on engineering design (mechanical design), analysis, management and manufacturing to prepare students for technical and managerial positions in a variety of industries. Students develop hands-on experience and technical problem-solving skills with state-of-the-art CAD/CAE technologies. ABET-accredited.

 18. Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN; 765-494-6900, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The First-Year Engineering Program provides students with a firm foundation and initial understanding of engineering and career options to assist them in identifying which of Purdue’s engineering disciplines is the right fitThis core curriculum includes courses in math, chemistry, physics, computer programming, and communication skills, as well as introductory engineering coursework. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


19. Iowa State University
Ames, IA; 515-294-2140, [email protected];

Construction Engineering: The bachelor’s degree curriculum blends engineering, management and business sciences into the study of the processes of construction whereby designers’ plans and specifications are converted into physical structures and facilities. ABET-accredited.


20. Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS; 785-532-5964, [email protected];

Architectural Engineering: This bachelor’s degree program integrates an engineering program with building systems courses. This course of study provides the theoretical tools required for engineering design and the ability to apply these tools to architectural structures to provide a completely functional building. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

21. Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg, KS; 620-235-4350;

Mechanical Engineering Technology: This bachelor’s degree program provides educational experiences to prepare students for a broad range of technical positions throughout manufacturing enterprises that require people with strong mechanically oriented backgrounds. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


22. University of Maryland,

Baltimore County
Baltimore, MD; 410-455-1965, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Undergraduate students begin their studies by acquiring a solid foundation in mathematics, physics and design. Higher-level courses cover the fundamental principles in the areas of solid mechanics, thermofluids and design and manufacturing systems. Laboratory and elective courses allow students to test these principles and apply them individually and as teams in projects that involve design challenges. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


23. Northeastern University
Boston; 617-373-2740, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The bachelor’s degree program focuses on three main areas: applied mechanics, thermofluids engineering and materials science. These courses prepare students for practical application in advanced analytical and creative design courses that ultimately culminate in a hands-on, industry-based capstone project.

24. Wentworth Institute of Technology
Boston; 617-989-4240, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Key elements of this bachelor’s degree program include a curriculum with open-ended team-based design problems, including interdisciplinary collaborations. It integrates applied engineering design and extensive use of industry-relevant software with a curriculum that parallels industrial challenges and changes.


25. Ferris State University
Big Rapids, MI; 231-591-2695, [email protected];

HVAC Engineering Technology and Energy Management: This bachelor’s degree program prepares students to work for mechanical or building automation control contractors, mechanical engineering companies, HVACR manufacturers and other related companies associated with the HVACR industry. In addition to classroom study, students perform energy and HVACR systems analysis for West Michigan businesses and industries.

26. Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI; 517-355-5131;

Mechanical Engineering: In the undergraduate curriculum, students learn to integrate individual mastery with teamwork-based solutions to open-ended design problems and practical engineering experiences. Students with the energy concentration will gain a more thorough understanding of the analytical, computational and experimental methods for developing means to convert energy to useful forms from various sources. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


27. Missouri State University
Springfield, MO; 417-837-2315;

Mechanical Engineering: The bachelor’s degree program focuses on the scientific essentials of engineering and its real-world applications. The underlying theme of this educational program is the application of scientific basics to engineering practice through attention to problems and needs of the public. ABET-accredited.

28. University of Missouri, Columbia
Columbia, MO; 573-882-4375, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: This bachelor’s degree program involves coursework in general education, mathematics and science, basic engineering and mechanical engineering.  Required courses in math and science, basic engineering, and mechanical engineering make up the majority of these credit hours. However, each student has the freedom to select general education courses and elective courses in mechanical engineering. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


29. University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Lincoln, NE;

Architectural Engineering: The Durham School’s five-year program, one of only a few in the nation, combines a bachelor’s and master’s degree into five years of schooling so students graduate with a master’s degree.  ABET-accredited. 


30. Fairleigh Dickinson University
Teaneck, NJ; 201-592-2324;

Mechanical Engineering Technology: The undergraduate program prepares students to apply the principles of mechanics and energy to the design, manufacturing and operation of machinery and other mechanical devices. Employment opportunities are in HVAC, power generation, process control, manufacturing, quality assurance and reliability testing, test and field services, among others. ABET-accredited.


31. Alfred State College

Alfred, NY; 607-587-4617, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering Technology: Graduates of this bachelor’s degree program will be well-prepared to work in engineering-related areas, including HVAC, automotive component design, process and component, and technical support and sales. Broad content exposure occurs through the development of analytical skills and theory in the classroom and experience working with engines, complete energy systems, compressors, fans, pumps, controls, instrumentation, engineering graphics and material testing. ABET-accredited.


32. Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH; 419-372-2439, [email protected];

Engineering Technology: The engineering technology program has a hands-on curriculum that introduces students to an industry-oriented cooperative education. This allows students the opportunity to work as a member of a team while gaining transferable skills and research knowledge. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

33. Kent State University
Kent, OH; 330-672-2892, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering Technology: The undergraduate program teaches design, operation, installation, maintenance and analysis of machinery. The program prepares students to become highly technical professionals in current and emerging fields using mechanical and computer-aided engineering. Accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.

34. University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati; 513-556-5417, [email protected];

Architectural Engineering: Undergraduate students will take courses covering the theory, design and technical aspects of critical busing designs, such as structural system, the HVAC systems, as well as electrical, lighting, plumbing and fire protection systems through studio and lab experiences. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

35. University of Toledo
Toledo, OH;

Mechanical Engineering: This 4 1/2-year bachelor’s degree program includes a mandatory co-op program. Mechanical engineering students graduate with a year of real-work experience and often with full-time job offers. Students get real-world design experience they need to be competitive in the job market through freshman design projects and a senior design capstone course. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


36. Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR; 541-737-7009, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Core coursework for this undergraduate degree includes fluid science, thermodynamics, materials, dynamics and design. Mechanical engineering focal areas include design, mechanics materials, robotics and control, and thermal–fluid sciences. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


37. Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA; 814-865-6394;

Architectural Engineering: The undergraduate program consists of classroom, studio and extracurricular activities, which will provide each graduate with the ability to practice as a registered professional engineer in one of a variety of areas relating to the planning, design, construction and operation of buildings. Students in the mechanical option combine a strong background in building systems with mechanical engineering fundamentals to provide quality indoor environments for people, including thermal (HVAC) and acoustical comfort. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

38. Robert Morris University
Moon Township, PA;

Mechanical Engineering: The engineering with a mechanical engineering concentration undergraduate program applies the principles of mathematics, physics and related engineering sciences to the design and analysis of HVAC systems, automobiles, aircraft, buildings and bridges, industrial equipment and machinery and medical devices. Students learn concepts of energy conversion, fuel and combustion technologies, and noise control and acoustics. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


39. Roger Williams University
Bristol, RI; 401-254-3064,
[email protected];

Engineering: The engineering program is unique in its structure. It is a broad, liberal arts-infused foundation of math, science and engineering layered with in-depth specialization in civil, computer, electrical or mechanical engineering or a customized study. The mechanical engineering specialization encompasses the research, design, manufacturing and maintenance of mechanical systems. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


40. Texas A&M University
College Station, TX; 979-845-1251, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The freshman year curriculum is identical for most engineering undergraduate degree programs. The mechanical engineering curriculum consists of basic theory courses complemented by laboratory experiences in dynamic systems and controls, design, experimentation, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, manufacturing and materials. Elective courses are offered in several areas, including air conditioning. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


41. Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Blacksburg, VA; 540-231-7183;

Mechanical Engineering: The curriculum provides a strong fundamental background in the engineering sciences as well as mathematics, statistics, thermal-fluid engineering, vibrations and controls, and mechanical design. Instructional laboratories and design courses strengthen this background. Graduate degrees offered.


42. Central Washington University
Ellensburg, WA; 509-963-1756, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering Technology: Undergraduate students are involved with three broad categories of study: energy, structures and motion in mechanical systems and manufacturing. The energy field consists of the production and transfer of energy and the conversion of one form to another. Specific areas include refrigeration and air conditioning, solar and wind energy production, and energy-generating power plants. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

43. University of Washington
Seattle; 206-543-5090;

Mechanical Engineering: Undergraduate students complete distribution requirements and engineering fundamentals outside the department, in addition to core mechanical engineering courses and mechanical engineering option courses. Students must complete a senior design project; they can select a project topic based on their interests. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

44. Washington State University
Pullman, WA; 509-335-8582, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The mechanical engineering program is particularly strong in controls, mechanical design and thermal design, among others. Highly qualified mechanical engineering students can apply for a program to earn graduate degree credit while working on their bachelor’s degree. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.


45. Milwaukee School of Engineering
Milwaukee; 414-277-7302, [email protected];

Architectural Engineering: Lecture and laboratory courses integrate theory and practical application. Undergraduate students choose from three specialties: building electrical systems, building mechanical systems or building structural systems. With a building mechanical systems specialty, students study the design aspects of all building HVAC, plumbing and control systems. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

46. University of Wisconsin, Madison 
Madison, WI; 608-262-3543, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: Because of the breadth of topics covered in the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum, there is a large selection of technical electives students can take senior year, such as energy topics.  Also, a variety of industry-sponsored projects form the basis of the year-long capstone design experience. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

47. University of Wisconsin,

Platteville, WI; 608-342-1651,
[email protected];

Engineering Physics: The undergraduate program combines elements of mechanical and electrical engineering with advanced coursework in applied physics. Engineering physics graduates focus on creating and optimizing engineering solutions through enhanced knowledge and integrated application of math, science, and engineering principles. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.

48. University of Wisconsin, Stout
Menomonie, WI; 715-232-1462, [email protected];

Mechanical Engineering: The undergraduate curriculum includes mechanics, kinematics, thermal and fluid sciences, materials science, structural analysis and electronics. ABET-accredited. Graduate degrees offered.