Technology and Engineering: Michigan State University


The scope and perspective of globalization happens to be changing rapidly and at the center of this change are technology and engineering products that drive this change. Continuous integration of the global markets also creates increased demand for engineered products in addition to the fact that it continuously helps in ensuring continued sharing of knowledge and skills in technology and engineering among other fields. Many high school dream of becoming part and parcel of this change. The dream can only come true if such students acquire the knowledge and skills from competent institutions of learning. This research paper recognizes the fact that many students out there may desire to join the global technology and engineering arena but they lack adequate information on what it takes to join the field. To address this problem, this paper will focus on providing relevant information by concentrating on a mechanical engineering academic and professional perspective from the Michigan State University.

Michigan State University

Nicknamed as Spartans, Michigan State University was founded in the year 1855 when it became the first institution of higher learning to introduce scientific agriculture in its curriculum. The institution was officially known as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. The institution rebranded several times depending on the developments of it curriculum at the time. Some of the notable names include Michigan Agricultural College in 1909 describing it as an institution that specifically focused on agricultural science. The institution rebranded to Michigan State University on January 1, 1964 thereby becoming a fully-fledged university. Over the years, the university has developed greatly to become a global leader in research with many recognitions for its continuous evolution of the academic programs, global outreach, and innovation. In 2014, the university was ranked at position 82 globally by the Times Higher Education in recognition of its contributions in teaching, research, and global presence. Mechanical engineering is one of the careers offered by MSU. This academic program if offered by the university’s college of engineering.


Mechanical Engineering

To begin with, mechanical engineering encompasses a wide array of disciplines ranging from the designing of products, development and building, and finally testing those products to ensure that they functions as intended. In other words, mechanical engineer deal with the creation of new ideas, concepts, and products which may range from engines and other machines such as thermal devices. These engineers work mostly in professional settings. This means that a mechanical engineer need not to be at a worksite and instead, the engineer is supposed to work on models from a professional perspective and then leaves the construction of the machines at the hands of technicians. However, this does not mean that the engineer will not be required in the field since his services may be needed for instance where a specific machine or equipment requires personal attention.

Practicing as a Mechanical Engineer

To practice as a mechanical engineer, one must have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. The degree covers a wide array of academic principles that from the basis of practice. The degree allows the engineer to work in engineering services including research and development companies and the government. In the United States however, most mechanical engineers work with manufacturing entities while other work to provide services to the general public through contracting and consultancy. To practice in the capacity of a consultant however requires the engineer to acquire certification from a registered and recognized regulatory authority. For employed mechanical engineers in the US, the average annual salary stood at $81,000 over the last two years. The United States Department of Labor also recorded that the jobs in this field are expected to have a constant growth of 5% over the next few years. However, the future of employment opportunities in the field stands to be brighter for the technologically savvy engineers thereby underscoring the contribution and revolution that has been brought about by technological advancement and increase in computing power.

Licensing and Certification

There exist established licensure for engineers who provide services to the public and private entities. In the United States, one has to undergo certification to designate them as professional engineers (PEs). The accreditation needs a degree from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)- Accredited Engineering program, working experience of up to 4 years, and ultimately passing a state exam. In case one wishes to advance, there is a plenty necessity to do so. It may be intended for the pursuit of broader educational mileages, research and development, a new technology, enhancing project management skills, and or managerial positions at workplaces.

Mechanical Engineering at MSU

Give the job opportunities and salary statistics above, mechanical engineering remains to be an attractive career for those who have the passion and the mettle to specialize in the technology and engineering field. Michigan State University has endure a long history of expertise and professionalism in mechanical engineering. This makes the university the most appropriate institution of learning. According to information published in the university’s website, the college of engineering works towards ensuring that the future engineers remain competitive by incorporating technology studies in the curriculum. The courses in technology get provided by the institution in addition to the normal programming at the college. Additionally, the college does not require any extra computer skills for the future engineers apart from the minimum computing skills required by Michigan State University.

Having introduced Michigan State University and the College of Engineering, it is then important to address the question on what is required for a student who is interested in joining the college to take mechanical engineering. MSU calls a mechanical engineer the edgy engineer. This is because the mechanical engineer probably has an edge over all other persons to join renowned multinationals such as Ford and GE. To become an edgy engineer therefore, the prospective student requires only to apply through the university’s website. Notably, the application is currently open for both undergraduate scholars and for the masters’ level students.

While the masters’ level students are required to apply directly to the college of engineering, the high school students must apply to the Michigan State University. This means that an application to the college of engineering definitely becomes an application to the MSU. The application requirements are similar for all students applying to the university. Once the student gets accepted to the university, the college specific requirements apply. This means that one can only join the college of engineering after qualifying in the initial step of joining the MSU.

Admission Requirements

There are college specific requirements for every college under the Michigan State University umbrella. For the college of engineering, the students are encouraged to be keen on science and mathematics. Specific areas of interest include the algebra, calculus, and trigonometry for mathematics. The areas are important because mechanical engineering requires a lot of drawing and designing of machines to be able to accomplish this purpose, the student must be well equipped with the relevant mathematical skills. After the designing of the machines then comes the operational part which requires knowledge in both chemistry and physics. In addition to the sciences and mathematics the student must be well versed with English and communication skills simply because the instructional materials at the university are presented in English while the interactions with the instructors and presentations require good communication skills.

Career Choices

After going through the four years course at MSU, the next course of action relates to finding a satisfying career. A degree in mechanical engineering is the pathway to developing into any of the specialization provided under mechanical engineering. Nonetheless, this is not the only choice. Students can always pursue a broader field in the mechanical engineering discipline or choose a more particularistic emphasis. According to the MSU official website, a graduate from the college of engineering with a degree in mechanical engineering can practice as a mechanical engineer, product engineer, systems engineer, powertrain engineer, or testing engineer. In addition to these, the graduate can take a career as a manufacturing engineer, a project engineer, or even get into research and development as a research and development engineer.

Women in engineering

Generally, engineering happens to attract more men than women. This is because of the presumed difficulty of the rigorous engineering but this puts women in a position where they are assumed to be incapable. Michigan State University recognizes this trend in the engineering field and additionally, the college of engineering encourages more applications from female students. This is in line with the affirmative action taken by various corporations including GE and Signode which reserve job positions for women in engineering and technology. To support this mission, the college provides equal opportunities for all applicants and also provides scholarship opportunities for ladies interested in pursuing mechanical engineering.

Lifestyle Associated With the Work

Mechanical Engineers draw ambient wages. In May 2012, the annual median salary was $80, 580. The incredible wages elicit a class lifestyle amongst mechanical engineers as the lowest percentile had earned more than $52, 000, with the top percentile making over $121, 530. Their distributions showed the following statistics by industry.

Median annual Wage

Work Suitability with Personality and Work Patterns

The study noted that a majority of acquired skills while on Campus continued to influence the engineers’ work fitness, personality, and work patterns. The following charts depict this. The figure shows that acquired technical skills were continually relevant to the field requirements. They are engineering principles, mathematics, technical limits, underlying principles and design realms.

Figure 2Engineering Abilities

Figure 2. Engineering Abilities

Also, the multidisciplinary abilities impacted significantly on the current field, work, and performance suitability.

Figure 3 Multidisciplinary Abilities

Figure 3. Multidisciplinary Abilities

The study’s respondents and information gathered illustrate that there is a significant relationship between team and career planning skills acquired in graduate school and the current job, field, and personal aspects. Graduates from Mechanical Engineering are more prepared to tackle teamwork and career planning concerns.

Figure 4 Team and Career Planning Abilities

Figure 4. Team and Career Planning Abilities

Further, in relation to communication skills, many graduates have significant levels of preparedness when it comes to addressing ethics, defending a point of view, presentations, and writing effectively.

Figure 5 Communication and Writing Abilities

Figure 5. Communication and Writing Abilities


In conclusion, this research paper sought to demystify mechanical engineering for high school students and graduates who are prospective engineers. Mechanical Engineering remains to be one of the most attractive careers in the larger technology and engineering field. One can acquire skills in this field by taking the course at the College of Engineering, Michigan State University. The institution provides equal opportunities to all students including international students with the female students also encouraged to join this male-dominated field.

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