Students who have not specialized in mechanical engineering as undergraduates, as well as those who have, may be admitted for graduate study. As preparation for advanced study and research, entering graduate students are expected to have a thorough background in undergraduate mathematics, physics, and engineering. An outstanding four-year undergraduate program in mathematics and sciences may provide a suitable background as well. The qualifications of each applicant will be considered individually, and, after being enrolled, the student will arrange his or her program in consultation with a member of the faculty.
In a typical year, between 250 and 300 applications for graduate study in MCE are received, and 25-30 offers of admission are made. Admissions decisions are made by the faculty, and are determined both by the research opportunities in the applicant's area of interest, and the competitiveness of the applicant's grades, class standing, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.
Mechanical and Civil Engineers shape our physical environment from the cities we live in, the machines we use, the way we travel, the energy that powers these to delivering the water we need. An integral part of Caltech for over a century, these disciplines have attracted exceptional individuals and addressed the critical technological challenges of the day. Our particular interests evolve with time, but our core mission of training the leaders of tomorrow and conducting fundamental research to address major technological roadblocks remains constant. Today, you will find students and faculty working on nanostructured fuel cells, study of earthquakes ranging from the source to their impact on buildings, active ferroelectric materials and devices, neural prosthetics, debris flows, response of structures against accidental explosion, water resources, efficient combustion processes, quantum mechanical origins of the strength of materials and design.
Our twenty-four faculty members enjoy exceptional visibility, have dynamic research programs and play leadership roles in the academic community. The research is highly interdisciplinary and often conducted in a collaborative atmosphere. Sixteen faculty members have joint appointments with other options on campus. We also enjoy close connections with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other National Laboratories, and technology industries.
We offer graduate programs in Applied Mechanics, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. The Mechanical Engineering program is currently ranked number four in the nation by the US News and World Report. Incoming graduate students come from the world's most prestigious universities and work one-on-one with a faculty mentor. Nearly all graduate students receive full financial aid for the duration of their studies.
We offer an ABET-accredited undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, and it is one of the most popular at Caltech. It combines a rigorous and fundamental coursework along with a number of options to undertake projects including the iconic Design Competition, Solar Decathlon, and research with faculty, JPL and industry.