Degrees Offered

Undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering Rice University can lead to careers that focus on a diverse set of areas, including aerospace engineering, biomedical systems, computational fluid dynamics, computational mechanics, fluids-thermal science, mechanical design, mechanics, robotics, systems dynamics, and controls.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers two undergraduate degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Mechanical Engineering is a flexible program for students looking to pursue areas of interest outside of engineering.
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering prepares students for the professional practice of engineering or a career in academia.

BA with a Major in Mechanical Engineering

The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Mechanical Engineering is highly flexible, involves less technical content than the BS degree, and allows students greater freedom to pursue areas of interest outside of engineering. This program is recommended for students who may pursue medical or law degrees following their undergraduate education, and therefore need to take additional prerequisite classes for those professional postgraduate programs.

Learn more about the BA degree and requirements.

BS in Mechanical Engineering

Our ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree program prepares students for the professional practice of engineering. During their senior year, our BS students take courses in design applications while completing a major design project. Students who plan to work as licensed professional engineers or pursue graduate degrees in the discipline are encouraged to pursue the BS.

Learn more about the BSME degree and requirements.

Looking to apply to our BS Program? Complete this form.

Areas of Specialization

When students declare the major associated with the BSME degree, students must additionally identify and declare one of four areas of specialization, either in:

  • Computational Engineering: covers the tools need to simulate and study a range of systems, both fluidic and solid, and to make predictions about behavior and performance of those systems; or
  • Mechanics/Dynamics: provides a background in the fundamentals of solid interactions and control systems, and is highly relevant in areas such as robotics, solid mechanics, and tissue mechanics; or
  • Thermal Fluids: integrates topics from thermodynamics, fluids, and heat transfer to study renewable and conventional energy systems, aerospace/aeronautics, and surface interactions; or
  • Breadth in Mechanical Engineering: encompasses concepts from across the areas of specialization to prepare students for working in cross-cutting fields.

Sample Plans of Study

These potential plans of study are samples only, devised to give students an idea of what the curriculum could look like for a student in our BS and BA programs. Students should speak with an advisor to design a degree plan that fits their needs:

To view course descriptions, visit the university Course Catalog.

Apply to Rice

All prospective undergraduate students should apply through Rice University's Office of Admission. They can also help you schedule a visit to campus.

Learn more about how to Apply to Rice University.