Courses & Topics
Our mechanical engineering students gain a solid theoretical foundation of mathematics and science as the basis for their study of required technical courses in fluid mechanics, machine design, strength of materials, heat transfer and thermodynamics.
All mechanical engineering courses in this 132-credit program comprise both a lecture and a laboratory component.
Extensive hands-on experience in laboratories equipped to industry standards ensures that graduates of our program are intimately familiar with current technical practices and are able to apply theory to real-world situations.
Courses Focused on Energy and Efficiency
Graduates entering today's engineering workforce must have a clear vision of how our nation's energy needs will be met in a sustainable way. Recognizing that a combination of efficient production and efficient use of energy leads to needed reductions in carbon emissions, our Thermodynamics course is sharply focused upon this issue. The course drills deeply into the science of the following thermodynamic cycles.
- The Rankine Cycle - Using clean and abundant natural gas as a fuel, students learn how superheat, turbine reheat and feed water heating can all be used to increase thermal efficiency.
- The Brayton Cycle - Again in a quest for higher efficiency, students explore the effects of compressor intercooling, turbine reheat and regeneration.
- The Combined Brayton/Rankine Cycle - Using heat from the Brayton Cycle turbine exhaust, students raise super-heated steam for use in a Rankine Cycle. Power plan efficiency approaching 60 percent is achievable (compared to 38 percent for a stand-along Rankine Cycle).
- Solid Oxide Fuel Cells - This advanced technology can be used to generate electricity directly or in combination with a Brayton Cycle to yield a combined cycle efficiency of 65 percent.
In the Fluid Mechanics course, students explore the aerodynamics of wind turbines and the hydrodynamics of water turbines wind farms that have no carbon footprint and are becoming increasingly attractive. Hydroelectric plants are well established.
On the energy use side of the equation, students keenly focus on refrigeration and liquefaction. With regard to refrigeration we explore the basic vapor compression cycle along with its cascaded and dual compression variants. How do we make air into a liquid? This question is answered as students discover the workings of the Linde and Claude Cycles.
Review the recommended course sequence schedule for the mechanical engineering program.
FEA, ANSYS® and Pro/ENGINEER® Courses
Point Park devotes more credits to the understanding of the gold standard Finite Element Method/Analysis software than any other university in Pittsburgh. At Point Park, a comprehensive, three-credit FEA theory course is offered, allowing students to generate some of the algorithms used in commercial software.
This course is then immediately followed by a two-credit ANSYS® lab course taught by Peter Kohnke and assisted by Phillip Gertz, a 2016 mechanical engineering technology graduate. Kohnke is one of the original developers of ANSYS®.
Like FEA/ANSYS®, another important course at Point Park that equips mechanical engineering students for the workforce is Engineering Design Using Pro/ENGINEER®. Many employers will not consider an applicant if they do not have engineering experience with this type of software.
Building Professional Ties Through Real-World Projects
Our mechanical engineering program culminates in a two-course senior design experience in which students form interdisciplinary teams to propose, build and document real-world engineering projects ranging from software applications in design, evaluation and analysis to machine design in various applications.
Many of these projects are sponsored by local engineering firms who use the same engineering software as Point Park students and faculty. These partnerships lend a high level of accountability and realism to the experience and help students to build professional ties to potential employers.
In addition to meeting the general university admission criteria, applicants must meet the following program-specific requirements:
- Mathematics courses: A minimum of three years (three units) of college preparatory mathematics in high school, including geometry, algebra and trigonometry and providing sufficient background for the study of a first course in calculus or a minimum of five semester credits of course work in college-level algebra and trigonometry, providing sufficient background for the study of a first course in calculus.
- Natural science courses: A minimum of one year (one unit) of college preparatory physics or chemistry in high school or a minimum of six semester credits of introductory, algebra-based college-level physics or chemistry.
- Grades: An average of B or better in the mathematics courses specified above and an average of B or better in the natural science courses specified above.
Students who are not prepared to take Calculus I during their first term can still be admitted upon review by the mechanical engineering faculty with the understanding that they will need to take College Algebra (MATH 180) and Trigonometry (MATH 185) during their first year.
Subject to the review of the faculty, incoming transfer students may receive credit toward their degree for comparable course work taken at other institutions prior to matriculation at Point Park. Agreements with other local institutions also allow current Point Park students to register for courses that are offered elsewhere in the Pittsburgh area, giving them the opportunity to pursue subjects not taught on campus during a particular term.
Point Park University's Bachelor of Science degree program in mechanical engineering has been designed in full compliance with the criteria of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (www.abet.org). The program is not yet accredited by ABET because this organization does not accredit new programs until they produce graduates.
The faculty at Point Park intend for the mechanical engineering program to produce its first graduates in May 2019 and expect to receive accreditation in July 2020. This accreditation, once granted, will be applied retroactively by ABET for up to two years to ensure that all graduates hold a degree from an accredited program.
Mechanical engineers are among the most prolific, versatile and respected practitioners in the modern workplace, and a degree in mechanical engineering is among the most highly valued of all professional credentials.
Our degree program prepares graduates to work productively throughout the engineering enterprise and to further their education in master's and doctoral programs. It also provides graduates with excellent preparation for the study of law, medicine, business and other professions that demand both creativity and mathematically-based analytical skills.
Mechanical engineers assume a wide variety of positions in research, design, test, sales and support anywhere a mechanical mechanism (simple or complicated) is put to work for the good of society.
Areas of practice in mechanical engineering can include all environments, ranging from start-up firms to multinational corporations and government agencies, in fields such as:
- Power plants
- Auto industry
- Natural resources
- Hi-tech electronics
- Consumer products