Select Page

Department Overview

The Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department has been in existence as a separate entity since 1984. It has a faculty of 34 full-time professors, all of whom serve as advisers or instructors to our 629 undergraduate and 351 graduate students. All our faculty are engaged in research projects, usually externally funded, that produce leading contributions to engineering and science.

UCLA, one of the nine campuses that form the University of California, ranks among the leading universities in the United States. Student enrollment is about 40,000. Many undergraduates and a few graduate students commute from their homes; others live in apartments nearby or in the University dormitories on campus. Extensive programs for cultural events are presented on campus, and there are recreational facilities of all kinds available through the University.


Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers conceive, design, develop, test, and supervise the construction of aerospace vehicle systems such as commercial and military aircraft, helicopters, and other types of rotorcraft, as well as space vehicles and satellites, including launch systems. Aerospace engineers are employed by aerospace companies, airframe and engine manufacturers, government agencies such as NASA, the military services, and research and development organizations.

The aerospace industry is a high-technology activity, and aerospace engineers are generally well versed in applied mathematics and the fundamental engineering sciences, particularly fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, dynamics and control, and structural and solid mechanics. Aerospace vehicles are complex systems, and their proper design and construction involves the coordinated application of several technical disciplines, including aerodynamics, structural analysis and design, stability and control, aeroelasticity, performance analysis, and propulsion systems technology.

Aerospace engineers make extensive use of computer systems and programs and should have at least an elementary understanding of modern electronics. Aerospace engineers work in a challenging and highly technical professional atmosphere and are likely to operate at the forefront of scientific discoveries, often stimulating these discoveries and providing the inspiration for the creation of new scientific concepts.

The B.S. program in Aerospace Engineering emphasizes fundamental disciplines, and it therefore provides a solid base for professional career development in the aerospace industry and graduate study in aerospace engineering. Graduate education, primarily at the Ph.D. level, provides a strong background for employment by government laboratories, such as NASA, and industrial research laboratories supported by the major aerospace companies. It also provides the appropriate background for academic careers.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is a broad discipline finding application in virtually all industries and manufactured products. The mechanical engineer applies principles of mechanics, dynamics, and energy transfer to the design, analysis, testing, and manufacture of consumer and industrial products. A mechanical engineer usually has specialized knowledge in areas such as design, materials, fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, dynamics, control systems, manufacturing methods, and human factors. Applications of mechanical engineering include design of machines used in manufacturing and processing industries, mechanical components of electronic and data processing equipment, engines and power-generating equipment, components and vehicles for land, sea, air, and space, and artificial components for the human body. Mechanical engineers are employed throughout the engineering community as individual consultants in small firms providing specialized products or services, as designers and managers in large corporations, and as public officials in government agencies.

The mechanical engineer with specialization in Power Systems and Thermal Design is concerned with energy utilization and thermal environment control. Design of power and propulsion systems (power plants, engines) and their components is a major activity. Thermal environment control requires the design of thermal control systems having heat pumps, heat pipes, heat exchangers, thermal insulation, and ablation heat shields. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), vacuum technology, cryogenics and solar thermal energy are other areas in which the mechanical engineer contributes.

Mechanical engineers with a specialization in Mechanical Systems-Design and Control and in Manufacturing are the backbone of any industry. They participate in the conception, design, and manufacture of a commercial product as is found in the automotive, aerospace, chemical or electronics industries, etc. With specialization in Fluids Engineering, mechanical engineers gain breadth in aerodynamics and propulsion systems which allows them to become ideal candidates for employment in the aerospace and other related industries.

The B.S. program in Mechanical Engineering at UCLA provides excellent preparation for a career in mechanical engineering and a foundation for advanced graduate studies. Graduate studies in one of the specialized fields of mechanical engineering prepare students for a career at the forefront of technology.