A Message from the Chair


White, Alice-pAlice White
Professor and Chair
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering is a dynamically evolving discipline, especially here at Boston University.  The fundamental aspects of a Mechanical Engineering education, including hands-on experience designing and building solutions to challenging problems, remain unchanged, but the areas of application are diverse and important.  From jet engines to cell biology, the mechanical properties of materials are emerging as key parameters in understanding systems behavior.  For this reason, it is an exciting time to be contemplating study in Mechanical Engineering.

I’ve recently joined Boston University from Bell Labs, one of the more academic industrial research labs, where I worked side-by-side with experts from many disciplines to design and build the components to drive next generation communication systems.  The collaborative, interdisciplinary nature of the environment was stimulating and remarkably similar to what I have found here in the College of Engineering.  Important advances are often made at the boundaries between traditional disciplines—when mechanical engineers work with materials scientists, doctors, physicists, and electrical engineers to solve challenging real-world problems.  As you browse the faculty websites in ME you will see research activities ranging from studies of the mechanical properties of bone to modeling of dendrite formation in Li-ion batteries to development of MEMs sensors for deep oil well drilling to autonomously controlling multi-robot systems.  The faculty in the department have active collaborations and affiliations with the Photonics Center, the Center for Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology (CNN), the Center for Information and Systems Engineering (CISE), the BU Medical Center (BUMC), and other departments and Divisions in the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences.  Additionally, we benefit from access to shared facilities in the Photonics Center and the Division of Materials Science and Engineering.

In addition to the ABET-certified degree program in Mechanical Engineering (courses), undergraduates in the department have the option of several concentrations including Aerospace Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Energy Technologies, Nanotechnology, and Technology Innovation as well as minors in many disciplines such as Materials Science and Engineering and Systems Engineering.  Faculty in the department are actively engaged in exploring new pedagogical techniques and are renown in the College for the quality of their teaching and their commitment to the students’ educational experience.  There are many opportunities for undergraduates to get hands-on experience, whether directly through courses or by working with a faculty member on their research projects, or joining one of the extra-curricular clubs.  With the opening of the brand new Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC) in January 2014, we are now able to provide expanded opportunities for students to exercise their creativity!

At the graduate level, the department offers both Master’s and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with a suite of options that are designed to meet the needs of students who are already working in industry as well as students who are following a more traditional path to a PhD.  Many Mechanical Engineering graduate students come to us through the College’s LEAP program, which enables students with non-engineering undergraduate degrees to combine the foundational undergraduate courses with a full graduate course-load to earn a Master’s degree, all in 2 years.

I invite you to pore over our website and follow up with me or any of the faculty in the department if you have questions about the research or the degree programs.  You’ll find that ME@BU is a particularly vibrant and engaged community of scholars, committed to cutting edge research and excellence in teaching.