Mechanical engineers are first and foremost concerned with designing technical products. To be able to come up with effective solutions for different fields, they not only have to possess strong skills in solid and fluid mechanics, but also in the field of heat transfer or applied physics.
This knowledge serves mechanical engineers well for modeling the physical phenomena which they plan to use, in order to understand them better and thus be able to optimize the effectiveness of the products they wish to develop.
In addition to this theoretical command of phenomena, mechanical engineers also need, these days more than ever, to consistently take account of the environmental impact of their work, notably through introducing the notion of the life cycle to it. They must therefore endlessly rethink the industrial processes in which they are involved, in order to introduce innovations or even revolutions in the way in which they produce, distribute, consume, and recycle.
The first year of the Bachelor’s studies is mainly focused on acquiring scientific tools, such as analysis or physics, and complemented by some more specific classes ranging from introduction to mechanical engineering to statics or metals and alloys. The second and third years provide an in-depth treatment of the foundations of mechanical engineering, from automatic-control engineering to thermodynamics and vibration mechanics. A final Bachelor’s project, bringing together the different theoretical topics, completes the undergraduate degree.
Bachelor: simplified study plan
The Master’s studies offer six specializations to choose from:
- Automatic and systems
- Design and production
- Fluid mechanics
- Mechanics of solids and structures
- Thermal sciences
Three projects (including the Master’s project) make for a very individualized curriculum. This program provides the opportunity to include a minor in a transdisciplinary field such as energy, space technology, or biomedical technology.
Several joint degree opportunities are also offered, in particular between EPFL and ISAE-SUPAERO in Toulouse for aerospace engineering, and between EPFL and TUM in Munich for automobile engineering.
Other programs are also open after graduating with the Bachelor’s degree, in particular some interdisciplinary Master’s programs.
Further information on Master’s study programs.
Please note that the information regarding the programs’ structure as well as the simplified study plan may be subject to change and that these are no legally binding. Only the official regulations and study plans are binding.
Many graduates who enter the world of major industrial corporations are called upon to specialize, whether in the design of new products, or in their production, or even in their marketing – where the engineer’s role consists in identifying and developing markets and advising clients.
Others are able to combine all these functions, either by joining a smaller business, or by creating their own: There are more than enough innovation domains that rely on mechanical engineering.
Lastly, some graduates may prefer to continue their education by entering a doctoral program, whether in Switzerland or elsewhere.
The qualification in Mechanical Engineering is universally recognized and so allows easy access to an international career.