Choosing a Major

In addition to attending the departmental information sessions held in the fall, Freshmen are encouraged to explore their desired major by:

  • talking to upperclassmen, professors, and career advisors from the departments they are interested in,
  • speaking to potential employers during the two engineering job fairs held at Virginia Tech to find out what engineers do at their companies, and
  • attending student professional society meetings to learn more about their career choices.

Freshmen are given free membership to our American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) student chapter and are invited to attend meetings to meet some of our current students and to find out more about our department.

We strongly encourage you to visit the Career and Professional Development Center located in Smith Hall. The faculty in Smith have a wealth of information on careers in all areas of science and engineering, including salaries, areas of specialization, resume building, and mock interview tutorials. They also host many company visits, career fairs, job opportunity boards, and professional development workshops.

Requirements for Entering the ME Department

Students may switch into Mechanical Engineering after they complete the following courses and have a competitive GPA at Virginia Tech:

  • CHEM 1035 & 1045 (General Chemistry & Lab)
  • ENGE 1215 (formerly ENGE1024) & ENGE 1216 (formerly ENGE1114) (Engineering Exploration)
  • ENGL 1105 & 1106 (Freshman English)
  • MATH 2114 (Linear Algebra) (not required but highly encouraged)
  • MATH 1225 & 1226 (Calculus)
  • PHYS 2305 (Foundations of Physics I & Lab)

Please see the Engineering Education website for policies for major changes into degree-granting engineering departments.

ME courses are restricted to ME majors only.

Students Starting as Freshmen in General Engineering

Transfer Students, Students Starting in University Studies & Other Depts.

Students starting in General Engineering will be assigned a faculty advisor in the Engineering Education Department

Students with more specific questions about their intended major or future course plans may contact the academic advisors in the other engineering departments, but are strongly encouraged to ask questions and meet with any advisor well in advance of deadlines – please avoid course request week and the first week of classes if you can ask your questions at a different time.

Students will be given instructions on how to indicate their choice of engineering majors during their Engineering Education courses (ENGE1215, ENGE1216).

Students will not be transferred into their new engineering department until they meet the entrance requirements for that department. For most students, transfers will be done after the grades from Spring Semester have been posted & they have completed the online application.

If you have questions about your change of major, you should contact the Engineering Education Department, as they are the ones who will transfer you into your new engineering department.

Students who are not originally admitted in the College of Engineering should consider completing an Associate’s Degree at a Virginia Community College and then apply to transfer to Virginia Tech. Please see the Articulation Agreement through VCCS and Virginia Tech for more details on College of Engineering admittance.

University Studies Students are not guaranteed admittance into the College of Engineering regardless of GPA or course completion. Students wishing to switch into an engineering department should meet with their University Studies advisor to carefully plan a course schedule to match the courses they would have taken had they started in General Engineering. Students should also seek guidance from the Department of Engineering Education.

Students starting in majors outside of the College of Engineering will not be able to take the Fundamentals of Engineering courses (ENGE1215, ENGE1216) during their first semester.  Students might be able to sign up for these course during their second semester at Virginia Tech, provided there is space available and they meet the minimum GPA requirements (currently an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher is required). Non-engineering students may face major restrictions when trying to enroll in other required courses, including some math and science courses which are not required for that student’s major.  Please see the Engineering Education website for more information for non-engineering students.

Suggested Courses

Freshman Information Session

Students wishing to transfer into Mechanical Engineering should follow the course selection guidelines outlined for ME students as closely as possible. The best way to visualize the prerequisite strings and flow of required courses is through the degree path sheets in the required courses section of that website.

If you are ahead on courses due to transfer or AP credits, we suggest:

  • Getting ahead in required Math courses (MATH2114, MATH2204, MATH2214)
  • Taking other engineering courses whose prerequisites you can meet, including MSE2034 (pre-requisite: CHEM1035; co-requisite: PHYS2305), ESM courses, including ESM2104 (pre-requisite: MATH2114; co-requisite: MATH2204) or ESM2204 & ESM2304 (pre-requisites: ESM2104 and MATH2204)
  • Completing any incomplete Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE) humanities elective requirements
  • Taking technical electives (see the list of approved technical electives for ME students.)

The Mechanical Engineering Department holds information sessions for General Engineering students during the fall and spring semesters. In the fall session, students are given information about the Mechanical Engineering Department and careers in Mechanical Engineering.

The focus of the spring information session is to let students know which courses they should select during course request for the Fall Semester.

For More Information

For additional information please contact Sarah Deisher (last names A-G),  Linda Vick (last names H-O), or Heather Whedbee (last names P-Z). the Academic and Career Advisors in Mechanical Engineering.


Information on this website is unofficial. University catalogs and other official documents take precedence over the information that is available here. The material presented here is to aid you in planning your academic program to best fit your interests. Ultimately you are responsible for making sure that you fulfill the graduation requirements. We present these aids to help you achieve your goal of a degree in mechanical engineering.