Please see our complete Engineering Mechanics Guide for all your questions in addition to the FAQ below.

FAQ 1. What is Engineering Mechanics?

Engineering Mechanics at Virginia Tech is a program in the College of Engineering which focuses on the theory, computation, and application of the fundamental physics behind engineering problems. The work of this department builds on the foundation of fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, thermodynamics, and dynamical systems to a wide variety of systems, including biomechanics and biomimetics of humans, animals, and plants, numerical methods, and mathematical modeling.

FAQ 2. What can you do with an EM degree?

Most of our students pursue jobs similar to mechanical engineering, material science engineering, or aerospace engineering students after leaving Virginia Tech. EM provides the background to understand most engineering problems, and the specialization comes from electives and research. For a list of companies and universities previous students go to after EM, check out our LinkedIn group.

FAQ 3. What kind of research do you perform?

The department website will showcase current research at BEAM. Often, we consider our research to fall under four main categories: Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Biomechanics, or Dynamics & Control. Most research falls in more than one category, but some examples of research in these areas are:

  • Fluid Mechanics Research:

  • Solid Mechanics Research:

  • Biomechanics Research: Dr. Socha’s study of how snakes can glide by deforming their shape, Dr. Abaid’s swarm studies,

  • Dynamics & Control Research:  While most of the PI’s use dynamical principles in their research, below are few examples:

  • Dr. Ross: Study of airborne microbes, planetary dynamics, Bio-inspired/mimetic modeling and control (flying snakes - collaborative work with Dr. Socha).

  • Dr. Hanna: Dynamics of soft materials: thin films, strings.

  • Dr. Abaid: Modeling and control of complicated dynamical systems: bat swarming, crowd human interaction.

  • Dr. Shahab: Vibrational analysis of smart materials in energy harvesting, transfer, and sensing. Spoiler: exciting applications of acoustics and fluid-structure interaction.

FAQ 4. What is the time commitment of an EM graduate?

Those with a GRA or GTA position are expected to work ~26 hours during the semester on the work they are paid to do. (The contract states 20 hours a week, but for a longer period of time than the academic semester). Some students would advise to block 2.5 times the number of credit hours for academic classes (e.g. 9 credit hours ~ 22 hours of time dedicated to those classes) as a rough estimate. While GRAs and GTAs are required to sign up for 12 credit hours per semester, any number of Research and Thesis hours may be taken to reach that goal. Each advisor has their own policy for receiving credit for Research and Thesis hours.

FAQ 5. How long does an average EM degree take?

Master’s students normally graduate in 2 years.  Ph.D. students normally between 4-6 years.

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