Welcome to Berkeley! If you’re new to mechanical engineering here at Cal, or are a returning student looking for advice, this is the page for you! Below, you’ll find frequently asked questions by students in the mechanical engineering department.

How do I meet other students in the Mechanical Engineering Department?

Berkeley’s Mechanical Engineering department is filled with student organizations and groups – they’re a great way to meet other students with similar interests! Interested in getting hands on engineering experience? Try one of our project teams, such as Formula SAE or Space Enterprise, where you’ll work on exciting mechanical engineering challenges such as building a racecar and developing high-altitude rockets. Project teams, as well as lots of the other clubs on campus, can be a great way to become part of the mechanical engineering community.

Additionally, coming to ASME meetings is another great way of meeting other students! We encourage you to check out our Facebook page to see our upcoming events.

How do I find what I’d like to study within Mechanical Engineering?

This is a big question that every student who comes to Berkeley asks themselves. Don’t feel pressured to know what you want to do right away! Part of the beauty of mechanical engineering is how broad it is – you’ll be exposed to just about every area of the engineering sciences by the time you graduate, from design to dynamics to robotics and beyond! As you move through your time at Cal and take courses across the ME department, you’ll begin to figure out what really drives you as an engineer.

Should I take on a minor?

Many students in mechanical engineering decide to take on minors or double majors in other subjects. If you find a passion outside of your mechanical engineering courses, taking a minor can be a great way to explore that in further depth. However, don’t feel pressured to take on courses you don’t want to take! If you’re interested in a small selection of courses in another department but don’t want the commitment of a full minor, there’s nothing stopping you from just taking those! We would recommend speaking to your advisor and making a plan of your future classes to decide if a minor is right for you!

I feel like I’m falling behind in my classes – What should I do?

Mechanical Engineering is a challenging field – we have to tackle all sorts of real world problems, not all of which have immediately obvious solutions. If you’re seeking help in your classes, going to office hours, either of your GSI or your professor, is extremely helpful! Professors and GSIs are extremely open to helping students understand their coursework.

In addition to course staff, the Center for Access to Engineering Excellence (CAEE), run by Engineering Student Services (ESS) has great student tutors in mechanical engineering free of charge! Find out more about the CAEE here.

How can I get to know my professors better?

The Mechanical Engineering Department’s professors are an incredible resource of knowledge and advice. We would recommend attending office hours regularly to get to know them to talk about classes, academic advice, research, and more!

How can I get involved in research?

Getting involved in research is one of the most exciting things undergraduate students can do. The process of joining a lab and contributing to a group’s work can seem daunting at first, but there are many ways to participate!

URAP: URAP is Berkeley’s official service for connecting students to professors for research experience. New projects, typically lasting from a semester to an academic year, open every semester in mechanical engineering and beyond. Applications open at the start of each semester!

Beehive: Beehive is another resource for finding professors interested in taking on undergraduate students. You can browse the beehive website, https://beehive.berkeley.edu/, to find open projects.

Emailing: If you’d like to work with a specific professor, often the best way to get in contact is to email the professor or one of their graduate students directly! Oftentimes, labs will have instructions on their websites of how to reach out to the research group to get involved. Following these instructions or emailing the professor or a graduate student with your interest in their work (a copy of your resume can be useful as well!) is a great way to get involved.