Penn State Altoona to offer mechanical engineering degree beginning fall 2021

An image of cogs and gears
Credit: Photocreo Bednarek -

ALTOONA, Pa. — A new mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree program will launch this fall at Penn State Altoona.

Mechanical engineering (ME) is one of the largest and broadest engineering disciplines, providing the foundation for almost all other engineering majors. It uses a combination of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and materials science to study mechanical, fluid, and thermal systems.

According to Jungwoo Ryoo, head of the Division of Business, Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State Altoona, there is a chronic shortage of engineers, and mechanical engineering at the college will help meet this ever-growing demand both locally and globally.

As problem solvers, mechanical engineers use their foundational knowledge to apply scientific and engineering methods to the design, construction, and testing of products and components to ensure that they are safe, reliable, and cost-effective. This includes everything from athletic equipment, medical devices, theme park rides, and personal computers to engines and power plants. Mechanical engineers contribute to the health and safety of our world.

“The launch of the new Mechanical Engineering program in fall 2021 is very exciting for our students, staff, and faculty at Penn State Altoona,” stated Grant Risha, professor of mechanical engineering. “It will provide an additional exciting engineering pathway for students.”

Penn State Altoona’s program offers smaller classes and labs, one-on-one interaction between students and faculty, state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, undergraduate research, and proactive advising. Upon graduation, our students will be prepared for graduate school or to enter the industry, which includes a diverse range of multinational companies and local firms. Graduates will enjoy tremendous career flexibility in disciplines as varied as research, manufacturing, product and systems design and testing, health care, energy, the military, transportation, and consumer products. An education in mechanical engineering is also excellent preparation for technical management, business, law, or technical sales.

Ryoo, who is also a professor of information sciences and technology, says that by offering mechanical engineering, electro-mechanical engineering technology, and the nation’s only four-year, ABET-accredited rail transportation engineering major, the engineering program at Penn State Altoona is now stronger than ever. “We can get a lot of synergy through these engineering programs, including faculty exchanges, more elective options, and future collaborative research projects. I am thrilled to have the mechanical engineering major added to our portfolio, and our division is at the forefront of providing more options and flexibility to our students.”