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Department of Mechanical Engineering


The Mechanical Engineering program at South Dakota State University offers programs of study leading to a variety of careers in a challenging and rewarding profession. Mechanical engineers develop ways to safely and sustainably use the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of humankind. They rely on a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained through study, experience and practice.

We encourage you to explore the links in the navigation menu to learn more about us and our programs. Degrees offered include Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Master of Science (M.S) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

The mechanical engineering (B.S.) program at South Dakota State University is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Our faculty members are dedicated to guiding students to develop their full potential as creative and effective problem solvers and leaders. In addition to their work in the classroom, our faculty members are involved in a wide variety of research activities. Current projects include:

  • Biomedical applications.
  • Biomaterials development.
  • Computational fluid dynamics and high-performance computer modeling and simulation.
  • Emerging fabrication techniques, including additive manufacturing (3D Printing).
  • Methods for characterizing material properties.
  • Flight control for aerial and space vehicles.
  • Renewable energy development.
  • Development and applications of new materials.
  • Robotics and autonomous systems.
  • Development of advanced heat transfer devices.
  • Improving process energy efficiency.

Our students have the opportunity to participate in many of these projects as well as other engineering projects sponsored by industries and agencies throughout the region. Students gain experience through design projects conducted within the curriculum as well as numerous opportunities for internships. ABET enrollment and graduate data of the Mechanical Engineering Department can be found online.

Department of Mechanical Engineering News

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SDSU mechanical engineering students who qualified for the finals of a NASA contest are, from left, Braxton McGrath, Aiden Carstensen, graduate adviser Liam Murray, Dylan Stephens, Delaney Baumberger and Alex Schaar. They are pictured with a prototype of a rover designed to explore rugged, frozen lunar craters.

SDSU a NASA finalist … again! Engineering students develop design for crater-exploring rover

Please provide a story summary.Building on the tradition of past student entries in NASA contests, another group of South Dakota State University engineering students has advanced to the finals of a NASA contest. This year’s group of five mechanical engineering students will appear before NASA judges to present their idea and prototype of a rover that can explore rugged and permanently shadowed lunar south pole craters searching for water, ice and other volatiles. They are one of 14 teams nationwide that will be in Cocoa Beach, Florida, June 10-12.
tree seed-planting drone

Building a seed-planting drone on a tight budget

Johnny Appleseed became an American legion in the first half of the 19th century for his apple tree-planting endeavors. In the first half of the 21st century, a group of nine SDSU engineering students are hoping to make tree planting a viable high-tech operation anywhere in the world. They form a senior design team that is creating a seed pod drone and dispenser that is sponsored by Jerry Natzel of Owatonna, Minnesota.

Robotics club builds autonomous sprayer

Connoisseurs say a good wine can’t be rushed. Perhaps the same could be said about a good autonomous vineyard sprayer. Since spring 2022, the SDSU Robotics Club has been working on a project for alum Jerry Natzel of Owatonna, Minnesota, to build an autonomous sprayer for his vineyard. The project’s history predates that. But by late April, the club hopes to have all the bugs worked out of this bug-spraying machine.