Spotlight on Mechanical Engineering
- Approaching Deadlines!
- Letters of Recommendation
- Our New Podcast on Credential Evaluation
- Spotlight on Mechanical Engineering
Graduate school application submission deadlines are quickly approaching! Most graduate school deadlines fall between early December and mid-January. That being said, it must also be noted that graduate schools prefer students to submit their applications before the deadline. We recommend at least one month to two weeks before the deadline. That way the university is able to inform the student of any further documentation they may need.
These days a lot of the application materials can be submitted online. If you are uncertain about the methods accepted by your university’s department email them and ask.
It is also important to note that a lot of graduate schools are very strict in regard to their deadlines. Especially if you want to be considered for any sort of scholarship or fellowship you must pay attention to the deadline date listed on the application.
Meeting the deadline means that all materials must be received by the program to which you applied, on or before the application deadline.
Incomplete applications may not be considered for admission. As a general rule, the earlier your materials are received, the better your chances for full consideration. While formal applications are generally not accepted more than one year prior to your anticipated entry into the university, you can get in touch with department faculty to discuss your qualifications and fit with the program even earlier— and it’s a good idea to start as early as you can.
Letters of recommendation, most commonly written by professors (sometimes also by employers or others who know you well), are required for almost every U.S. graduate school application and are an extremely important part of the application process. Strong letters can improve your application significantly.
Generally three letters of recommendation are required per application (schools will specify). When deciding who to ask to write your letters of recommendation consider how well the letter writer knows you, as well as how effective a writer he or she may be.
A clever strategy you can use to get a good letter of recommendation is to provide your letter writer with information about yourself along with your request for the letter. This way, you can get a letter that includes specific details that you want mentioned, not just a general report on your grades.
When getting a letter of recommendation, look for a person who—
- Is aware of your academic areas of interest and the schools you are applying to
- Is able to evaluate your performance in your field of interest.
- Is able to discuss your personal strengths
- Can discuss your capacity to work with others
- Can discuss your leadership skills
- Can evaluate your level of professionalism (e.g., punctuality, efficiency, assertiveness)
- Can discuss your academic skills—not simply experience, but your potential to succeed in graduate-level study
- Will evaluate you positively in relation to others
- Has some professional recognition and whose judgment will be valued within the field
- Is able to write a good reference letter (i.e., can write well in English)
Now available on the website is a podcast interview with credential evaluation specialist Nancy Katz at Evaluation Services. This article outlines some major points related to U.S. university credential evaluation:
- A suggestion that was repeated throughout the interview was that all students should include their official school transcript in Persian along with the English translation. One mistake many Iranian students make is that they only send a translation of their transcript and forget to send the official Persian one as well.
- If at all possible, have your school or university in Iran send transcripts (originals or certified photocopies in a sealed, stamped envelope) directly to the U.S. institution to which you are applying. Many U.S. universities require this.
- U.S. universities also require a photocopy of your degree certificate.
- If for reasons of incomplete military service you do not have a degree certificate, most universities will accept an official letter stating that your degree will be awarded once you complete your service.
- If you are attending a new or less-known university that has no English-language webpage, include information showing that your university is approved by the Ministry of Education in Iran.
- Iranian grades are basically equivalent to the U.S. 1-4 grading scale with 17 and above considered as an A average.
Occasionally this newsletter will feature information on a specific major. Due to a large number of questions received via the EducationUSAIran email box related to mechanical engineering, this month we will focus on the path for graduate mechanical engineering students at U.S. institutions.
ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, requires all U.S. engineering programs to show that their students can "work professionally in both thermal and mechanical systems areas.”
Although graduation requirements vary, mechanical engineering programs generally cover:
- statics and dynamics
- strength of materials and solid mechanics
- instrumentation and measurement
- thermodynamics, heat transfer, energy conversion, and HVAC
- fluid mechanics and fluid dynamics
- mechanism design (including kinematics and dynamics)
- manufacturing technology/processes
- hydraulics and pneumatics
- engineering design
- macaronis and control theory
- drafting, Computer Aided Design (CAD), and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
Most mechanical engineering programs include several semesters of calculus, as well as coverage of concepts including differential and partial differential equations, linear and modern algebra, and differential geometry, among other areas.
In addition to the core mechanical engineering curriculum, many mechanical engineering programs offer more specialized programs and classes, like robotics, transport and logistics, cryogenics, fuel technology, automotive engineering, biomechanics, vibration, optics, and more. Mechanical engineering students take hands-on laboratory classes to aid their learning. Typically they also complete research or community projects to gain practical problem-solving experience. Mechanical engineering students also generally have an internship during their program.
To conduct a search for universities with professionally accredited mechanical engineering programs use the following link: http://www.abet.org/AccredProgramSearch/AccreditationSearch.aspx ABET accredits only the first professional degree but their accreditation is a good sign for the quality of higher-level programs as well.
For more information on mechanical engineering in general, provided in Persian, seehttp://fa.wikipedia.org/wiki/مهندسی_مکانیک