Prospective Students

Graduate Students

Human-Centered, Sustainable Design

At the graduate level, the ME program aligns academic course work with research, to prepare scholars in specialized areas within the field of mechanical engineering. Human-centered design and design for sustainability are themes that span all of the programs in the department.

Where engineering has in the past been primarily concerned with "feasibility" the department recognizes a critical need to focus on a broader set of design criteria, including "usability", "viability", "desirability", "sustainability" and environmental impact.

Interdisciplinary Research - A Fundamental Value

Incorporation of this broader perspective requires access to and collaboration with other disciplines, including the environmental, social and material sciences as well as electrical engineering, biology and other fields.

Department research projects and the structure of the department's labs and centers incorporate at their core the philosophy of interdisciplinary problem-solving. By the way we have structured the academic environment, the department offers strength in bringing together the necessary disciplines for solving modern engineering problems and provides a broad-based, flexible environment in which students are able to pursue their developing interests. The pioneering research conducted within the department, and related organizations, has been made possible to a large extent by our collaborative and flexible environment.

Five Academic Themes that Shape the Department

The five main academic themes of the department are:

  • Biomedicine
  • Computational Engineering
  • Design
  • Energy
  • Multi-Scale Engineering

The five programs within the department are built around these themes where a continued emphasis on fundamental understanding of a range of engineering and scientific concepts is combined with a sensitized empathy for human need.

The department's aim is to help produce academic and industry leaders. We believe that because of our unique and forward-thinking approach to research incorporating these five academic themes, as well as our emphasis on human-centered design and sustainability, our graduates are widely sought after.


Associate Professor Chris Gerdes, right, and graduate student Matt Roelle.

"One of the great things about Stanford is that there are col-
laborations that allow us to do things that are really interdisciplinary."More »

- Chris Gerdes, Associate
Professor of ME

Multi-disciplinary problem solving

"The greatest productivity occurs at the intersection of many disciplines—engineering, medicine, business, the humanities, education and more—allowing problems to be solved from a multitude of perspectives." More »

— David Kelley, Professor of ME