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The goal of the WTP-ME program is to expose students to the wide range of disciplines within Mechanical Engineering. The work done by mechanical engineers covers the gamut between intensive analytical and modeling work to nuts and bolts designing and building Three daily class periods provide exposure to the range of work that encompasses mechanical engineering, as well as exposure to and experience with how engineers solve problems.


Classes give WTP-ME students analytical as well as hands-on experience in a variety of subject areas within engineering. Important topics in physics such as Newton's laws and energy conservation and conversion are covered near the beginning of WTP to serve as the foundation for in-depth coverage of a variety of topics important to mechanical engineers in subsequent weeks. These topics include solid materials, fluid mechanics, idea generation, and system design and manufacturing.

Students learn to use a 3-dimensional solid modeling program to design mechanical systems. Students are also equipped with the mathematical tools needed for more in depth study of ME topics. Numerical computing software is used for applications ranging from data analysis to numerical methods for solving complicated problems. 

The diversity of opportunities in mechanical engineering is explored, with an emphasis on the tradeoffs that engineers need to consider to be successful.  The classes are very interactive, with numerous demonstrations and class projects.

Final Projects

In recognition of the diversity of mechanical engineering work, students perform two capstone projects: one that concentrates on the analytical, modeling, and design work essential to effective engineering, and one that concentrates on hands-on designing and building machines for a specified task.

At the end of the second week of the program, students identify areas of particular interest to them for more in-depth analysis, modeling, and design. Students work in pairs with mentors on open-ended topics designed around their interests. The culmination of their work is a poster presentation to members of the MIT community, including faculty and current students, at the end of the third week.

The poster project is an opportunity for students to combine interests in other areas with mechanical engineering, such as combining art with engineering to design a kinetic sculpture that includes recycled elements. Students can also connect to issues back home, such as designing rapid deployment shelters for hurricane relief.

During the last week of the program, groups of four students design and build multi-step machines for a Rube Goldberg Challenge held on the final Thursday of the program, also open to the entire MIT community

Guest Speakers and Industry Tours

MIT faculty and engineers from industry present information about their research and career paths at lunch time sessions several days each week, and several tours to engineering firms expose students to the reality of day-to-day life for an engineer.