International Programs

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech is a recognized world leader in international education and has been designated a University Exemplary Department (2010) because of its high-quality education abroad program options.

The Ultimate Global Engineer Program

This program consists of three windows of opportunity for VT BSME students to study abroad. Students that take advantage of all three windows of opportunity can study abroad in three countries, learn two foreign languages (one as “beginner” and one as “operationally proficient”), earn two BSME degrees, and graduate on time in four years–assuming no prior language skill or AP credit, etc.

Students have the option to participate in one, two, or all three of the following windows of opportunity:

WINDOW #1 — Sophomore Fall Semester Abroad
This program replaces the standard VT BSME sophomore fall semester in Blacksburg. No foreign language proficiency is required for participation within this window of opportunity. The goal is to eventually offer one program with a leading mechanical engineering program in each of the following countries: Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, and New Zealand. Currently we offer the following:

WINDOW #2 — Rising Junior Summer Abroad
This program consists of 12 semester credit hours abroad during the summer between the VT BSME sophomore and junior years: 3 credits of third-semester foreign language (ME technical elective, list #2), 3 credits of foreign culture (AREA 2 or 3), and 6 credits of VT BSME junior year courses. The prerequisite for this window of opportunity is two semesters of foreign language that can be completed during the freshmen or sophomore years at Virginia Tech (e.g., CHN 1105-1106). The goal is to offer one program with a leading mechanical engineering program in each of the following countries: Brazil, China, France, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea. Currently we offer the following:

WINDOW #3 — Senior Year Abroad
This program replaces the VT BSME senior year in Blacksburg, and it is designed to enable students to graduate on time. In this program the students learn a foreign language so that they can function as mechanical engineers using that language. Currently, this program is only offered at the Technische Universität Darmstadt (TUD) in Germany: In addition to the standard required VT BSME senior year courses, a large number of ME technical and AREA 2, 3, and 7 electives at TUD have been pre-approved for transfer back to Virginia Tech. The courses at TUD are taught in German (written exams). Assuming no prior German language skills, students can start learning the necessary German as late as in the spring semester of their junior year. VT-TUD dual BSME degree option: By taking more required courses and fewer electives, students have the opportunity to simultaneously earn both a VT BSME degree and a TUD BSME degree without delaying graduation.

GPA requirements: Virginia Tech requires students to have a minimum 2.5 GPA in order to participate in education abroad programs. The Department of Mechanical Engineering strongly recommends that students going abroad have a GPA above 3.0 with an upward trend, especially in their extended-in-major GPA (i.e., counting all ME and ESM courses). It is critical that students going abroad have a solid academic foundation to ensure success with the added challenges of studying engineering in a different culture. Some programs may have additional requirements.

Other Education Abroad Programs

Rising Sophomore Program at TU Darmstadt: Introduction to German Engineering
Students that have completed their Virginia Tech freshman engineering program may participate in a three-week (3 semester credit hours) course at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany. This program is designed for rising sophomores in Mechanical Engineering (ME), Materials Science & Engineering (MSE), Chemical Engineering (CHE), Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE), Aerospace & Ocean Engineering (AOE), and Engineering Science & Mechanics (ESM). Space permitting, rising juniors may participate as well. This course includes one week of engineering design project on teams with US and German engineering students, followed by two weeks of visits to German engineering companies. The course credits will transfer as VT BSME technical elective (list #2) and AREA 7. Also approved for credit in MSE, ISE, and CEE.

  • Program dates:  May 29  – June 17, 2017

Automotive Engineering Summer Program at TU Darmstadt:
Students that have completed their mechanical engineering junior year courses may participate in a 10-week course on automotive engineering at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany. Undergraduate students can count these as 6 semester credit hours towards their VT BSME technical electives. Graduate students can count these towards their graduate program.

  • Program dates: May 23 – July 29, 2016

VT-TUD dual MSME degree program:
This is a four-semester Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) degree program: Three semesters of course work (45 semester credit hours) followed by a semester of graduate research (15 semester credit hours). This is a symmetric program, and each student gets to choose where to do Year 1 and Year 2. The coursework at TUD is in German while the exams are in English (oral exams). The thesis is written in English. Upon successful completion, the students simultaneously earn both a VT MSME degree and a TUD MSME degree. Graduates of any university BSME degree program may apply for admission.

NSF REU: Automotive Technologies:
The US National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding undergraduate research experiences at VT and TUD in the area of automotive technologies. This summer program is open to undergraduate engineering students from any university, but it is restricted to US citizens, US permanent residents, and US nationals. German language skills are not required.

  • Program dates: TBD


Point of Contact:
Prof. Jan Helge Bøhn, Ph.D.
114-H Randolph Hall
TEL: +1-540-231-3276