Mechanical engineering is a very broad field of study in the engineering sciences. It integrates almost all disciplines of technology. Any device or product that is used in modern, everyday life is the result of an ongoing synergy between different basic techniques. In short, all products in modern society arose from the merger of different technical disciplines. Mechanical engineering is the preferred integrator specialized for realizing this.

What's the Master of Mechanical Engineering all about?

The Master of Science in Engineering: Mechanical Engineering is a general training program integrating all disciplines of basic sciences, engineering, and technology. An essential element of the mechanical engineering curriculum at KU Leuven is the direct training of each student in a real-life industrial or research setting. Following up on the design assignment in the Bachelor's program, the Master's program brings the student in close contact with the industrial reality.


Three versions

The Master's program in Mechanical Engineering has three versions:

  • A Dutch-language version for students who have already obtained a Master's degree in Engineering Technology: Electromechanical Engineering
  • A Dutch-language version for students who have completed their Bachelor's training at our Faculty or at another university with Mechanical Engineering either as a major or as minor.
  • An English-language version which mainly addresses foreign students, and to which admission is granted after evaluation of the application file.

Five modules

The program consists of five modules.

  • The first major component is the core module in mechanical engineering.
  • The second major component is one out of five options, which have been put together in a complementary way.

Three generic options

  • Manufacturing and Management: modern techniques for the design and production of discrete components, CAD and computer integration in production, management techniques, maintenance and logistics of a production company.
  • Mechatronics and Robotics: mechatronics is the discipline in which the synergy of construction, sensing, actuation, and control of machinery are concurrently defined and tuned for optimum integration
  • Thermo-technical Sciences: physical principles and analysis, design, construction and operation of combustion engines and thermal and flow machines, cooling machines, power plants, etc.

Two application oriented options

  • Aerospace technology: physical principles, analysis, design, construction, exploitation and operation of aircraft and space systems;
  • Vehicle technology: physical principles, design, analysis, and production of cars and ground vehicles and of systems for ground transportation.

Elective courses

The third and fourth components in the program structure concern a set of elective courses, to be chosen from a list of technical courses and from a list of general interest courses.

Master's thesis

The final component is the Master's thesis, which represents 20% of the credits of the entire curriculum.


  • The department has a large experimental research laboratory with advanced equipment, to which Master's students have access. FabLab (a "Fabrication Laboratory") is also directly accessible for students.
  • The department has built up an extensive network of companies which recruit a large number of our alumni since many years already, from whom we receive lots of informal feedback on the program.
  • In addition to their academic teaching and research assignments, several members of the teaching staff also have other responsibilities in advisory boards, in external companies, science & technology committees, etc. and they share that expertise with students.
  • The program attracts a large number of students.
  • The program offers students the choice between application-oriented options and generic methodology oriented options.
  • Many courses are dealing with contents in which the R&D of the Department has created spin-off companies and hence can offer very relevant and innovation-driven contents.
  • The program has a clearly structured, extensive and transparent evaluation procedure for Master's theses, involving several complementary assessment views on every single thesis.
  • Several courses are closely linked to a top-level research of the lecturers, and they can hence offer up-to-date and advanced contents to the students.

International experience

The Erasmus+ program gives students the opportunity to complete one or two semesters of their degree at a participating European university. Student exchange agreements are also in place with Japanese and American universities.

Students are also encouraged to learn more about industrial and research internships abroad by contacting our Internship Coordinator. Internships are scheduled in between two-course phases of the Master’s program (in the summer period after the second semester and before the third semester).

These studying abroad opportunities and internships are complemented by the short summer courses offered via the Board of European Students of Technology (BEST) network. This student organization allows students to follow short courses in the summer period between the second and the third semester. The Faculty of Engineering Science is also a member of the international networks CESAER, CLUSTER, and T.I.M.E.

You can find more information on this topic on the website of the Faculty.

Application deadline for 2018-2019

  • 1 March 2018 (for non-EEA citizens)
  • 1 June 2018 (for EEA citizens)

KU Leuven uses an online application system. You can download and submit your application form via Students with a Flemish degree can consult

Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for the current academic year is € 906.10 for EEA students and € 6,000 for non-EEA students. The tuition fee for the 2018-2019 academic year will be determined in the spring of 2018. Please consult the website for the most recent information:

This is an initial Master's program and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Is this the right program for me?

A car is a complex system which consists of very different kinds of materials equipped with an energy-efficient combustion engine and/or electric motor and a multitude of onboard intelligent systems. It must be quiet and safe for occupants and other road users and must meet many other increasingly stringent requirements. An electric shaver, a hair dryer, kitchen robot, a refrigerator and a washing machine - these machines may seem somewhat less complex, but they, too, are being further refined thanks to the integration of state-of-the-art technology. The same applies to surgical robots, advanced production machines and satellites for telecommunications and earth observation. In short, all products in modern society arose from the merger of different technical disciplines. Mechanical engineering is the preferred integrator specialized for realizing this. Technological developments in mechanical engineering are often a catalyst for innovations in related domains. New production techniques make it possible to further miniaturize electromechanical systems. This requires a multidisciplinary training and a curriculum in which all these technologies get the place they deserve, no more but certainly no less.

After completing the program, the graduate has:

  • A thorough understanding of advanced techniques in mechanical engineering (construction and production methods, control systems, design techniques, measurement techniques, numerical simulations) and principles of standardization and regulation regarding the design and exploitation of machines and systems.
  • Own experience in mechanical design, analysis, and development within a company or in contact with an industrial enterprise.
  • Gained experience and engineering skills in mechanical design, analysis, and development within a company or in contact with an industrial enterprise, as a natural continuation after the ProblemSolving&Design (PS&D) projects in the bachelor's program.
  • Received adequate training in new engineering approaches to cope with modern societal challenges, such as sustainability, aging, mobility and quickly changing job contents.

Career Paths

The field of mechanical engineering is very wide. Mechanical engineers find employment in many industrial sectors thanks to our broad training program. Demand for this engineering degree on the labor market is very strong and constant. A study by the Royal Flemish Engineers Association identifies the specific sectors in which graduated mechanical engineers are employed.

  • mechanical engineering: e.g. production machinery, compressed air systems, agricultural machinery
  • metal and non-metal products: a very wide range of products e.g. pressure vessels, piping, suitcases, etc.
  • off-shore and maritime engineering
  • automation industry
  • vehicle components, such as exhaust systems, drivetrain components, and windshield wipers, etc.
  • development and production of bicycles
  • aircraft components, such as high lift devices, aircraft engines, and cockpit display systems
  • building, textile, plastic, paper sector
  • electrical industry
  • chemical industry
  • environmental engineering and waste management
  • energy sector
  • financial, banking and insurance sector
  • communications sector
  • transportation sector: infrastructure and exploitation and maintenance of rolling stock
  • software development and vendors
  • technical and management consulting: large companies and small offices
  • education and research
  • technical and management functions in the public sector


1. Competent in one or more scientific disciplines

1)Graduates possess a general active (i.e. application-oriented) knowledge in mechanics. In addition to the mechanic's package in the Bachelor of Engineering Science program, graduates are aware of the prevailing theories and have mastered the prevailing experimental and numerical techniques in the following domains: propulsion techniques, measurement, and control techniques, structure mechanics.

2)Graduates possess a general active (i.e. application-oriented) knowledge in one of the following subjects. Depending on the chosen option, this is acquired in a broad domain of mechanical knowledge:

  • Manufacturing and management: operational management, production technology, product design, and management.
  • Mechatronics and robotics: integration of mechanics, electronics and robotics, precision mechanics and robotic systems.
  • Thermo-technical sciences: physics of fluids, gasses, plasmas, and neutrons for the development of thermo-technical devices and installations.

Or in an application-oriented domain of mechanical knowledge:

  • Aviation and space technology: application of all mechanical disciplines in aviation and space technology.
  • Vehicle technologies: application of all mechanical disciplines in-vehicle technology.

3)Graduates are able to apply knowledge from various mechanical domains in a creative way, expand it, deepen it and integrate it in functional systems.

2. Competent in research

4)Graduates are able to reformulate a complex mechanical engineering problem into specific research objectives, compose a research plan, define the different steps of the research process with the aim of advancing knowledge beyond the state of the art, including: critical analysis of the state of the art, problem formulation, creating a plan of action, execution and synthesis.

5)Graduates are able to execute a research plan and process, analyze and critically evaluate research results.

3. Competent in design

6)Graduates are able to apply design methods of mechanics in real industrial situations based on theory, experiments, and simulations, leading to an innovative or optimized functional product/process that meets multifunctional design requirements.

7)Graduates take the technological and economic conditions into account throughout the design process and are aware of the capabilities and limitations of the user and the social demand for sustainability.

4. A scientific approach

8)Graduates possess a broad analytical, integrating, and problem-solving mind and are able to combine knowledge from mechanics and related domains.

9)Graduates can select and process the most suitable information sources (scientific literature, internet, workshops, conferences, experimental data, professional networks).

10)Graduates are able to evaluate, select and exploit advanced mathematical models, including the system/process model and boundary conditions with the appropriate level of complexity for the specific application.

11)Graduates have a proactive attitude and seek to constantly improve their professional skills.

5. Intellectual basic skills

12)Graduates are able to judge whether experimental or model results are correct based on their scientific knowledge and numerical skills.

13)Graduates have a critical-constructive attitude with respect to new discoveries and developments encountered in the scientific literature and in their own research.

14)Graduates are aware of their own competences and the range in which they can operate independently.

6. Skilled in collaboration and communication

15)Graduates are capable of effectively reporting research and project results to experts, peers and laymen, in Dutch and in a second language, both orally and in writing.

16)Graduates are able to cooperate and manage projects in a (multidisciplinary) team, including distributing and assuming responsibilities, observing time and resource constraints, and documenting project progress and results.

17)Graduates are able to work independently.

7. Taking the temporal and social context into account

18)Graduates take the business-economic context into account.

19)Graduates are able to analyze the societal consequences (sustainability, environment, health, safety, ethics) of new developments in mechanics and integrate these in scientific work.

20)Graduates are aware of the standards and regulations concerning technology and the principles of the right to intellectual property.

All of the above learning outcomes are developed within a broad international context.

Further Studies

When allowed:

  • Master of Welding Engineering (Sint-Katelijne-Waver)
Program taught in:
  • English

See 16 more programs offered by KU Leuven: Faculty of Engineering Science »

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