Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing

Two students work on a manufacturing project.


Manufacturing in the age of information and technology bears little resemblance to the assembly lines of yesteryear. Rather than being loud, dirty, and heavily reliant on manual labor, today’s modern manufacturing environment is clean, quiet, and automated with robots and purpose-built machines handling repetitive tasks with speed and precision.

With the advent of Industry 4.0, today’s manufacturing workforce needs cutting-edge skills in automation, sensing, programming, and robotics. Manufacturers also covet employees with knowledge and skills in project management, communication, leadership, and business economics.

This unique multidisciplinary program, rooted in hands-on technology education, ties together an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that modern manufacturing faces in creating tomorrow's industry leaders. The program is built on a foundation of lower-division math, science, economics, business, and fundamental manufacturing concepts. Upper-division courses integrate that foundation into a unified body of knowledge with three primary areas of emphasis as applied to manufacturing:

  • Robotics and automation
  • Materials and manufacturing processes
  • Business, communication, and management

The curriculum is applied in nature and includes significant hands-on laboratory experiences with modern, industrial-scale equipment. Technical, business, and management aspects are woven throughout the curriculum that concludes with a year-long, real-world, capstone experience. Hallmarks of our program are:

  • An applied, hands-on curriculum firmly grounded in fundamentals.
  • Accessible faculty with significant industrial experience who provide superior teaching and mentoring both in and out of the classroom.
  • Strong industry partnerships that provide students with opportunities to work on applied research and important real-world projects.
  • Project-based learning where students apply fundamentals to solve real-world problems and develop teamwork skills.
  • Accessible laboratory facilities that include modern industrial-scale equipment.
  • Class sizes that encourage active student participation.
  • Extensive opportunities for extracurricular activities and competitions.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Applied Robotics program is professionally accredited by The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE).


Student organizations. Advanced manufacturing students are active participants in the student chapters of professional organizations as well as department clubs and competition teams. These extra-curricular activities develop well-rounded individuals with leadership, managerial, social, and technical skills and are a hallmark of programs in the department. Current on-campus professional organizations and clubs include:

  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers
  • Society of Plastics Engineers
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • American Institute of Mechatronic Engineers
  • Engineers for Alternative Energy
  • Materials Research Society
  • SAE Baja competition team
  • SAE Formula competition team
  • Chico Rocketry and Aerospace Club

Scholarships. In addition to university-wide scholarships, manufacturing students are eligible for 12 to 15 manufacturing-specific scholarships each year. Individual awards range from $100 to $1,000 and are based on academic performance/improvement, participation in activities, leadership qualities, and/or financial need.

Internships. Many students take advantage of cooperative education/internship opportunities available through the Career Center's internship program. These are full-time, semester and/or summer positions with well-known companies. Participants gain professional experience, earning salaries of $2,500-$3,500 per month. Students can earn up to three units of academic credit for industrial internships that satisfy a technical elective requirement.

Engineering programs. The department also offers ABET-accredited programs in mechanical engineering and mechatronic engineering. Many department faculty cross over and teach in all three programs. Students in advanced manufacturing and applied robotics have several courses in common with engineering students during their first two years. Upper-division coursework diverges into the unique needs of the respective programs. Advanced manufacturing students also participate in the same Capstone Design Program where they work side by side with engineering students, as they will work side by side with engineers in industry.

Industrial support. The department and program enjoy the strong support of industry through sponsored projects, funded research, donated materials and equipment, and of course, jobs for program graduates. The program’s advisory board is made up of leaders in the manufacturing industry, ensuring that the program remains current to the needs of today’s manufacturing workplace.


The Society of Manufacturing Engineers reports that within the next 10 years, 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will become available, while 2 million may go unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers. This program provides a balance of technical, business, and management skills that prepare graduates for successful careers in today’s modern manufacturing workplace.