Mechanical engineers develop, calculate, test, design, plan, control and monitor production and operational processes. They ensure safety and they support users in the operation of technical systems. The work of an engineer usually involves seeking ways to implement ideas, such as those derived from inventions, in order to meet specific goals or solve certain problems. The idea is then turned into reality in the form of technical solutions. Since the beginning of industrialisation, the term mechanical engineering has been used to refer to a wide range of industries. As a generic term, it includes the design, manufacture and operation of technical products in the form of machines and their components as well as of systems for processing energy, materials and signals (information). More specifically, a distinction is made between machines for energy processing as their main function, devices for material processing, and equipment for signal processing. All technical products and processes are based on mechanical and plant engineering, which integrates leading-edge technologies, such as energy technology, materials technology, manufacturing technology (production technology), microelectronics and micro technology, information technology and biotechnology, and combines them to create highly efficient systems. Mechanical Engineering is a demanding course of study, requiring considerable intellectual ability and an understanding of technical processes. The subject comprises all of the topics described above and prepares the students intensively for their future work. After completing the bachelor’s degree, the students can choose from four master’s programmes to continue their studies.
The programme is complemented by obligatory Interdisciplinary Studies. The students select modules from different subject areas, which complement their specialised studies. The integration of Interdisciplinary Studies into the study programmes aims to develop the interdisciplinary skills that will be expected of graduates in their future military and civilian careers.
Foreign language education is also part of the programme. In addition to English, other modern languages such as French, Spanish and Russian are offered.
Students who have successfully participated in intensified foreign language training (usually English) certified in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Office of Languages (Standardised Language Profile SLP 3332) prior to their studies are awarded eight credit points by HSU.
Structure of the Degree Programmes
Courses at Helmut Schmidt University start in early October of each year. The academic year is divided into trimesters (autumn, winter and spring trimester). Each trimester lasts twelve weeks. The spring trimester ends with a lecture-free period from July to September. During this time, internships, project work, excursions and seminars take place, which are offered in so-called “summer modules”.
As a rule, the Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering lasts seven trimesters and consists of compulsory and optional modules and a dissertation. Students who have not yet met all the academic requirements of the bachelor’s programme may be admitted to the master’s programme on a provisional basis. Students who have obtained 180 credit points with a grade of 3.0 or better by the end of the eighth trimester can continue their master’s programme. Students who do not meet these requirements may obtain the necessary credit points in the ninth trimester to successfully complete their bachelor’s degree.
Master’s programmes take five trimesters (eighth to twelfth trimester) and end with the completion of a master’s thesis. The master’s programmes expand and deepen the basic knowledge and skills acquired in the bachelor’s programme.
The first phase of the bachelor’s programme (1st to 4th trimester) involves teaching the fundamentals of mathematics and the natural sciences or deepening this knowledge. This part of the programme includes courses in mathematics, chemistry, electrical engineering, mechanics, thermodynamics and materials science. Physics is taught as part of the above-mentioned subjects. In addition, an introduction to electronic data processing and technical drawing (CAD) provides the basis for courses in engineering subjects. These courses begin as early as the 3rd trimester with the subject of machine elements and, particularly from the 4th trimester on, with core engineering subjects, such as fluid dynamics, heat transfer, dynamics of machinery, production engineering, metrology and automation technology. The increasing importance of methods based on information technology is taken into account by offering courses in computer science, numerics, industrial data processing and computational methods.
Upon completion of the bachelor’s programme, students can choose a master’s programme from the field of mechanical engineering. Students are therefore able to specialise in an area of their choice. There is a choice between master’s programmes in Power and Environmental Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Mechatronics and New Product Development and Logistics.
The Master’s in Power and Environmental Engineering focuses on the fundamentals. Students are able to deeper their knowledge of mathematics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer as well as in methods of control engineering. In addition to heat and mass transfer, the subject of energy and waste technology was also integrated into the curriculum as a compulsory subject that is specific to the master’s programme. Depending on the choice of subjects, this master’s programme gives students the opportunity to gain deeper knowledge in one of two specialisation subjects: power engineering or environmental engineering.
In the Master’s in Automotive Engineering there is greater emphasis on the compulsory subjects. These include advanced lectures on mathematics, numerics, mechanics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, dynamics of machinery and control engineering.
Moreover, the basic subjects constitute the necessary preparation that allows students to specialise. During specialisation, students become acquainted with the fundamentals of automotive engineering. The compulsory part consists of the subjects of virtual product development, automotive engineering and internal combustion engines. In addition, students may also specialise in marine engineering. This course is conducted in cooperation with Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH).
In the first phase of the Master’s in Mechatronics, students must first complete the courses in the compulsory subjects. These are advanced lectures on mathematics, numerics, mechanics, fluid mechanics, dynamics of machinery, computer science and control engineering. These compulsory subjects are designed to reflect the concept of mechatronics without being specifically tailored to it. In addition, there is the specific compulsory subject Mechatronic Systems.
Students choose from a number of courses of varying duration. This involves selecting one specialist subject area and deciding whether to focus on applied mechanics, automation technology or defence engineering.
Applied mechanics and automation technology, as the foundations of mechatronics, lend themselves as main fields of study. The main field of defence engineering is to be understood as applied mechatronics. Advanced, highly dynamic weapon systems, smart munition and autonomous unmanned reconnaissance systems would not be conceivable without mechatronics. This main field of study takes into account the current occupational choice of the majority of students and what has become a common area of interest.
The Master’s in New Product Development and Logistics includes a large number of optional subjects in addition to the compulsory subjects. In the 8th and 9th trimesters students must complete mostly the courses in the compulsory subjects. These include advanced lectures on mathematics, numerics, mechanics, dynamics of machinery, control engineering and fundamentals of product development. The compulsory subjects are designed to reflect the way that master’s programmes offered at universities allow subject specialisation as well as the opportunity to deepen the basic knowledge acquired at the level of a bachelor’s programme. These basic subjects provide the students with the methods needed to deal with more complex tasks and challenges. They help to lay the foundation for a challenging assignment in research and development or for future work towards a doctorate. Moreover, the basic subjects constitute the necessary preparation for students to specialise in New Product Development and Logistics. Specialising involves choosing subjects, in accordance with the student’s individual interests, from the areas of Product Development, Production and Logistics.
Interdisciplinary Studies are an obligatory component of all programmes offered at Helmut Schmidt University.
On these courses, students are taught general professional skills. These skills are interdisciplinary in nature and complement the respective specialised studies. They are required for the officer’s profession and in civilian occupations later in life. The specific skills qualifying graduates for professions in their selected field are taught in the specialised courses of study.
The teaching programme in Interdisciplinary Studies has a sound academic basis. In addition to subject-related content, methods and concepts are taught that are integral to the respective subject fields. The purpose of Interdisciplinary Studies is to provide the students with the skills needed to reflect, analyse and take action, and to enable them to take responsible decisions and steps in the fields of politics, society, culture, the economy and technology.
The modules offered are from the following fields:
- Art, literature and history as well as politics, society, education;
- Mathematics, nature and engineering;
- Economics and law.
- Bachelor of Science
Master of Science
Students who successfully complete the bachelor’s programme are awarded the academic degree of Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Mechanical Engineering.
Students who successfully complete the master’s programme are awarded the academic degree of Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Power and Environmental Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Mechatronics or New Product Development and Logistics. The master’s degree is the requirement for admission to doctoral studies in accordance with the respective doctoral regulations.
Job Market and Occupational Fields
With the right combination of qualifications and personal qualities, engineers will develop professional competence and take responsibility in different fields of industry, the economy and society
- as specialists in research and development;
- in product development, design and planning;
- in integrative and interdisciplinary activities in project teams;
- in staff functions with cross-sectional tasks;
- in leadership and management at different hierarchy levels;
- as entrepreneurs, consultants and test engineers;
- as teachers at various educational establishments.
Graduates with a Master’s in Power Engineering assume specialist tasks and executive functions in power plant construction, which includes the supply industry for machines and plants, in power utility companies and in companies that operate their own power supply. They plan, develop, design, build and operate machines and plants for energy generation, conversion, storage and distribution. They may also work in sales departments, provide advisory service to customers with regard to applications and work as freelance engineering consultants, in associations and organisations, as advisors and experts or in teaching and research.
Engineers in the field of environmental engineering work for the manufacturers of industrial plants, in public administration as well as in engineering firms or associations. They prepare, for example, environmental concepts to improve polluted ground and water and deal with aspects such as immission control and compliance with the standards of environmentally sound waste and wastewater treatment, developing and implementing appropriate environmental and nature conservation concepts. In addition, they are involved in approval procedures and monitor environmental facilities. In industrial enterprises they may also work as commissioners and environmental protection officers.
The occupational fields of engineers in automotive engineering are extremely varied and can be illustrated very well by looking at how a vehicle is constructed.
Once the basic idea has been developed, this is followed by concept studies, which allow rough decisions to be made with regard to the technical characteristics of the product, the costs, the required investment, producibility and, in particular, marketing.
Even in this early phase there is close cooperation between the development engineer and the cost planning and manufacturing divisions. As a result of this early development phase, the product design specification is prepared, which contains binding requirements for the development of a vehicle, including any new functionalities or adaptations that have to be implemented. Furthermore, the budget for the development of the new product, the product costs and the production schedule will be determined in the product design specification. The extremely complex structure of a modern vehicle requires an intensive division of labour with the major assembly units being combined to create modules and developed simultaneously in the areas of car body, undercarriage, braking system, interior and propulsion system. In this process computational simulation methods are of central importance to ensure that all components are designed in such a way that they have the appropriate structural strength. In addition, simulation methods are used to optimally adapt the propulsion system to the vehicle.
The engineering department works closely with the computation department to design the components and their arrangement in the vehicle as a whole and provides the data basis for suppliers and internal manufacturing so that the necessary ideas for the subsequent implementation of assembly and manufacturing processes can be realised at a very early date. Finally, initial concept demonstrators will be produced on the basis of the constructional design and used to create a prototype vehicle. Another area is the testing of components such as engines, gearboxes, undercarriage parts or braking systems as well as the world-wide testing of the vehicle as a whole, including the application of electronic control systems.
After approval of series production has been granted, the development engineer will be involved in the process of production preparation and in the production process up to and including quality monitoring. Very often a product in series production will undergo further technical development or extensive model evolution. The occupational fields and fields of work outlined above can also be found in this area.
Since a large number of interfaces have to be taken into consideration, engineers in automotive engineering have to work in a team and have the possibility to assume leadership responsibility at a very early stage. Flexibility is required since engineers tackle the technical and economic problems of associated subject areas while at the same time being experts in their respective fields.
Mechatronics engineers are in high demand on the job market. When employers are looking for mechatronics engineers, it is often written in the small print of the job adverts that mechanical and electrical engineers are also invited to apply. This overall picture is typical of the requirements of the industry and of the interdisciplinary nature of the profession of mechatronics engineer.
With their comprehensive systemic thinking, mechatronics engineers are predestined for research and development jobs. However, the handling of mechatronic systems is also part of daily work in production engineering and production and is thus also required.
Due to their ability to communicate with experts of different disciplines, mechatronics engineers are also sought in sales and planning as well.
Job opportunities for mechatronics engineers are available in many areas of mechanical and electrical engineering as well as in areas of aerospace engineering. A complete list of the job opportunities cannot be provided here, but automotive engineering, medical engineering, process automation, consumer electronics and plant engineering may serve as examples.
Apart from the traditional areas of activity for engineers, the field of logistics is increasingly gaining importance. Rapid development in the field of logistics is primarily based on technical innovations. Economic globalisation, for example, would hardly be conceivable without a highly efficient flow of goods facilitated by container shipping and a worldwide communication network. German industry’s strong focus on exports also requires efficient logistics. For many years, in-house logistics (materials handling technology, warehouse engineering and material flow technology) has been one of the largest lines of business in German mechanical and plant engineering.
Technical logistics, i.e. the technical part of the transdisciplinary subject area of logistics, thus plays a key role for Germany’s further economic development. Over the next 20 to 30 years, the progressive mechanisation and automation of logistic processes is expected to create an increased demand for engineers who have sound knowledge and skills in the three areas of logistics, product development and production.
Application forms are available at your nearest Bundeswehr careers information office. Names and contact information of Bundeswehr career advisors can be found in the telephone directory under “Bundeswehr” or online at www.bundeswehr-karriere.de. Telephone hotline: 0800 9800880.
The following requirements must be met for admission to a degree programme:
1. General higher education entrance qualification (Abitur);
2. Basic internship in accordance with programme regulations.
For officer candidates of the Bundeswehr this also includes:
3. Successful completion of the officer examination;
4. Temporary-career enlistment for 13 years in the career of regimental officer.
Regimental officer applicants will be invited to a two-day test at the Centre for Testing Applicants for Commissioned Service in Cologne, where academic options will also be discussed. In order to be admitted to a master’s programme, students must have a corresponding bachelor’s degree with a final grade of “satisfactory” (3.0) or better. Please see the programme and examination regulations for further details.
Where capacities allow, civilian students may also study at Helmut Schmidt University and thus benefit from its excellent facilities. Civilian students are sponsored by cooperating companies that provide industry scholarships to pay tuition fees.
Preparation for the Degree Programme
For the mechanical engineering programme and the master’s programmes that build on it, students should have a good knowledge of mathematics and curiosity about economic developments as well as about engineering problems. Prospective students should be aware that an intensive course of study at Helmut Schmidt University requires good time management skills and that they are expected to acquire considerable knowledge within a short period of time.
- On career paths and assignment opportunities in the Bundeswehr: http://www.bundeswehr-karriere.de
- On educational and employment opportunities: http://www.studienwahl.de
- On studying at German universities: http://www.hochschulkompass.de
Advisory Services / Contact Information
Advisory services are provided by designated members of the academic staff of each faculty.
Dean of Studies
Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karsten Meier
Phone: +49 (0)40 6541-2735
E-Mail: [email protected]
Students who wish to study at HSU within the framework of a cooperation with a company, foundation, authority or other institutional partner, as well as soldiers who wish to study at HSU within the framework of the BFD, should contact university marketing :
Phone: +49 (0)40 6541-3855
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: +49 (0)40 6541-3652
E-Mail: [email protected]
On the basis of the autonomy guaranteed by the Bundeswehr in its capacity as an employer and the legal supervision exercised by Hamburg’s Ministry of Science and Research, Helmut Schmidt University / Bundeswehr University, Hamburg carries out the same teaching and research tasks as public universities.
The four faculties of HSU offer a total of eight bachelor’s programmes and twelve master’s programmes in eight specialist fields. All programmes were accredited by the Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute (ACQUIN) in 2007. Given the favourable conditions for studying at HSU, all programmes are intensive study programmes in which students can acquire up to 75 credit points per year. It is possible for students to obtain a bachelor’s degree after seven trimesters.
Helmut Schmidt University campus is located in Wandsbek, a borough in the east of Hamburg. It is easy to reach both by public transport and by car. It takes approximately 20 minutes to travel to the centre of Hamburg. All education and research facilities are situated close to one another and can be reached on foot in just a few minutes (main campus). About 80 % of the students live in student accommodation situated in the nearby campus areas Stoltenstrasse and Jenfelder Allee.
Letzte Änderung: 18. January 2021