Welcome from the Director

David Erickson

Welcome to the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University.

The Sibley School is one with deep roots that have helped shape mechanical and aerospace engineering education, research, and practice in the United States from its earliest days.  Opening its doors in 1868 the “Sibley College of the Mechanic Arts”, as it would become known shortly thereafter, we first offered a 4-year Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in 1873-4 and courses in aeronautics as early as the 1930s. 

Even with our long history, now is an exceptionally exciting time for the Sibley School. With the completion of the new Upson Hall, we are primed with one of the top facilities in the world for mechanical and aerospace education and research.  Our research activities have grown nearly 60% in the last three years, as we expand our efforts in robotics, autonomy, advanced manufacturing, space systems, sustainability, and bioengineering.  This enables us to offer one of the most highly ranked, research-intensive, graduate programs in the world including the largest cohort of Ph.D. students in our history, the recent establishment of our MS degree and a strengthening of our long-standing M.Eng program.   Mechanical Engineering remains the most popular undergraduate major in the College of Engineering.  We’ve kicked off new educational programs that incorporate communications, leadership and hands-on work into our curriculum – helping to create then next generation of engineering leaders.  The entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing within MAE, with our graduate and undergraduate students are immersing themselves in the expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem.  To keep up on all the latest details on the department, I invite you to download the latest version of our MAE Newsletter

As we look to the future of the Sibley School, I am reminded of a quote that Robert Thurston, Sibley College Director in 1885, made at the second annual meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1891

“When every man and woman, every boy and girl in the land is guaranteed the privilege of learning any business or engaging in any profession – a long step in advance will have been taken.”

This quote is as true today as it was then.  It speaks to the breadth of opportunity we strive to offer but also to the school’s responsibility to ensure that our program matches what future engineers will need so they can have an impact, become leaders, and become the ones who create and deliver on the big ideas of the future.

It is my honor to serve as the Director of the Sibley School and I thank you for your interest in it.  I encourage you to apply to join our exciting programs.


Prof. David Erickson

SZ Thomas Sze Director and Sibley College Professor

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Cornell University