Best Engineering Colleges in the U.S.

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Why a degree in engineering?

Let’s face it, you’re smart. You passed science and math classes with flying colors, and you are the “go-to” when it comes to computer help. You probably took apart a lot of things in your childhood just to see how they worked. Now here you are, ready to literally build the future.

How to prepare for an engineering degree

Engineering has a lot of positives. As suspected, student debt won’t be a concern since finding an engineering career with a starting salary less than $55,000 or an average salary less than $85,000 is more difficult than learning the RubixCube pattern. If money isn’t your driving factor, how about the 85% of engineers who are satisfied with their jobs*, despite longer workdays.

It’s the challenges every day that keep engineers and their ticking minds happy. So if you think you can hack it out with the best of them, brush the dust off that TI84 and get ready. It really is rocket science.

*Evaluation Enginering, EE-Evaluation Engineering’s 2013 salary survey,

Best Engineering Colleges in the U.S. for 2021

Rank School Name Location Description   Rating
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA

It’s no coincidence that MIT’s mascot is a beaver. The critter purposely was selected because of its "remarkable engineering and mechanical skill and its habits of industry." The prestigious institution has a variety of well-regarded programs, but engineering is its soul. In fact, about 60 percent of MIT’s undergrads and 45 percent of grad students are enrolled in the School of Engineering. Faculty are distinguished scholars involved in cutting-edge research in areas ranging from genetics and cancer to transportation and national security. Alliances with the federal government, private foundations, and more than 800 companies fund their extensive efforts. Through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program students get in on the action with projects such as creating innovative medical devices, designing a new Navy ship, or 3D printing tissue for experiments. Aligned with MIT’s emphasis on innovation, students have plenty of chances to pursue their own research, too. You might even win the annual MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, one of the nation’s top contests for turning great ideas into successful companies.

Based on 40 Reviews
2 Stanford University Stanford, CA

A top-notch faculty, 65 state-of-the art university centers and labs, intelligent and supportive classmates – what else could an engineering major desire? Well, how about a pristine campus located in sunny California in the heart of Silicon Valley with opportunities for internships, learning experiences, and employment abound? Stanford’s School of Engineering has been at the forefront of innovation for nearly a century -- engineering faculty and graduates have founded an estimated 12,700 companies over the decades -- and shows no signs of slowing down. Engineering is one of the university’s most popular majors, and roughly 1,600 undergraduates and 3,200 graduate students seek degrees through the school’s nine academic departments: Aeronautics and Astronautics, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Management Science and Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Curiosity-driven research that crosses disciplines or even schools is encouraged, as seen by the School of Engineering’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, which brings together students and faculty in engineering, business, education, medicine, and the humanities to learn design thinking and work together to solve big problems in a human-centered way. Think outside the boundaries, and you may be on your way to being Stanford’s next successful alum!

Based on 64 Reviews
3 Harvard University Cambridge, MA

Harvard University offers 33 Engineering Degree programs. It's a large private university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 628 students graduated in the study area of Engineering with students earning 464 Master's degrees, 97 Bachelor's degrees, 63 Doctoral degrees, and 4 Certificates degrees.

Based on 44 Reviews
4 California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA

California Institute of Technology offers 33 Engineering Degree programs. It's a small private university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 224 students graduated in the study area of Engineering with students earning 87 Bachelor's degrees, 71 Master's degrees, 65 Doctoral degrees, and 1 Certificates degree.

Based on 4 Reviews
5 Yale University New Haven, CT

Yale University offers 38 Engineering Degree programs. It's a large private university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 425 students graduated in the study area of Engineering with students earning 169 Master's degrees, 163 Bachelor's degrees, 57 Certificates degrees, and 36 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 12 Reviews
6 Princeton University Princeton, NJ

Princeton University offers 19 Engineering Degree programs. It's a medium sized private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 475 students graduated in the study area of Engineering with students earning 280 Bachelor's degrees, 109 Master's degrees, and 86 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 28 Reviews
7 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania offers 57 Engineering Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 1,179 students graduated in the study area of Engineering with students earning 664 Master's degrees, 374 Bachelor's degrees, 107 Doctoral degrees, and 34 Certificates degrees.

Based on 56 Reviews
8 Duke University Durham, NC

Duke University offers 30 Engineering Degree programs. It's a large private university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 1,073 students graduated in the study area of Engineering with students earning 488 Master's degrees, 471 Bachelor's degrees, and 114 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 24 Reviews
9 Rice University Houston, TX

Rice University offers 46 Engineering Degree programs. It's a medium sized private university in a large city. In 2015, 562 students graduated in the study area of Engineering with students earning 336 Bachelor's degrees, 155 Master's degrees, and 71 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 4 Reviews
10 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University offers 40 Engineering Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 505 students graduated in the study area of Engineering with students earning 351 Bachelor's degrees, 97 Doctoral degrees, and 57 Master's degrees.

Based on 28 Reviews

List of all Engineering Colleges in the U.S.

Degree Levels
  • Associate's
  • Bachelor's
  • Certificates
  • Doctoral
  • Master's
Program Length
  • Less than 2 years (below associate)
  • At least 2 but less than 4 years
  • Four or more years
Control Type
  • Private for-profit
  • Private not-for-profit
  • Public
School Logo School Name Average tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
8 : 1 11,331
Stanford University Stanford University Stanford, CA
6 : 1 16,980
Harvard University Harvard University Cambridge, MA
14 : 1 29,652
California Institute of Technology California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA
7 : 1 2,255
Yale University Yale University New Haven, CT
5 : 1 12,385
Princeton University Princeton University Princeton, NJ
9 : 1 8,138
University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
12 : 1 24,876
Duke University Duke University Durham, NC
5 : 1 15,984
Rice University Rice University Houston, TX
10 : 1 6,719
Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
4 : 1 12,567
Cornell University Cornell University Ithaca, NY
12 : 1 21,904
Northwestern University Northwestern University Evanston, IL
10 : 1 21,655
University of Southern California University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
16 : 1 43,401
Washington University in St Louis Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO
9 : 1 14,688
Stevens Institute of Technology Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ
20 : 1 6,359
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art New York, NY
10 : 1 972
Johns Hopkins University Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
6 : 1 22,686
University Logo Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Atlanta, GA
23 : 1 25,034
University of Notre Dame University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
11 : 1 12,292
University of California-Berkeley University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA
21 : 1 38,189
Colorado School of Mines Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO
19 : 1 6,054
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY
16 : 1 6,982
Brown University Brown University Providence, RI
12 : 1 9,458
Tufts University Tufts University Medford, MA
11 : 1 11,137
University of Virginia-Main Campus University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
11 : 1 23,883

Find Local Colleges with Engineering Majors in the U.S.

Top Schools offering Engineering Degrees in the U.S.

Questions About Engineering Degrees

What are the different degrees I can get in engineering?

Engineering undergrads frequently choose a specific area of study—such as chemical, mechanical, electrical, aerospace, biomedical, civil, industrial, computer, or environmental engineering— and pursue a Bachelor of Science degree. Interested in the liberal arts too? Try a program such as the one at Dartmouth College. Within five years, engineering sciences majors there complete requirements for both a Bachelor of Arts degree and the professional Bachelor of Engineering degree.

Students wishing to continue their engineering education frequently pursue a Master of Science degree. Practicing engineers often choose places with a Master of Engineering program to bolster their career advancement in applied engineering or engineering management. Looking to become an entrepreneur? Combine technical knowledge with business acumen through a dual-degree program resulting in both an MS and an MBA.

What are some of the skills and experiences I will gain through engineering?

Sure, you’ll learn the science behind how roller coasters loop and how cruise control operates a car. But also be ready to roll up your sleeves. Hands-on experiences rule in most modern engineering programs. At Harvey Mudd College, for instance, Intro to Engineering Design students take apart a pencil sharpener on day one and write a report on it. And you’ll definitely gain an appreciation of the collaborative process in any 21st-century engineering program. Leadership, teamwork, and communication skills get put to the test when classes divide into groups to work together on real-life challenges, such as saving energy or purifying water. You’ll be encouraged to think outside the box and test (and adjust and retest) your novel ideas. And you’ll likely have some pretty nifty items at your disposal. Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy bring their ideas to life in an electrical engineering lab with state-of-the-art equipment valued at over $10 million dollars. The school also keeps over 1,000 electrical parts in stock so students can spend less time waiting and more time creating.

What are engineering programs seeking in their applicants?

Math, math, math. For its engineering class of 2019, the mid-50% SAT math range for students at Cornell University was 740 to 800! Outstanding scores on standardized tests definitely help you get noticed. Oh yeah, and physics too. Admissions committees like to see a high school transcript showing success in challenging courses, especially honors-level or Advanced Placement ones in science and math. Seal the deal with extracurriculars displaying leadership ability, teamwork, and passion. Your time as student council president, scoring leader at mathletes, or prized team member of the robotics club could give you an important edge.

Should I study engineering online or on a campus?

While opportunities do exist for undergrads to pursue engineering through online study, the most extensive offerings come at the graduate level. Institutions realize that practicing professionals benefit from flexible continuing-education options. In fact, 98 percent of students in the University of Southern California’s top-notch online graduate engineering program hold a job at the time of enrollment. Popular online specializations include electrical, computer, software, and mechanical engineering.

What are some cutting-edge careers in this industry?

Got a passion for protecting the planet? Environmental engineers work on issues such as waste disposal, water treatment, air pollution, and a range of other sustainability efforts that affect our world. They also earn a good deal of green – about $40 per hour.* And then there’s biomedical engineering – using engineering principles to solve health-related problems. With Baby Boomers aging, this field continues to grow because older Americans require health devices such as knee and hip replacements. Add to that the potential created by constant advances in 3D printing, and it’s an exciting time for biomedical engineers.


How do you work your way to the top in the engineering industry?

Yes, employers will be looking for an impressive college transcript. But to really turn heads, present a portfolio of projects you worked on while earning a degree. This action not only demonstrates passion, it shows that you can apply what you learned in class. For working professionals looking for promotions, an advanced degree can be helpful. Consider business classes along with your engineering studies. You’ll be looked at not only as technically proficient but also as a leader capable of negotiating, organizing, and seeing the bottom line. And do everything you can to gain a reputation as a team player. People shine when they get along with co-workers at all levels and communicate ideas effectively.

Are there scholarships or grants available to people looking to study engineering?

In 2015 the Society of Women Engineers gave out more than 200 new and renewed scholarships valued at more than $660,000. Any aspiring engineer should check out the National Society of Professional Engineers. Revamping its scholarship programs in 2016, opportunities look particularly promising for 2017. Note too that the National Science Foundation is on a mission to create a globally competitive workforce. Check directly with the group for scholarships available to students entering STEM fields. And also talk with your individual school – the NSF gives some funds directly to certain institutions to distribute as they see fit.

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