Best Engineering Schools in the U.S.
Like many other STEM degrees, engineering students will find their skills in high demand among modern employers. Receiving a degree from one of the best engineering schools in the country can greatly increase your chances of being hired. Engineering students should take the time to research which engineering school is right for them. Students may want to consider various factors, including on-site research opportunities, budget, location, and the niche programs the school may offer.
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Engineering students will face a demanding workload in college, taking calculus, physics, computer science classes, and more. A degree from one of the best engineering schools may be worth pursuing students who are gifted in computational reasoning and other STEM skills. Engineering students may also want to narrow their focus to a particular engineering area, such as aerospace engineering or chemical engineering. Many disciplines fall under engineering, but they are quite different from each other and may require very different classes.
Students interested in one engineering area should look for engineering schools with good programs, qualified professors, and ample research opportunities. Just because an engineering school is known for one particular program, such as electrical engineering, does not mean that all the other engineering programs are as good. As a result, engineering majors should research what each school can offer them. For more help in choosing a college or discovering your academic priorities, check out this article on how to choose a college.
Engineering students have diverse courses available to them and, consequently, many possible career paths they can pursue later on. Students with an engineering degree can also measurably contribute to society by building bridges, maintaining computer systems, and creating new and innovative solutions to complex problems.
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Top Engineering Schools
Below are some of the best engineering schools in the country. Each of these engineering schools provides students with hands-on experience in their respective fields and an impressive network of alumni in various STEM fields.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As one of the best engineering schools, MIT is renowned for its excellent engineering programs, which are consistently ranked among the best in the world. MIT has a strong focus on science, technology, and engineering and offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in engineering. The university has several prestigious research centers and institutes, including the MIT Energy Initiative, the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the MIT Media Lab.
MIT is well known for its commitment to research and innovation and has produced several groundbreaking discoveries and inventions over the years. The university is also renowned for its strong entrepreneurial culture, as MIT alumni have founded several successful startup companies.
Stanford University is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Some of the most popular majors include computer science, human biology, and engineering. Stanford also offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in engineering.
The university is home to several prestigious research centers and institutes, including the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research, and the Stanford Center for Energy Storage Research. Stanford is well known for its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, with several successful companies having been founded by Stanford alumni.
There are many engineering disciplines, and each college has a few particular areas they excel in. Knowing what engineering area you want to major in can make it easier to choose a college. For undecided engineering students, read this article on what to major in to help you choose.
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Caltech is a private research university located in Pasadena, California. The top three majors at this engineering school are computer science, mechanical engineering, and physics. Caltech offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in engineering. It is home to several prestigious research centers and institutes, including the Caltech Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies, the Caltech Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions, and the Caltech Center for Data-Driven Discovery.
Caltech is known for its commitment to research and innovation and has produced several groundbreaking discoveries and inventions over the years. The university is also renowned for its strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with several faculty members working across multiple fields of study.
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly called Georgia Tech, is a public research university in Atlanta, Georgia. Several prestigious research centers and institutes are on-site, including the Georgia Tech Research Institute, the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, and the Georgia Tech Institute for Materials. Students interested in computer and information sciences or mechanical engineering may want to look into this engineering school.
Georgia Tech is well known for its commitment to research and innovation, making it an ideal engineering college for students looking to work in professional labs or research settings. The university is also renowned for its strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Students will also benefit from Georgia Tech's strong alumni network of entrepreneurs and tech leaders.
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university located in Berkeley, California. This engineering school is renowned for its computer science, computer and information sciences, and electrical engineering programs. Some on-campus research opportunities include the UC Berkeley Energy Biosciences Institute, the UC Berkeley Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, and the UC Berkeley Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.
UC Berkeley is a well-rounded engineering school that is ranked in the top three schools for civil engineering and computer engineering. The university is also renowned for its strong focus on sustainability and environmental research, with several research centers and institutes dedicated to this field of study.
UC Berkeley is a good choice for students interested primarily in computer science and computer engineering. Students interested in these areas may also want to apply for major-specific scholarships to help pay for their degrees. Read here for a list of available computer science scholarships.
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The university is renowned for its exceptional engineering programs, including computer and information sciences, business administration, and mechanical engineering. The University of Michigan offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for engineering majors. Students can use the on-site research centers and institutes, including the Michigan Institute for Plasma Science and Engineering, the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences, and the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care.
The University of Michigan is renowned for its strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with several faculty members working across multiple fields of study. Engineering majors who want to study adjacent fields such as business may want to consider this school. The University of Michigan is also known for its diverse student body and far-reaching alumni network.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Carnegie Mellon is home to several prestigious research centers and institutes, including the Robotics Institute, the Software Engineering Institute, and the Human-Computer Interaction Institute. Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students can apply to study computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering, among other popular majors.
Though known for its STEM programs, Carnegie Mellon is ranked within the top 25 schools nationally, making it a well-rounded college to receive a degree. This engineering college has strong programs across many disciplines, so it may be an ideal school for students seeking an interdisciplinary degree.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public research university in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois. Engineering students interested in computer engineering or computer science should strongly consider this school. Students can engage in several research centers on campus, including the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the Grainger College of Engineering, and the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's School of Information Sciences, College of Engineering, and Department of Psychology are all considered extremely strong programs. This school is committed to designing flexible programs to accommodate a student's interest in their field.
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university located in Austin, Texas. Engineering majors considering computer and information sciences or electrical engineering may benefit from the strong programs offered at the University of Texas. several prestigious research centers and institutes, including the Cockrell School of Engineering, the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, and the Texas Materials Institute.
The University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering offers a wide range of programs, including aerospace engineering, architectural engineering, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and more. Students may also be interested in the Informatics program at the School of Information.
Purdue University is a public research university in West Lafayette, Indiana. Engineering students can benefit from hands-on experience at the Purdue Research Park, the Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience, and the Birck Nanotechnology Center. Prospective students should consider applying to computer science, mechanical engineering, or industrial engineering programs.
Purdue University is well known for its impressive engineering programs. Undergraduates can explore each of the disciplines offered at Purdue's College of Engineering before making a decision on what topic they want to explore further. Purdue may be an ideal choice for engineering students who aren't yet sure which engineering field is right for them.
Frequently asked questions
How hard is engineering?
Studying engineering can be difficult as it will require engineering students to score well in subjects like physics or chemistry. Typically, these classes are considered harder than other academic areas, such as history or language.
Engineering students may need to invest more time into studying than students of other majors to maintain their grades. In addition, many engineering students may consider pursuing a higher degree by attending graduate school. This means that it’s even more important to maintain good undergraduate grades despite the difficulty of the coursework.
The ability to solve real problems is one of the most obvious reasons why an engineering degree is desirable to employers. It’s assumed that the education of an engineering major will include a good amount of hands-on experience with fixing and maintaining various systems. As a result, engineering students will need to face and overcome complex problems in their coursework to prepare themselves for employment. An engineering student who can’t apply their knowledge to a real societal issue will not be employed for long.
Is an engineering degree worth it?
Engineering degrees are highly marketable and often allow students to enter the workforce with a higher starting salary than others. Most students will find at least some of their engineering classes academically challenging. The stress and additional responsibilities of moving to college can compound the difficulty of coursework. To learn how to handle college life more effectively, read this article on how to successfully transition to college.
However, pursuing an engineering degree will still be worth it as long the student has a good academic foundation and enjoys the application of their coursework. In other words, every college student will have to take a few classes they don’t like, but as long as those classes do not make up the brunt of your major, you may still be able to do well. Software engineers, for example, will likely have no trouble finding employment, even if they struggle with one or two basic physics classes. On the other hand, an aerospace engineering student must have a good foundation in physics to continue.
As the course load may be demanding, engineering majors should think carefully about their strengths and whether or not they can complete their degrees. It’s also important to pick the right engineering area to focus on to maximize your natural talents. For engineering students capable of passing most of their classes, a degree from one of the top engineering schools will be worth it. Students who are academically gifted in their discipline and enjoy solving complex problems will flourish in their chosen engineering field.
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