The Best Colleges for Engineering

Are you interested in becoming an engineer? Engineers are professionals who are at the forefront of creating innovative solutions to problems, in turn spurring the economy. Without engineers, the world would cease to progress and advance in technology and wellbeing.

Today, there are several exciting and challenging fields that engineering students pursue. If you’re interested in studying engineering, then this article is for you. Below is a list of the best engineering schools in the US and their corresponding engineering programs.

Rundown: The Best Colleges for Engineering in 2021

For accuracy, all the details below were taken from the university websites themselves. Note that the figures listed only pertain to the standard tuition costs for undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor’s degree. This means that any expenses associated with housing, books and supplies, student service fees, meal allowance, and so on are excluded.

School Degrees and Tuition Online Options State
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Aeronautics and Astronautics
Biological Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Materials Science and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear Science and Engineering
The standard tuition for 2021-22 is $55,510.
No MA
University of California, Berkeley Bioengineering
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences
Energy Engineering
Engineering Mathematics & Statistics
Engineering Physics
Environmental Engineering Science
Industrial Engineering & Operations Research
Materials Science & Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear Engineering
The standard tuition for 2021-22 is $14,254.
No CA
Stanford University Aeronautics and Astronautics
Bioengineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Environmental Systems Engineering
Management Science and Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Interdisciplinary options also available
The standard tuition for 2021-22 is $55,473.
MOOCs are only available for nine accredited master’s degrees,
over 25 graduate and professional courses, and individual lectures.
CA
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Aerospace Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Environmental Engineering
Space Sciences & Engineering
Engineering Physics
Electrical Engineering
Climate & Meteorology
Industrial & Operations Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences
Materials Science & Engineering
Civil Engineering
Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Computer Engineering
The standard tuition rates for 2021-22 are as follows:
$8,311 for residents, and $26,072 for non-residents.
Master’s Only MI
Georgia Institute of Technology Aerospace Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear & Radiological Engineering
The standard tuition rates for 2021-22 are as follows:
$10,258 for residents, and $31,370 for non-residents.
Select Master’s Only GA
Harvard University Bioengineering
Electrical Engineering
Environmental Science & Engineering
Materials Science & Mechanical Engineering
The standard tuition for 2020-21 was $49,653.
Online Engineering Certificate Courses Available MA
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Aerospace Engineering
Engineering Mechanics
Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Bioengineering
Industrial Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Computer Engineering
Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering
Systems Engineering and Design
Electrical Engineering
The estimated tuition rates for 2021-22 are as follows:
$16,866 to $21,960 for residents, $34,316 to $39,410 for non-residents,
and $35,206 to $44,758 for international students.
Master’s Only IL
University of Texas at Austin Aerospace Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Architectural Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Computational Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Environmental Engineering
Geosystems Engineering and Hydrogeology
Mechanical Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
The estimated tuition rates for 2021-22 are as follows:
$10,858 to $13,576 for residents, and $38,650 to $46,498 for non-residents.
No TX
Carnegie Mellon University Biomedical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Engineering & Public Policy
Materials Science & Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
The standard tuition for 2021-22 is $57,560.
Master of Software Engineering Only PA
Purdue University – West Lafayette Aeronautics and Astronautics
Agricultural & Biological Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Construction Engineering Management
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Environmental & Ecological Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies
Materials Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Multidisciplinary Engineering
Nuclear Engineering
The standard tuition rates for 2020-21 were as follows:
$9,992 for residents, $28,794 for non-residents, and $30,794
for international students.
Students taking engineering programs must pay an additional fee of $2,050.
Master’s Degrees, Graduate Certificates,
and Professional Certificates
IN
Choosing the Right Engineering Program

Choosing the Right Engineering Program

Before committing to any engineering program, it’s important to evaluate several aspects. Below are the top five factors you should consider when looking for the right engineering program.

Personal Interest

First and foremost, you should ask yourself what engineering program you’re interested in. What subfield are you passionate about? Which field do you think you could best apply your skills to?

If, for instance, you’re interested in computer systems, then computer science engineering might be a good choice. If you’re passionate about creating infrastructures that influence people’s lives, you might want to consider pursuing civil engineering.

Remember that taking on an engineering program will demand your time, focus, and money. It’s therefore vital that you enjoy what you’re learning at the same time.

Quality

It isn’t enough to know which specific engineering field strikes your fancy. You’ll also need to determine which program will best equip you with the necessary skills to thrive in your career.

Do your research. What’s the scope of the program? How strong are the curricula and teaching staff? Cost is usually not a good indicator of quality. Many public universities like the University of Michigan, for instance, are affordable yet offer excellent programs for engineering majors.

Cost

That said, the cost of attendance remains an important factor when considering which program to take. Although not a determinant of quality, the cost of a program will dictate whether you can afford it or not. This is where financial aid becomes important.

Look into any opportunities to apply for financial assistance or scholarship. Find out the upfront tuition and fees and whether there are different rates for in-state and out-of-state students.

Aligned with the cost is the return on your investment. Again, look into the employment rate for graduates of your prospective program. This will usually tell you whether it’s worth investing in a particular program or not.

Location

You should make sure that the college of your choice is at a convenient location. Is the campus close to your place of residence? What amenities and services are offered within or near the campus? A campus with a good location will have a stronger impact on your college life more than you think.

In the same vein, check whether your prospective engineering school has online degree offerings. Remote learning can come in handy if your school of choice is out of state. Online college programs also tend to be cheaper since you won’t have to pay for the use of any school facilities and equipment.

Career Services

The best colleges are known for their strong career services, such as counseling and postgraduate support networks. For instance, the Georgia Institute of Technology offers students a plethora of career services. These include internships, career seminars, mock interviews, and many others.

Research whether a college offers robust career services. Having these will help you successfully launch your career or prepare for graduate school.

Top Engineering Schools in the United States

So far, we’ve covered the most important characteristics of great schools. Now, it’s time to look at the top engineering schools in the United States.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tuition: $55,510

Starting off our list is the prestigious MIT. This university is a giant of higher education that US News & World Report consistently ranks as the top engineering school. MIT engineering students can pursue several in-depth majors taught by industry veterans.

MIT also has many opportunities for research and co-op programs for work-study. Aside from this, the school boasts a massive alumni network. This, coupled with its excellent international reputation, allows graduates to secure jobs easily.

MIT’s tuition rate may seem high. However, most students have access to financial aid options that reduce their tuition.

University of California, Berkeley

Tuition: $14,254

UC Berkeley has long been a top contender among engineering schools thanks to its strong curricula, experienced faculty, and robust services. The university is a hub for several exciting engineering programs, such as bioengineering, materials engineering, and nuclear engineering.

It also features top-rated career development services, involving counseling services, conferences, and professional workshops. Students can also benefit from the school’s extensive alumni network and experience-building programs that span internships, research, and entrepreneurship.

Stanford University

Stanford University ranks second among the best engineering schools in the US, according to US News. Its School of Engineering offers 16 undergraduate majors, plus the option to design your own. Along with its robust research programs, Stanford University offers students distinguished career development services and sufficient financial aid.

Its career services include a jobs or internships database, one-on-one career counseling, and on-campus events like career fairs and employer interviews.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

This university is one of Michigan’s largest and most prestigious public colleges, enrolling around 50,000 students each year. Its College of Engineering consistently ranks among the country’s top engineering schools. The college features strong programs in environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, and aerospace engineering, among others.

U-M features substantial career services. Graduate students can also choose from cross-disciplinary programs in several areas such as engineering education research. On top of its affordable tuition rate, the University of Michigan also offers students several financial aid opportunities.

Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Tech College of Engineering is an elite engineering school and one of the top public institutions in the nation. In the fall of 2020, Georgia Tech accepted over 16,000 students, thus making it the largest engineering school in the country.

The school also has 150 labs, centers, and affiliate programs involving students in research. Students who cannot pay out of pocket may apply for several financial aid opportunities and scholarships.

Harvard University

Tuition: $49,653

This university’s Grainger School of Engineering is consistently ranked among the top engineering programs in the world. Its high standing results from its reputation for excellence in education and research in every field.

Students of this university gain a first-hand understanding of engineering concepts, which they later use to develop real-world systems and services. They leave their respective programs with strong problem-solving skills and industry-grade engineering expertise.

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

This university’s Grainger School of Engineering is consistently ranked among the top engineering programs in the world. Its high standing results from its reputation for excellence in education and research in every field.

Students of this university gain a first-hand understanding of engineering concepts, which they later use to develop real-world systems and services. They leave their respective programs with strong problem-solving skills and industry-grade engineering expertise.

University of Texas at Austin

This university’s Cockrell School of Engineering ranks first among the engineering schools in Texas. UT-Austin has quickly become an incubator for the newest ventures in tech and engineering. Students can find several engaging programs of study from civil to geosystems engineering.

Most of UT’s professors are active industry consultants and experts. This allows students to gain real-world knowledge and understanding. UT Austin also provides students with an array of financial need options and plans to pay for tuition.

Carnegie Mellon University

Tuition: $57,560

Carnegie Mellon University ranks high among the country’s best engineering schools. Its College of Engineering is the oldest and largest college at the university. This makes its engineering programs tried and tested. CMU is also famous for its robust career services that include resume reviews, job search consultations, and internship programs.

Purdue University – West Lafayette

A major public college based in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue hosts many of the country’s top engineering programs. Its College of Engineering is well-known for its strong programs in agricultural and biological engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Purdue is also popular for its strong and ambitious research initiatives. Students can participate in a wide variety of programs such as biomedical and nuclear engineering. Students can also pursue interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary engineering studies.

Best Engineering Programs by Specialization

Engineering is an extensive field with several subfields and specializations, and below are several of the best ones to pursue. These were chosen based on job outlook, earning potential, and job satisfaction. We’ve also listed the best schools for each subfield.

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the design and development of spacecraft and aircraft. As an aerospace engineer, you may find yourself designing materials that are used in weather forecasts, telecommunications, or national defense.

Best Schools

California Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Stanford University

Chemical Engineering

Aerospace engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the design and development of spacecraft and aircraft. As an aerospace engineer, you may find yourself designing materials that are used in weather forecasts, telecommunications, or national defense.

Best Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology

University of California﹘Berkeley

Civil Engineering

Civil engineers have a plethora of duties that involve the design and creation of infrastructure projects. For instance, they may work on transport systems, building roads and bridges. They may also be involved in the construction and layout of buildings. Civil engineers work in both the public and private sectors and can also find employment in research and education.

Best Schools

Purdue University﹘West Lafayette

University of Texas at Austin

University of Illinois﹘Urbana-Champaign

Computer Engineering

Computer engineering merges electronics engineering with computer sciences. The chief duties of computer engineers include the development of computer hardware and the design of software applications. Computer engineers work to enhance the capabilities of networks and communications systems.

Best Schools

Carnegie Mellon University

University of Michigan﹘Ann Arbor

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers are involved in the architecture, development, and manufacture of electrical equipment typically used in various industries and homes. They usually find employment in telecommunications and earn an average pay of $103,390 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Best Schools

California Institute of Technology

Stanford University

University of California﹘Berkeley

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is often dubbed the broadest of engineering fields. This is because mechanical engineers manufacture products that are used in a wide array of industries. Aspiring mechanical engineers can look forward to the addition of over 12,000 jobs by 2029, as BLS projects.

Best Schools

University of Michigan﹘Ann Arbor

Georgia Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Top Engineering Careers

Top Engineering Careers

Engineering did not become a legacy career for no reason. For one, its broad range promises exciting possibilities for growth and innovation. It also consistently promises high-paying jobs and a positive job outlook. Below are some of the top engineering careers worth considering.

Petroleum Engineer

Average Salary: $137,330

Petroleum engineers are in charge of devising new and cost-efficient methods to extract oil and gas from underground reserves. Because the field is considered high-risk, petroleum engineers enjoy an equally high salary.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in the field is expected to grow by three percent within the decade. That’s equivalent to the creation of over 1,000 more jobs.

If you want to pursue petroleum engineering, you must have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Finally, because petroleum engineers work on offshore oil rigs, expect to do a lot of traveling.

Computer Science Engineer

Average Salary: $119,560

A computer science engineer designs, builds, and tests computer hardware. As the world becomes more technologically advanced, the need for computer science engineers is likewise on the rise.

To become a computer science engineer, you’ll need to demonstrate strong programming skills and knowledge. As with any engineering field, you must also have a strong ability to anticipate problems and respond with the corresponding solutions.

Aerospace Engineer

Average Salary: $118,610

Aspiring aerospace engineers can expect the creation of nearly 2,000 jobs in the field, according to the BLS. This is equivalent to a three percent growth, which is just as fast as the average across all occupations.

To enter the field, employers typically require a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. You must also demonstrate aptitude in math, physics, and programming.

Environmental Engineer

Average Salary: $92,120

With sustainability and conservation becoming hot topics in the modern age, there’s certainly a high demand for environmental engineers. Environmental engineers work to control pollution, whether on land, water, or air. Foremost of the global issues they deal with are waste disposal, access to clean water and sanitation, and air pollution.

Because of how important their roles are to society, environmental engineers are perhaps the most fulfilled in the engineering space.

Software Engineer

Average Salary: $110,140

Software engineers design, develop, and deploy software solutions. With the prevalence of software in the modern economy, it’s no surprise that software engineering made the list.

According to BLS, demand for software developers is projected to grow by 22 percent by 2029. This is equivalent to the addition of over 300,000 more jobs. That’s much greater than the national average for all occupations.

What makes this subfield even more interesting is that you don’t need to get into a university to become a software engineer. Some professional software engineers attended coding bootcamps or taught themselves through online resources.

Getting Into Engineering School

Getting into an engineering school is not a walk in the park. The process of getting into one can be difficult due to the qualifications you’ll have to meet. Below are a few things to keep in mind to bolster your chances of getting accepted into your dream engineering school.

GPA and Test Scores

The main thing that admissions officers at engineering schools will look for is excellent GPAs in relevant classes. Math classes are particularly important, as well as science classes. Honors and AP courses will be particularly helpful in making you stand out.

Furthermore, high SAT and ACT scores will bolster your chances of getting into the school of your choice. Overall, good grades do matter when applying to an engineering school. So, make sure you work on the core subjects as soon as you can.

Extracurriculars

While academic performance gets your foot in the door, participating in extracurricular activities can set you apart from other candidates. Admissions officers will be particularly interested in students partaking in science and math competitions such as Olympiads and STEM-related clubs.

Any work experience or internships will be big bonuses to your application.

Personal Statements

Admissions officers have to go through thousands of applications each year. To secure your spot, you should nail your personal statements, letters of recommendation, and college application essays.

Describe your accomplishments. What have you done to make your community a better place? What made you pursue engineering? Lastly, why did you choose to apply to that particular engineering school? The ability to tell your unique story is an all-important soft skill that no future engineer can do without.

Should You Pursue an Engineering Degree?

There are several reasons to pursue an engineering degree. First is the demand. Considered a legacy role, engineering roles are expected to remain in abundance over the coming years. This is especially true in engineering fields that utilize and create technologies.

Second is the fulfillment that an engineering career brings, financially and personally. Engineering is a particularly popular career choice for its low unemployment and high satisfaction rates.

If you’re interested in pursuing a lucrative career with an excellent job outlook, pursuing a degree in engineering is a smart move.

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