If engineers had a motto, it would most likely be “How do I make it work?” Look around you and you will see the work of engineers everywhere from the food that graces your table to the shuttles flying to Mars. Engineers take known mathematical and scientific information and apply it to all manner of buildings, machines, and technology that help improve the way consumers live. You will find there are six major branches of engineers. These are mechanical, chemical, civil, electrical, management, and geological. Within these categories, there are hundreds of sub-specialties. A licensed engineer can expect to bring in upwards of sixty thousand dollars a year. Engineering is a constantly growing field that will always be relevant in our society.
What Is Engineering School?
Engineering schools are universities that have a variety of courses and majors in applied mathematics and sciences. Rather than giving students a broad liberal arts experience, engineering programs are centered around taking the mathematical and scientific knowledge we have and applying it to real-world problems.
There’s also a big difference between schools of engineering – which exclusively focus on engineering fields such as computer and mechanical engineering – and larger universities with strong engineering programs within them.
Top 5 Engineering Schools
|West Virginia University of Technology
|California State Polytechnic University Program
|Missouri University of Science and Technology
|Texas Tech University
|Oregon Institute of Technology
|Klamath Falls, Oregon
5 Reasons to Choose an Undergraduate Engineering Program
Why should you choose an undergraduate engineering program? Here are five reasons:
Don’t forget the prestige that comes when you study engineering. Non-engineering students will be amazed when they hear that you’re studying to be an engineer. Everybody knows how much effort is required to qualify as an engineer. Most people are also aware of the sacrifices that you’ll make as an engineering student. So, the element of respect comes naturally.
You’ll find that your thought process will change because you’ll learn how to think like an engineer. As you go through your program, you’ll acquire critical analysis and logical thinking skills, and your decision-making skills are greatly improved. You’ll become more objective and less emotional when you do your work – all of which are necessary skills in the professional world.
Ready for All Problems
As you go through your engineering program, you’ll find that you face more problems and difficulties in your life, ones that are tougher than the ones you’ve ever faced. But you’ll learn the necessary skills and confidence to deal with any problem that gets thrown your way.
Engineering is ranked as one of the top-paid degree programs. In fact, it takes up about 40% of the top 10 paying majors’ list. The most lucrative and prominent engineering disciplines are petroleum, nuclear, electrical, computer, and chemical engineering. On average, salaries start around $60,000, with the potential to reach $180,000 as you grow in your career.
Improve the World
It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you’re positively contributing to society. Words can’t describe the feeling when somebody looks at a newly built bridge and says, “I built that.” If you ever have the opportunity to speak to an engineer about their work, you’ll notice that they beam with pride.
Best Undergraduate Engineering Schools and Programs
The best engineering degrees are ranked solely on peer assessment surveys. For an undergraduate school to appear on a peer assessment survey, a school must have an undergraduate engineering program accredited by ABET.
Qualities Needed By Engineers
Are you cut out to be an engineer? The first thing you need is a strong interest and ability to grasp mathematical and scientific concepts. These are the base of all engineering concepts. An engineer must also be highly analytical and detail-oriented. Imagination and creativity are two other traits that are needed as engineers are often dealing with “what if” scenarios. An engineer must be a team player who has the ability to quickly and communicate ideas, yet they must be able to have the discipline to work alone for long periods of time in many situations. The greatest trait of an engineer is having the inner need to build or improve on the way things work. If you see yourself in these traits, then engineering may be your future.
Engineering Licensing Requirements
An engineer must become licensed in every state. This helps ensure the quality of what is created. There are four steps to getting licensed:
- Obtain a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program
- Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam
- Work as an apprentice engineer for at least four years
- Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam
Requirements for yearly renewal and continuing education vary by state of licensure. The National Society for Professional Engineers can answer many of the questions you may have about licensing.
Do you want to build space elevators or driverless cars? Then you should think about a degree in engineering. But with so many different engineering schools out there and with such intense competition for the top programs, how do you know which engineering school is the best?
To help you decide which is the best engineering school, we’ve put together a list to help you determine which is the best engineering school for you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Engineering School
Here are some factors that you should also consider:
Is the school ABET-Accredited? Does the school meet the minimum education standards set by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology? It’s important that the school you choose is accredited because it ensures high-quality education and that the curriculum has been reviewed by engineering professionals.
Does the philosophy and focus of the engineering program match your interests? Are the clinical facilities up to date? Are there dual-degree programs offered with other majors?
Co-op Programs and Internships
Does the school provide programs that will provide you with industry experience? Does the school offer study abroad programs that will give you an edge in the job market?
Do you want to go to a university in an urban setting? Are you comfortable with moving out of state?
What is the student to faculty ratio? How diverse is the student population? How large of a university do you want to attend? If you want to attend a smaller state university, you need to find one that will fit in with your career goals. The same goes for if you want to attend a large Ivy League school.
Will tuition play a role in your decision? Will you qualify for in-state tuition? Would you need financial assistance to pay for your tuition? If you know that you’ll need financial assistance to help pay for your tuition, you need to find a school that will offer you the most financial aid.
How do you know if you should get a master’s degree? There are several different reasons you might consider getting a master’s degree in engineering, one of which is the potential increase in wages.
What kind of things can you expect to learn in the best engineering colleges? Programs may vary slightly and the course names differ from one school to another. You will have a combination of engineering and general classes. An example of a typical engineering degree program will include:
- General education classes including Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, American History, English Composition, General Chemistry, and General Physics.
- Specialized classes may include Engineering Materials, Analytical Geometry and Calculus, Logical Design and Digital Circuits, Engineering Mathematics, Decision Analysis, and Probability and Risk Analysis for Engineers
The following Engineering Programs made our list of best engineering schools. If you see yourself with a future in Engineering, regardless of the sub-specialty, take a look into the following best engineering colleges.
The Best 15 Engineering Schools
West Virginia University of Technology
The engineering offerings at the West Virginia University of Technology are abundant, with 21 different specialties to choose from. This is one of the most affordable schools on our list, With a graduation rate of 57 percent, the programs are intense but the quality of education you will receive is well-recognized. The school first gained recognition for its biometrics program that has become the standard in the FBI and the high standards that program set in place are apparent throughout the school.
California State Polytechnic University Program
California State Polytechnic University Program offers eleven undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in Engineering. This is one of the few colleges that prides itself on offering an education system based on hands-on experience. Their Aerospace Engineering program ranked third out of 220 programs in U.S. News & World Report in 2020. Three other sub-specialties also made the list. Overall, the program ranked 11 out of 220, not a bad position at all. This program offers over 1200 Bachelor degrees in Engineering each year.
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Left-brain students dominate at Missouri University of Science and Technology, with a full 90 percent being STEM students. The Engineering offerings at this school include both academics and the chance for research. They offer several areas of interest including Mining Engineering and Nuclear Engineering. They are currently doing research in working in extreme environments and improving infrastructures now and in the future.
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University led the field in requiring that all of their Engineering students spend time as an international exchange student. They understand that in today’s society, the ability to work with people from all over the world is essential. The best way to achieve that ability is to enable students to immerse themselves in the cultures around the world. This program is considered one of the most forward-thinking engineering programs with programs in cybersecurity and wind engineering, among others. The program is difficult to get into but well worth the effort.
Oregon Institute of Technology
Oregon Institute of Technology boasts that a full 90 percent of their graduates find work within six months of graduation. This is an impressive achievement. Their engineering offerings include eleven specialties including Geomagnetics and Renewable Energy Engineering, both strongly sought for the future. This is considered one of the top colleges in the region. The college offers opportunities for study abroad and they have an honors program that can get you on the fast track toward a higher degree.
Tennessee Technological University
The College of Engineering at Tennessee Technological University boasts that the graduates of any of their six programs can expect an average salary of $60,000 a year upon graduation. In addition to their dedication to making sure all students master the requirements for a successful career in their field, they offer chances for seniors to research and collaborate on projects that are in the works. They also offer a specialized Engineer Building/Club that accepts only 150 students. These students get access to even more perks to enhance their educational experience and future careers.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The acceptance rate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute is 65 percent but the students who get in are the top of their class. Requirements for admission are strongly based on past academic performance. Students get great hands-on experience during studies. Past projects have included designing and building solar houses and studying infrastructure problems in Latin America. Students have a choice of 25 Engineering programs within the school. The 14:1 student/teacher ratio makes learning more personal and allows for more in-depth interaction between various disciplines.
Northwestern University offers both a Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering program, as well as seven other areas. While they aren’t as diverse in the number of areas they cover, they are considered top at what they do. They work at what they consider the whole-brain approach to engineering. It is better to combine both technical knowledge and imagination to create the things we need to thrive in the future. Northwestern not only teaches but also encourages entrepreneurship by presenting opportunities and funding to help students realize their dreams. Students have the chance to work on real-world projects while learning.
Texas A & M
Texas A & M offers 19 majors in Engineering, each with several sub-specialties. These include Biomedical, Aerospace, and Ocean Engineering to name just a few. This school has an outstanding record of recognition. They are considered the best value for schools in Texas and are number one in the nation for the number of students studying abroad. While many know the school for their sports, their excellence in helping graduates find positions in their chosen fields is outstanding. Their recognitions include being number one in the nation for the number of graduates holding CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University offers undergraduate and graduate studies and also has a thriving research program. Graduates from the School of Engineering are sought after throughout the world. Students in Engineering don’t choose a major until the end of their first year. Instead, they all experience general engineering classes that will help build the foundation to prepare them to think of creative solutions to a multitude of problems in the world. Each student must also successfully complete a writing course within their first year. This is required as communication skills are a necessity whatever field of engineering is entered. Located in the heart of Pittsburgh, students have access to many cultural events and institutions to help create a full experience during their years in attendance.
John Hopkins University
John Hopkins University prides itself on helping students see beyond what they deem possible. They look for applicants who they believe will make an impact on the world once they graduate. Regardless of major, they seek risk-takers who find innovation thrilling. Considered an outstanding presence in the research community, students have a chance to participate in numerous hands-on projects. The Engineering program consists of over 20 degree programs over nine departments and 22 centers, institutes, and labs. The University offers many opportunities for students to meet like-minded individuals outside the classroom. There are over 30 groups specifically for engineering students.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology has the reputation of awarding more degrees to women and minorities than any other school in the country. Their Engineering programs are extremely popular. During COVID alone, they welcomed 16,000 students. In addition to the Georgia campus, students have a chance for international study at two international branches, Students in all programs are encouraged to get a well-rounded education with a multitude of sports and other extra-curricular activities and all students are required to give back to society through community service projects.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the oldest schools of its type in this country, being in existence for over a hundred years. Students enter the school and enjoy the first year of general classes in all areas of the school. They are given seminars, fairs, and other activities to help them know more clearly where they want to further their education. Approximately 70 percent choose the school of engineering. With a 3:1 student/teacher ratio, education is more personalized than nearly any other school in the country. Graduates from this school can be found in all the highest areas of engineering throughout the world.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is a little-known gem in the field of Engineering. Campus life is full of sports and Greek life but they are meant to enhance the education itself. there are a variety of student clubs to fill in the gaps. The atmosphere at this school is reminiscent of a small-town community. Sophomore advisors are available in all dorms. A majority of meals are served in a main cafeteria in the student union. There is also a smaller, specialty food area in the student union. Additionally, a couple of coffee carts with sandwiches and snacks are found throughout campus.
This is one of the few all tech schools that offer ROTC programs, for both Army and Air Force. This school offers a one-on-one mentoring program that many students have found to be the one added factor that made the biggest difference during their years at the school.
Rice University offers nine programs in its Engineering school, About 36 percent of all school undergraduates are majoring in some type of Engineering, this is about 1,400 students. The student/teacher ratio is 6:1 and this school consistently ranks high in numerous sources for their programs and overall educational standards. They have long been considered among the leaders as a research university. Students are exposed to all manner of people and cultures and the school encourages innovative thinkers who can visualize the perfection of the future.
Best Engineering School Ranking Methodology
This list consists of the best engineering schools based on many factors other than simple popularity. We took a look at the overall cost, rate of acceptance, and ability to find a position upon completion. Regardless of your circumstances, you are bound to find a program on this list that meets your needs. For schools out there who believe you should be represented on future lists of this type, please feel free to contact us with your information and we will consider your program. In the end, well-educated engineers are the world’s future. Our goal is to see these engineers get the best start possible.
Special Note: Most of these schools do require prospective students to take either the ACT or SAT. However, the 2021-2022 year requirement is being waived for those who have not yet taken these tests. COVID has made it necessary to consider safety. If you have already taken one of the tests, including the scores may help the admission process but not submitting will not harm you during this period.
Best Value Engineering Programs
What are some of the cheapest engineering programs? Many students want to get a great education, but engineering degrees can be expensive, costing as much as $40,000. With the following list of colleges, you can get a great education without breaking the bank.
South Texas College
South Texas College has provided students with over 120 degrees and certificate programs. The Associate of Science Engineering program will give future engineers the hands-on technical experience that they need to get a job after graduation. This university has an acceptance rate of 100% and provides a great education at a small price tag.
This is another Texas-based college, but it’s a small public college that offers a wide range of certificates, degrees, and transfer plans to meet the diverse student population’s needs. This is a great stepping stone college for anyone who wants to start with a two-year university before making the jump to a four-year.
Utah Valley University
Utah Valley University offers students an Associate in Pre-Engineering. This degree allows engineering students to complete their first two to three years of school while completing the requirements for an engineering degree. Once the requirements are met, they can then transfer to a four-year university.
California State University – Stanislaus
The staff and faculty of California State University believe in preparing their students for the workforce they’ll be entering after graduation, as shown in their rigorous engineering program.
What kind of scholarships are available to engineering students? Scholarships are gifts that don’t need to be repaid. There are thousands of them offered by social and professional organizations, religious groups, communities, nonprofits, private companies, individuals, employers, and schools.
The Best Scholarships for Engineering Students
Some of the best scholarships for engineering students include:
The Siemens Foundation is the philanthropic branch of the company that’s responsible for student aid for engineers. The company Foundation will distribute over seven million dollars of academic assistance annually to students engaged in STEM education.
Barry Goldwater Scholarship
Every year, 300 students from the U.S. receive scholarships valued at $7,500 each from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. These scholarships are part of an effort to increase the number of highly trained engineers, mathematicians, and scientists for future technological work.
Hispanic College Fund
To encourage education among promising technology students, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund offers awards up to $2,500 to Hispanic high school graduates entering engineering-related programs.
NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program supports future leaders in science and engineering through education initiatives for high achievers. Prestigious NASA scholarships benefit undergraduates, as well as graduate students in the following supported fields:
- Computer Science
- Mechanical Engineering
- Materials Engineering
- Industrial Engineering
- Engineering Science
- Engineering Mechanics
- Computer Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Aeronautical and Aerospace
Association for Women in Science Scholarships
Female high school seniors who are planning on studying engineering, mathematics, or science at an accredited university are aided by scholarships from the Association of Women in Science.
What can you do besides scholarships to make college cheaper? Well, you can start by applying for financial aid. To do this, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form will then go to the school(s) of your choice to see how much federal aid you’ll receive for the year.
When you’re in high school, you should take advantage of Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams. Many schools will award course credit to students based on their performance on the AP exams – that’s free credits!
Dual enrollment programs help high school students earn college credits by participating in community college courses. These programs allow students to earn college credit for free or at a reduced cost.
You can also test out of college classes by taking the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) to earn college credit. You can also make a plan to try to graduate in four years. To do this, you would need to plan on taking 15 credits a semester. This is a lot of work, especially for engineering students.
You can also opt to attend an in-state public school, which is typically cheaper than out-of-state or private institutions. Or, you could consider going online. Online school tends to be cheaper than in-person school, and you have the option of doing an accelerated program or a traditional program. This depends on your learning style and the amount of time you have available to do school.
The methodology for ranking the best engineering school is based on a cumulative point system. The total points are calculated using two variables. The first variable being the tuition for the school based on the cost per credit. For undergraduate studies, some universities only report a cost for the year.
This amount is then divided by half, assuming two semesters, and then further divided by 12 credit hours. The reported tuition rate is for out-of-state students, so schools with a lower tuition rate receive a more favorable ranking.
The second variable is the total student enrollment. It’s assumed that universities with a lower enrollment rate offer better student to faculty ratios, thus offering a better education. The schools that have a lower overall enrollment rate receive a better ranking.
The points assigned to both the tuition and the enrollment are then totaled together, which gives a cumulative score that’s used to order the schools.
Engineers are responsible for creating the newest ideas, services, and products that improve human happiness, safety, and health. Engineers create solutions to challenges and opportunities that affect everyone.
Several different areas of study within engineering, which are offered by the university of your choice, will depend on what you want to study.
Industrial engineering is an area of engineering that is concerned with the optimization of complex organizations, systems, or processes by improving, developing, and implementing integrated systems of materials, energy, equipment, information, knowledge, money, and people.
Environmental engineering is a type of job that is a professional engineering discipline and takes broad scientific topics like mathematics, microbiology, hydrology, hydraulics, geology, ecology, biology, and chemistry to create solutions that will improve and protect the health of living organisms.
Software engineers apply computer science and mathematical analysis principles to the assessment, design, and development of computer applications and systems that enable computers to perform specific tasks.
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with chemical production and the manufacture of products through chemical processes. This includes the design of processes, systems, and equipment for refining raw materials and processing, compounding, and mixing chemicals to make valuable products.
Computer engineering is the branch of engineering that integrates electronic engineering with computer science. Computer engineers design and develop computer systems and other technological devices.
Biomedical engineering is a multidisciplinary STEM field that combines biology and engineering, applying engineering principles and materials to medicine and healthcare.
Aerospace engineering is large in the maintenance, construction, and design of weapons and missile, spacecraft, and aircraft systems. The main focuses include environmental impact, operating costs, fuel efficiency, and flight safety.
College requires a significant investment of your time and money, so it helps plan out your education based at least partly on the expected return on investment (ROI). If you pick a school while considering the ROI, you can avoid unnecessary financial burdens.
The following covers some of the important considerations for assessing a school based on its ROI.
Is College Worth the Investment?
There are several reasons why attending college represents a worthwhile investment. For one, earning a degree significantly boosts your earning potential and can help you climb up the ladder in the engineering field. It also makes landing a job in the first place easier because employers will know that you have the necessary skills to perform the job.
What’s a Good ROI?
Figuring out a good ROI for a university will depend on a variety of things. A less expensive school might seem appealing, but if the school graduates are routinely earning a low salary, the tradeoff might not be worth it. Unaccredited and lower-ranking schools may have cheaper tuition, but they might not prepare you for the job market.
Ideally, you should seek out a university that has a tuition rate that matches your budget while also favoring schools that report higher earnings among graduates – in both the long and short term. You’re able to easily repay your student loan debt that you build by attending a highly ranked school if your engineering degree prepares you for a highly compensated position.
Three Top Tips for Applying to Engineering School
Now that you have a better idea of what the best engineering school is, the next step is to make sure that your high school transcript and application show that you’re a strong engineering candidate.
Below you’ll find three useful tips for planning your standardized testing, extracurriculars, and coursework to have the best chance of getting into the best engineering school.
Ace ACT/SAT Math
If you want to get into the best engineering school, you need to get a near-perfect or perfect score on the ACT or SAT math. Getting 36 of 800 is best, especially if you want to go to a school like MIT.
At a minimum, you’ll need to get a 30 on ACT or 700 on SAT math to have a chance at getting into the best engineering school.
Take a Lot of Math and Science
If you want to get into the best engineering school, it’s less important to be well-rounded than to show that you have a solid foundation in math.
It’s also important to show that you’re strong in science, too, especially if your field of engineering you’re interested in is closely related to math (i.e., chemical engineering).
Show off your strengths in science and math by taking and excelling in advanced science and math classes. This means that you need to take honors-level, IB, or AP courses and putting as much effort into them as you can.
Science and Math Extracurriculars
The key to getting accepted into the best engineering school is to build up a “spike” in a certain area. For engineering, that’s science and math.
Take part in extracurricular activities dedicated to math and science and do your best in any competitions you partake in. The better you do, the better chances you have at getting accepted into your dream engineering school.
Engineering school is difficult but choosing which university you attend for your undergraduate engineering and graduate engineering degrees shouldn’t be. Whether you want to do mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, computer engineering, chemical engineering, or any other area of engineering, you need to find the right school.
There are so many different engineering schools out there that it can be hard to pick the best one for you. That’s why we put together this list showing the best engineering schools, the most affordable engineering schools, the best undergraduate and graduate engineering schools, and more.
Within these lists, we’ve put together some information to help guide you to make the right decision for you. For instance, we talk about getting scholarships and what some of the best engineering scholarships are. Additionally, there’s some information about why you should pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering.
Hopefully, this guide has shown you what you need to do to find and get into the best engineering school for the area of engineering that you want to do. Remember that getting started early is best if you want to get into the best engineering school, so get started as soon as you know that engineering is the career you want to do.