With thousands of different universities offering engineering degrees, it can be tough to figure out which is best. Simply stated, what makes for a "best college" is completely subjective.
For instance, one person looking at an engineering degree might think that low tuition rate is the most important, while another person may only care about the USNews & World Report Ranking, or the ROI of the degree. We have tried to use empirical data, and let numbers and facts tell the story of which engineering college is the best, but be sure to do your own research as well.
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Our Top Engineering Schools Ranking Methodology
We use around a dozen different factors when determining the rankings for our universities. Among the most important factors are: the ROI of the degree based on Payscale data, the tuition rate of the university, whether or not the university offers online programs, breadth of engineering programs, the US News & World Report engineering ranking, and the demand of the brand of the university. Many "Top Ranking of Engineering Colleges Lists" use only one or several factors. We feel that having more data points allows for a greater idea of the reality of a program. So ranking highly in just one or two areas but not a few others ends up with a mediocre score.
Top Ranked Engineering Colleges by TypesofEngineeringDegrees.org
Without further ado, below are the top ranked engineering schools according to our methodologies. We have visited every one of these schools' websites, completed an in-depth review, and provided a written summary of some of the highlights of their engineering department.
Rankings: ED Rank: 1 | Payscale ROI Rank: 10 | USNews Rank: 2
Not just a department based on learning, but one where students can help shape the world’s largest industries, including technology, communications and healthcare. In their world famous degree programs you can learn to become a leader in your field through the mentorship of faculty who are deeply connected to the entrepreneurial hub of Silicon Valley. Their engineering department has three No. 1 department rankings and each of their engineering departments rank in the top 5.
If you are considering earning a degree in engineering from Stanford, you are well-positioned to succeed. An estimated 12,700 companies have stemmed from Stanford graduates, helping fuel ideas and innovations that have shaped the global economy and helped improve the quality of life for people on all four corners of the world. Recent notable engineering projects include collaboration with Toyota, the creation of solar cells, and drone technology.
University of Pennsylvania
Rankings: ED Rank: 2 | Payscale ROI Rank: 30 | USNews Rank: 19
A recent solar energy project for Rwanda was granted funding to implement solar energy at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology. If you are looking for an engineering program where you can make a real world impact, learn more about their undergraduate and graduate programs. For graduate level education, they offer master’s, PhD, Engineering Entrepreneurship Fellowships, as well as study abroad programs. With their knowledgeable advisors and impressive network of alumni, Penn Engineering should be a top consideration for students who are serious learners with serious professional goals.
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Rankings: ED Rank: 3 | Payscale ROI Rank: 10 | USNews Rank: 5
There is always something exciting going on at Caltech in the area of research, invention and collaborations with industry leading companies. Caltech recently received $4 million in grants to help improve earthquake detecting technology so response can be quicker and more efficient. The departments within the division of engineering include aerospace, physics and materials science, computing and mathematical sciences, electrical engineering, environmental science, mechanical and civil engineering, and medical engineering. With their wide array of program offerings at the undergraduate and graduate level, it’s no wonder students from all four corners of the world apply to Caltech for engineering education.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Rankings: ED Rank: 4 | Payscale ROI Rank: 11 | USNews Rank: 6
Consistently ranked among the top-tier for engineering education degrees, Georgia Institute of Technology is a must-consider for any student serious about succeeding in the field. The college of engineering has study abroad programs in over 40 countries, and ranks #1 in American Institute forMedical and Biological Engineering Fellows. Undergraduates have access to online summer courses, if they have to juggle working an internship or summer job. They offer graduate programs online, which can help current professionals continue learning without stopping their careers.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Rankings: ED Rank: 5 | Payscale ROI Rank: 4 | USNews Rank: 1
Recently, MIT announced a new initiative to help spark transformative, cross-disciplinary research that can improve the environment. Having this sort of collaborative mindset across an entire university proves MIT understands how connected the world of education is, and how crucial it is to work across disciplines. If you want to help the world take one step closer to the cure for cancer, imagine working to help develop nanotechnology based cancer therapies with the world’s smartest researchers. You could not go wrong by choosing an engineering degree program at MIT.
Rankings: ED Rank: 6 | Payscale ROI Rank: 14 | USNews Rank: 20
Graduate programs include masters and doctoral degree programs. However, unlike most universities, Harvard does not have traditional academic departments. Graduate students focus on earning a degree in one of these subjects: Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Computer Science, Computational Science and Engineering, Design Engineering, and Engineering Sciences. If you want to join an engineering department that is designed for today’s lanscape of research, learn more about their renowned programs.
Rankings: ED Rank: 7 | Payscale ROI Rank: 35 | USNews Rank: 14
Not only do students have the benefit of the school’s facilities, but the city of New York has endless possibilities for students to explore. Both personal and professional opportunities abound in the city. Columbia’s very own engineering students can take a lot of credit for helping build New York into the city that the world looks to in awe of its architecture and infrastructure. Fu also offers fully accredited top-ranked online engineering graduate programs that offer the same curriculum and credentials as their traditional campus-based programs.
Rankings: ED Rank: 8 | Payscale ROI Rank: 19 | USNews Rank:
Other companies formed by faculty delve into the areas of alternative energy, biologic drugs, cancer diagnostics, and noise reduction technology. You can also start your own research project and carve your own path that could lead to your own business after graduation. Current research areas include: medicine, energy technologies, and complex systems, and can involve several other areas of discipline offered. Known for its culture of collaboration, Dartmouth should be a top choice for any student serious about excelling in the field of engineering.
Rankings: ED Rank: 9 | Payscale ROI Rank: 39 | USNews Rank: 49
25% of faculty members have been National Science Foundation CAREER Award winners. And if you are a female looking for a place where you can around more women seeking to become engineers, you’ll be happy to know that Lehigh University has a much higher average of women engineering majors than the national average (26% to 17%). The engineering division is divided into 7 departments that include chemical and biomolecular, materials science, civil and environmental, computer science, electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering. As an additional resource, you can tap into the minds of the Engineering Advisory Council, an external group that consults and helps the department and students achieve its core objectives.
Rankings: ED Rank: 10 | Payscale ROI Rank: 24 | USNews Rank: 18
Princeton is known for world-class collaborations, including the Center for Information Technology Policy, which is run in conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Students can also partake in certificate programs and more. At Princeton, you will learn from professional faculty. Graduate students also assist in mentoring and teaching undergraduate students. Princeton students also have the ability to take advantage of study abroad to widen the scope of their worldly experience to gain better perspective as they prepare for professional careers.
Harvey Mudd College
Rankings: ED Rank: 11 | Payscale ROI Rank: 1 | USNews Rank:
These clinics were started by the department in 1963 to incite collaboration between junior and senior students who worked with faculty and professional engineers to execute projects that replicate real world initiatives. What’s more, engineering fellowships are also an integral part of the program. This allows students to gain experience in research and execution, as well as learning the art of technical writing and giving presentations. If you are looking for a program that emphasizes what you can expect in your career, Harvey Mudd is worth strong consideration.
Rankings: ED Rank: 12 | Payscale ROI Rank: 21 | USNews Rank:
Williams also offers a broad scope of courses in humanities and the social sciences for a complete education that can prepare students to communicate effectively, apply logic to all sides of a problem. If you want to earn an undergraduate education that can set you in the right direction for graduate studies in engineering at another top-notch school, they should major in one of the two routes: B.A. in Science or Combined Program in Liberal Arts and Engineering. This second option is referred to as the 3-2 program. This allows a student to learn for three years at William before transferring to Columbia University where they can focus on engineering. So if you are looking for the perfect springboard into graduate studies, Williams should be a top option.
Rankings: ED Rank: 13 | Payscale ROI Rank: 44 | USNews Rank:
The Layfayette undergraduate program also sets students up for transfer to major engineering programs across the U.S. Upon graduation they will have the skills to make an impact in a variety of areas, including economic, social, and cultural realms. Students can focus on three types of engineering in their studies: chemical, civil, and electrical and computer engineering. The average rate of tuition and fees is $47,010, with a fairly even split between males and female students (53%/47%). And if you enjoy smaller classes, 57.2% of their classes have fewer than 20 students, making Lafayette a great college for students looking for a focused education.
Rankings: ED Rank: 14 | Payscale ROI Rank: 38 | USNews Rank: 28
Because of its reputation, Pratt boasts one of the fast-growing engineering programs in the nation. In some of the more exciting news about the Pratt school, they are currently building the world’s first quantum computer, which would allow researchers to control the frequency of a laser within a millionth of a percent. With programs that inspire such innovation, it seems like Duke engineering students can do anything with their top-notch facilities, resources, and faculty of working professionals. Plus, with its strong industry relations, Duke engineering students are sought after by companies across the globe looking for tomorrow’s leaders and innovators.
University of California – Berkeley
Rankings: ED Rank: 15 | Payscale ROI Rank: 34 | USNews Rank: 3
With such a diverse student population, the opportunities for networking and developing a wider world view are almost guaranteed. In 2015, there were about 3,100 undergraduate students and just over 1,800 graduates students enrolled. Some areas of focus for undergraduate students include energy, physics, environmental, mechanical, and nuclear engineering. Masters and doctoral programs are also available, as well as study abroad opportunities. Global partnerships are an integral part of the engineering department as well. The university works with colleges overseas to strengthen relationships while solving real world problems. For students who are serious about graduating among the top professionals in engineering, Berkeley should be near the top of their list.
Rankings: ED Rank: 16 | Payscale ROI Rank: 28 | USNews Rank:
This track would result in a Bachelor’s of Science or Arts form Haverford and a Master’s of Engineering from Penn. The second track is called the 3/2 program, which means 3 years of study at Haverford and two years at CalTech. This program results in a Bachelor’s of Science at Haverford and a Bachelor’s of Engineering from CalTech. For master’s degrees, Haverford students can take advantage of partnerships with Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science. Although Haverford does not offer graduate programs, students can take engineering courses through these partner schools to pursue graduate degrees at other universities.
Colorado School of Mines
Rankings: ED Rank: 17 | Payscale ROI Rank: 6 | USNews Rank:
As a global innovator in the areas of technology and research, faculty and students at Mines are immersed in a world of innovation they can participate in no matter what their grade level. In December 2015, Mines was awarded a $2.5 million grant to create a 3D metal printing research facility by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. This is just one of the many ways this engineering department is recognized as a credible institution that every prospective engineering student should look into.
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
Rankings: ED Rank: 18 | Payscale ROI Rank: 28 | USNews Rank: 4
These fast tracks include areas such as civil and environmental, electrical and computer, engineering and public policy, as well as materials science integrated M.S.-B.S. programs. If you want proof of how this engineering department ranks, both the undergraduate and graduate engineering divisions consistently rank in the top 10, and among the top choices for international students seeking the best engineering. When students from around the world are eyeing a program, you can feel confident that the opportunities are truly limitless. Find out why Carnegie ranks among the top schools for graduates who become leaders for engineering research beyond their education.
Rankings: ED Rank: 19 | Payscale ROI Rank: 60 | USNews Rank:
The Tufts Gordon Institute focuses on developing leaders in engineering. Their innovation is not only seen in the classroom but how they develop graduate degree programs that are already producing emerging leaders in technology. Tufts offers three MBA degrees, including Engineering Management, Innovation and Management, and their Professional Education Program for current technology professionals. If you are just starting out in your education, Tufts offers 13 undergraduate degrees that can spark your professional path. Or you can use these programs as springboards towards one of their graduate programs including PhD programs across 6 academic departments.
Claremont McKenna College
Rankings: ED Rank: 20 | Payscale ROI Rank: 13 | USNews Rank:
Harvey Mudd is one of the nationally recognized institutions for engineering students. Their relationship with CMC can double your network of peers and mentors as you create your own path for entering the field of engineering. The second option at CMC would consist of a dual program that is paired with other certified accredited engineering programs. These options at CMC are great for students who want to expand their focus on engineering to include a strong understanding of economics and qualifications and competencies in finance based companies and sectors. If you want a less straight-forward approach to engineering education that helps you connect your interest with economics, be sure to look into the options at CMC.
Rankings: ED Rank: 21 | Payscale ROI Rank: 40 | USNews Rank:
Students at Swarthmore are truly immersed in an educational environment that includes small classes where experienced faculty serve as mentors in curriculum and research. Within the department, students may focus on civil/environmental, computer, electrical, or mechanical engineering. What’s more, students can even develop their own custom program that combines their other related interests, such as chemistry, biology, or computer science. Swarthmore offers only undergraduate degrees in engineering, but wait until you see the list of graduate schools their students move on to after completion. MIT was the most popular place for Swarthmore students to go after receiving their undergraduate education. That should tell you something about the quality of programs they provide.
University of California – San Diego (UCSD)
Rankings: ED Rank: 22 | Payscale ROI Rank: 61 | USNews Rank: 17
These statistics don’t lie, and that’s why if you’re looking for a great place to learn how to work as an engineer, this should be a top-choice school. USCSD Jacobs School of Engineering is structured into 6 academic departments that oversee the programs. They also offer students some really great attachments to their program, including the Team Internship Program and the GlobalTeams in Engineering Service program which foster collaboration, innovation, peer and professional mentorship as students learn to change the world they live in through their passion for engineering.
Rankings: ED Rank: 23 | Payscale ROI Rank: 45 | USNews Rank: 49
They also offer a Teacher Education Program that certifies students to teach high school physics. Brown also offers a number of PhD programs. Unlike many engineering schools, Brown does not have formal boundaries between engineering disciplines and Brown does not tailor degrees to specific research areas. For students who want to work in a state-of-the-art research facility, the new engineering building will be completed January 2018. It will include a nano-technology cleanroom, large and small collaborative spaces, and many other groundbreaking amenities.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Rankings: ED Rank: 24 | Payscale ROI Rank: 84 | USNews Rank: 21
Virginia Tech also has several minors in engineering, plus a wide assortment of masters and doctoral programs. For busy professional or military students, they offer online master’s degree programs in Information Technology, Naval Engineering, and others. They offer part time students the opportunity to learn through part-time on-site work and videoconferencing classes. However, their Masters of Information Technology (MIT) program can be completed all online.
Rankings: ED Rank: 25 | Payscale ROI Rank: 55 | USNews Rank: 31
Rice is also a place where women can feel empowered to join the forces of engineering across all disciplines. The Society of Women Engineers helps support women who enter the college and move into the field. Their Center for Education Leadership helps all students rise to the top of their field and help solve tomorrow’s big problems and spark amazing creations and developments. The bottom line is that Rice has great opportunities for prospective students at the undergraduate and graduate level.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Rankings: ED Rank: 26 | Payscale ROI Rank: 86 | USNews Rank: 6
If you want to pursue engineering at the bachelors, master’s, or PhD level, the University of Illinois is a great place to call your home away from home. Speaking of home, you can take advantage of their interactive online courses at the graduate level. Illinois has the rankings from credible organizations to prove the quality of its engineering experience across all disciplines. In 2015 it was ranked 4 worldwide in the official “Academic Ranking of World Universities of Engineering. The recognition spans its innovative approach to education to its achievements as the result of student learning and faculty influence. If you want to be in a great place to spark an innovative career in engineering, Illinois could be your place.
Rankings: ED Rank: 27 | Payscale ROI Rank: 97 | USNews Rank: 6
If you want to be a part of a fast-growing program that is expected to continue accelerating, Purdue is your place. With expected growth of 30% by 2017 in faculty and staff. You can also take advantage of their summer research program, and support of entrepreneurship so students can truly follow their dreams, and help make those dreams a reality for our world. Students can take undergraduate and graduate programs. These programs give a full education that extends into effective communication and professional development.
Rankings: ED Rank: 28 | Payscale ROI Rank: 69 | USNews Rank:
Research is an integral part of any program, and Amherst is proof that’s its the heart of how engineering feats and miracles occur. The Northeast Climate Science Center is the result of a $7.5 million grant from the federal gov’t. This center will help understand and solve problems caused by the effects of climate change from the Northeast to the Midwest. UMass Amherst offers engineering education at a comparatively lower tuition rates that average. For undergads they offer six BS programs, and two Bachelor to Master of Science programs that take 5 years complete. For graduate studies they offer 7 Master of Science and 5 PhD degree programs. Plus, they offer a variety of minors, certificates and other programs.
SUNY – Maritime College
Rankings: ED Rank: 29 | Payscale ROI Rank: 5 | USNews Rank:
The department recently added electrical, facilities, and mechanical engineering to its program offerings. Students have the opportunity to build on their foundation with business skills. The programs can be the best choice for engineering students who want to work in Naval and Maritime industries. Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered, as well as Coast Guard licensing for students who want to become a Merchant Marine Officer. Graduate programs include areas such as global business and transportation, as well as a variety of certificate and licensure programs.
Rankings: ED Rank: 30 | Payscale ROI Rank: 91 | USNews Rank: 35
Degree programs allow students to blend their scientific focus with their interest in the liberal arts to create a well-rounded experience. Bachelor’s programs span areas such as Environmental, Electrical, Mechanical, Biomedical engineering, and more. Graduate level engineering at Yale offers a unique experience called the Advanced Graduate Leadership Program. This is meant to give doctoral students an extension of their research lab work so they can transition to careers in academia, public service, government policy, and the public sector across all industries. If you want one of the best engineering educations in the nation, look into the degree programs at Yale.