The 20 Best Schools To Be An Engineering Major

Beginning a career in engineering starts with earning a degree in the field. In this ranking we’ve gathered traditional and online options at the top engineering schools in the country. We’ve organized them based on their graduation rates, prestige, national and regional rankings, average salary upon graduation, among other considerations.

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Let’s dive into the traditional programs:

1) Brown University

Brown is an incredibly prestigious university in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1764. Currently, U.S. News & World Report ranks it 14th among National Universities. Its undergraduate enrollment is just over 7,000 students. It’s known for its programs in English, history, medicine, and of course, engineering. Some of the engineering specializations you can expect to take include:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Physics
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Engineering
  • Environmental Studies Engineering
  • Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations

Brown offers a Bachelor’s of Arts in Engineering as well as a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering. The B.Sc degrees have a similar structure. During the first and second years, students will take foundational courses in engineering disciplines, as well as math, computer science, life science, and physical science courses. This interdisciplinary approach helps students decide what concentration they’ll pursue. They then chose six to seven courses in that concentration, and complete a Capstone course: either a major realistic design or research project. In the A.B. programs, students take at least two specialized courses and may complete a capstone. There are also A.B./Sc.B. degree program options. Students can also opt for graduate studies in engineering at Brown, which has an excellent engineering program at all levels of study.

2) Princeton University

Princeton is a private university in Princeton, New Jersey. It was established in 1746. It serves over 5,400 undergraduate students. Princeton is known for its peerless academic excellence. USNR currently ranks it 1st among National Universities. It’s one of the oldest schools in the country and is especially regarded for its programs in public and international affairs, engineering, and applied sciences. Some of the concentrations they offer in their Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) program include:

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Operations Research and Financial Engineering

These programs aim to forge new leaders in engineering. Graduates can become practitioners, researchers, educators, business and finance professionals, work in public service, among other positions. Students in these programs engage with engineering principles, how they impact problems in the real world, and the ways interdisciplinary solutions prove effective at defeating them. Students can opt for either a Bachelor of Science or Arts through Princeton’s engineering program, among other incredible graduate options.

3) California Institute of Technology

Caltech is a private school founded in 1891. It’s based out of Pasadena, California. It serves nearly 950 undergraduate students. USNR currently ranks it tied 12th among National Universities. It’s known for its vital research, and programs in biology, chemistry, computer science, math, and engineering. Caltech offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in engineering. These include undergraduate degrees in:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering and Applied Science
  • Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical and Civil Engineering

Caltech has excellent undergraduate engineering options, which it supplements with graduate and doctoral programs in aerospace, medical engineering, electrical engineering, environmental science and engineering, and mechanical and civil engineering. Students can also opt for aerospace minors, applied physics, and material science degrees, computing and mathematical science programs, and much more. Caltech has an incredible breadth of options in and adjacent to engineering and is a school all STEM students should highly consider.

4) Dartmouth College

Dartmouth is a private college founded in 1769. It’s headquartered in Hanover, New Hampshire. It serves more than 4,400 undergraduate students. Currently, USNR ranks it 12th among National Universities. Dartmouth is known for its degrees in Medicine, Business, and Engineering. It’s been classified by The Carnegie Foundation as a university with “very high research activity.” Dartmouth offers the following engineering degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Engineering
  • ABET-accredited Bachelor of Engineering
  • Dual-degrees for students who want to study liberal arts and engineering at Dartmouth
  • Master of Engineering Management
  • Masters of Engineering
  • Doctors of Philosophy in Engineering

Students at the undergraduate level can opt for a Bachelor of Arts in engineering, or with an extra year of engineering coursework, the ABET-accredited Bachelor’s in Engineering degree. Dartmouth is an incredible engineering school, and has been named a finalist for the second year in a row in NASA’s “Big Idea Challenge.” Dartmouth’s entry, their “SHREWs: Strategic Highly-compliant Roving Explorers of other Worlds,” offers NASA robots latched together like shrews, which can create more mobility during space exploration. In the ABET-accredited program students take Math and Science courses, Engineering Common Core, and choose courses from a Distributive Core, an Engineering Gateway, and elective courses to tailor the degree towards their interests and goals.

5) Cornell University

Cornell is a private university in Ithaca, NY. It was founded in 1865. The school serves nearly 15,200 undergraduate students. Currently, USNR ranks it 17th among National Universities. Cornell is known for its degrees in Law, Management, Medicine, and Engineering, among others. It offers 14 undergraduate degrees in engineering and 20 minors! These include:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biological Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Engineering Physics
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Independent Major
  • Information Science, Systems and Technology
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Operations Research Engineering
  • And many minors.

Cornell offers students far more control over the pathway they take in engineering than many competitors. They are committed to helping engineering students forge their own path at the school that leads to personal and professional success. Even more than with other programs, you should spend significant time exploring the Cornell engineering page, and speaking to support staff at the school to figure out what educational pathway would be best for you. If you’re a graduate student, Cornell has a wide breadth of Master’s and Doctoral degrees in engineering for you to consider as well.

6) Swarthmore College

Swarthmore is a private college in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. It began in 1864. Over 1,500 undergraduate students attend the school. It’s known for its liberal arts education and is ranked 3rd by USNR among National Liberal Arts Colleges. Unlike most liberal arts schools, Swarthmore offers an excellent undergraduate engineering program that balances a liberal arts education with a technical engineering curriculum. Students can specialize in areas like:

  • Civil/Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • A Customized Engineering Program

In the customized engineering Bachelor’s degree students can choose to combine aspects of the other specializations, or pair aspects of them with studies in biology, computer science, or chemistry. Swarthmore aims to give its engineering students the confidence and creativity they need to be future leaders in the field. They will apply mathematical and scientific methods and knowledge to solve complex, technical problems across the professional world.

7) Northwestern University

Northwestern is a private university in Evanston, Illinois. It was established in 1851. Currently, it serves over 8,200 undergraduate students. USNR ranks it 9th among National Universities. It’s known for degrees in Management, Education, Social Policy, Law, Medicine, Biological Sciences, and Engineering and Applied Sciences. It offers the following options for undergraduate engineering students:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • A BS/MS Engineering Program
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering and Communication
  • Engineering and Music
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Integrated Engineering Studies (custom major)
  • Manufacturing and Design Engineering
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

As you can see, there are many options at Northwestern for engineering students. Any option you select will balance research, coursework, internships, and extra-curricular activities to give you maximum development as an engineer and professional. Northwestern also offers part and full-time Master’s in Engineering programs, and Ph.D. programs in Engineering. There are also interdisciplinary programs students opt for that combine design, leadership, entrepreneurship, and complexity.

8) Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. It was established in 1876. It’s currently ranked 10th among National Universities by USNR. Over 26,100 undergraduate students attend Johns Hopkins. Hopkins is known for its schools of Public Health, Education, Medicine, and Engineering. It offers the following Bachelor’s degrees in Engineering:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Engineering
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Systems Science and Engineering

In addition to these degrees, Johns Hopkins offers a host of minors, certifications, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in engineering. It is one of the most respected STEM schools in the world. There are part-time, full-time, and online options students can consider. As with other programs, this is an application you should devote a lot of time to, both in construction and discussion with staff at the school.

9) Washington University in St Louis

Washington is a private university in St. Louis, Missouri. It was founded in 1853. The school currently serves over 7,700 undergraduate students. USNR ranks it 19th among National Universities. It’s known for its degrees in Social Work, Business, Law, Medicine, Design, Visual Arts, and Engineering. It offers engineering degrees in:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science & Engineering
  • Electrical & Systems Engineering
  • Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Washington boasts over 100 study abroad programs and a 54% increase in research awards over the past six years. St. Louis also ranks as the top city for start-ups according to Business Insider. 42% of its first-year engineering students are women or people from underrepresented backgrounds. The school also offers interdisciplinary engineering programs, graduate degrees, dual degrees, and summer research opportunities.

10) Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon is a private university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1900. Currently, USNR ranks it 25th among National Universities. It serves almost 6,950 undergraduates. It’s known for degrees in Business, Computer Science, Technology, and Engineering, along with research opportunities. Undergraduate engineering students can major in:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science & Engineering

Students enter Carnegie Mellon’s engineering department without majors. They take introductory courses that help them pick an engineering major. They can also take double majors, with one of the five above combined with Biomedical Engineering or Engineering & Public Policy. Carnegie Mellon also offers graduate degrees in engineering and a host of minors for undergraduates. It has one of the most respected engineering schools in the world.

11) University of Southern California

USC is a private research university in Los Angeles. Founded in 1880, it’s the oldest research university in the state. Over 19,900 undergraduate students attend USC. USNR ranks it at 22nd among National Universities. It’s extremely popular and known for programs in Business, Education, Social Work, and Engineering. Students in engineering can access areas like:

  • Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • Astronautical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Engineering Writing
  • Industrial and Systems Engineering

USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering is made up of eight academic departments, and serves around 2,700 undergraduates (along with 5,900 graduate students in its excellent graduate engineering programs). Students will utilize cutting edge labs, live broadcasts, 186 tenure-track faculty members, and much more. They can earn Bachelor’s of Science, Master’s of Science, or PhD’s in engineering.

12) University of Virginia

UVA is a public research school and the standard-bearer of the Virginia state system. It was founded in 1819 and based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Over 16,700 undergraduate students attend UVA. It’s known for programs in Business, Education, Law, Medicine, and Engineering, and Applied Science. USNR ranks it 28th among National Universities. Undergraduate engineering students can earn degrees in:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Science
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Systems Engineering

UVA also offers these programs and more at the graduate level. All engineering students at UVA do research projects that prove their judgment and analysis. Engineering students at UVA also spend significant time on critical thinking and communication classes along with technical engineering coursework. UVA hosts employers that need engineering graduates. These include Capital One, Google, Microsoft, the U.S. Navy, among others.

13) Tufts University

Tufts is a private university in Medford, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1852. Currently, it serves over 5,600 undergraduate students. USNR ranks it 29th among National Universities. Tufts is known for its degrees in Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and Engineering. Tufts offers multiple engineering undergraduate degrees through departments of:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

There are significantly more diverse undergraduate degrees in engineering at Tufts than many other schools on this list. It also offers a wide breadth of Master’s degrees, PhD programs, Master’s bridge programs, dual degrees and certificate programs. There’s an equal number of men and women in Tufts’ undergraduate engineering programs, and the school eagerly welcomes international students to its ranks.

14) University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

This private university was founded in 1817. It’s based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Currently, it serves over 30,300 undergraduate students. USNR ranks it 25th among National Universities. Michigan is known for degrees in Business, Law, Medicine, and Engineering. Undergraduate engineering students can opt for degrees in:

  • Climate & Meteorology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Materials Science & Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences
  • Data Science
  • Industrial & Operations Engineering
  • Engineering Physics
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • And more!

Michigan has an incredibly diverse number of distinct degree offerings. In total, there are 17 undergraduate programs that lead to a B.S.E. degree. There’s also a number of minors that students can opt for, and a military officer education program. Michigan also offers a wealth of Master’s and Ph.D. programs in engineering for graduate students to consider.

15) Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd is a private college in Claremont, California. It was founded in 1955. USNR ranks it 23rd among National Liberal Arts Colleges. It serves nearly 900 undergraduates. It’s known for excellent math, science, and engineering degrees. It offers an undergraduate engineering program featuring courses in:

  • Engineering Mathematics
  • Experimental Engineering
  • Chemical and Thermal Processes
  • Digital Electronics and Computer Engineering
  • Continuum Mechanics

Engineering students at Harvey Mudd tailor their degrees to their interests through electives. Students graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. This program emphasizes hands-on experiences. They will work diligently on engineering practices, syntheses, and analyses. This program features a clinic program that prioritizes experiential learning.

16) University of Rochester

Rochester is a private university in Rochester, NY. It was founded in 1850. Currently, it serves over 6,500 undergraduate students. USNR ranks it 29th among National Universities. The school is known for degrees in Business Administration, Medicine, Political Science, Economics, and Engineering. Undergraduate engineering students can opt for majors in:

  • Audio and Music Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Engineering Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Interdepartmental Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Optical Engineering
  • Optics

Students can also opt for 23 distinct Ph.D. programs and 21 Master’s programs. Rochester does important research that leads to technical advances in the field. The programs were designed to prize individual interests. Many students enhance their major with courses in other disciplines, choose minors and second majors, and earn interdisciplinary certificates.

17) Bates College

Bates is a private college in Lewiston, Maine. It was founded in 1855. USNR ranks it 21st among National Liberal Arts Colleges. It currently serves over 1,800 students. Bates is known for its Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, especially in engineering. Engineering undergraduates can tailor their engineering education towards the following areas:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geophysical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering

Bates has an interesting approach to its engineering education. Students will take a lot of liberal arts classes to supplement their degree. Generally, they enter a five-year program (three years of liberal arts and two years of engineering courses), after which they’re awarded two Bachelor’s degrees. They can also opt for a 4-2 year two Bachelor degree path, or a 3-3 path that also nets them a Master of Science in Engineering. Bates provides financial aid for the 3 years of liberal arts education. The remaining years are subject to the requirements and policies of a particular engineering department.

18) Wake Forest University

Wake Forest is a private university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was founded in 1834. It currently serves over 5,200 students. USNR ranks it 27th among National Universities. It’s known for superb degrees in Law, Business, Medicine, and Engineering. In its undergraduate engineering program students take:

  • 30 hours of basic science and mathematics courses
  • 45 hours of engineering topics
  • 12 hours of engineering electives

Wake Forest grounds its undergraduate engineering degree (B.S.) in liberal arts and research. Its undergraduate engineering program is one of the most recent in the country. It’s dedicated to innovation, and a holistic approach. It has not yet, but is “on the path” towards ABET accreditation, something to consider.

19) Boston University

BU is a private university in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1839. It currently serves just over 18,500 students. USNR ranks it 40th among National Universities. It’s known for its programs in Law, Management, Medicine, Education, and Engineering. It’s also one of the largest independent nonprofit universities in the country. It offers undergraduate students engineering majors in:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Undergraduate students can also pursue concentrations in Aerospace Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Technology Innovation, Nanotechnology, and Energy Technologies. There are also great minor options from BU. The school offer research opportunities, study abroad programs, and innovative design projects. Graduate students can opt for Master’s degrees in Robotics, Data Analytics, Cybersecurity, and more.

20) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is a public research university in Champaign and Urbana, Illinois. It was founded in 1867. It serves over 33,900 students. USNR ranks it 48th among National Universities. It’s especially known for its programs in Information Sciences, Psychology, and Engineering. Undergraduates can opt for majors in:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering
  • Systems Engineering and Design

There are also nine distinct minors undergraduates can choose from. In total, the Urbana-Champaign engineering department encompasses approximately 7,200 full-time undergraduates, 4,200 graduate students, and over 400 faculty members. It has been repeatedly commended for its graduate engineering degrees and its online engineering degrees. Speaking of which: