Best Undergraduate Engineering Schools (Ranked for 2021)

The United States is home to hundreds of outstanding universities, many of which excel in the field of Engineering. Whether you're interested in aeronautical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering or the countless other specializations within the field, there will be a host of excellent schools to consider.

There are many different organizations which publish annual rankings by subject areas, including US News and World Report, Times Higher Education and QS (Quacquarelli Symonds).

All are slightly different, but the following 10 universities tend to feature regularly in rankings of top Engineering schools and can therefore be considered ten of the best colleges to gain an Engineering degree in the US.

Of course, when it comes to selecting which colleges to complete bachelor's degrees at, there are many factors aside from rankings to consider. At Kings our dedicated Progression Advisors are experts in helping establish the best transfer schools for intended degree program, putting you on the best possible path for success.

Table of Contents

School #1: MIT

School #2: UC Berkeley

School #3: Stanford University

School #4: Harvard University

School #5: Georgia Institute of Technology

School #6: Caltech

School #7: Carnegie Mellon University

School #8: University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign

School #9: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

School #10: Purdue University - West Lafayette

Study Engineering at a Top university with Kings

FAQs

School #1: MIT

Located outside Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT focuses on scientific and technological research and is divided into five schools. The MIT School of Engineering is the largest of the total of five institutes at MIT. University research expenditures have exceeded $700 million a year, with funding from government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense.

The campus has about 20 research centers that encourage students to explore variable areas, including ocean engineering, soldier nanotechnologies, and cancer research. Some of the school's most popular subjects are Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

In 2021, MIT was ranked #1 in the QS World University rankings for Engineering and Technology. It was also ranked #1 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) by U.S. News & World Report, and also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Aerospace /Aeronautical / Astronautical (#1), Chemical (#1), Electrical / Electronic / Communications (#1), Materials (#1), Mechanical (#1), Computer (#2), Biomedical (#3), Civil (#3) and Environmental / Environmental Health (#7).

The Times Higher Education World University rankings place it #4 globally for Engineering and Technology.

Location

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tuition

Its tuition and fees are $53,818.

Acceptance Rate

Massachusetts Institute of Technology admissions is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 7% and an early acceptance rate of 7.4%

School #2: UC Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley is a public sector university established in 1931 and located in Berkeley, California. The College of Engineering is among one of the 14 schools and colleges of UC Berkeley and is recognized globally as a leader in engineering education.

Undergraduate Engineering options at the university include Bioengineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, Engineering Science, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, Materials Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering.

In 2021, it was ranked #2 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) by U.S. News & World Report and it is also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Environmental / Environmental Health (#1), Civil (#2), Electrical / Electronic / Communications (#2), Materials (#2), Chemical (#3), Computer (#3), Mechanical (#5), Biomedical (#7), Industrial / Manufacturing (#8).

QS World University and Times Higher Education rankings both place it #5 globally for Engineering.

According to the UC Berkeley Engineering website, $110,000 was the median starting salary reported by 2020 undergraduates joining the workforce.

Location

Berkeley (San Francisco), California

Tuition

Its in-state tuition and fees are $14,226; out-of-state tuition and fees are $43,980.

Acceptance Rate

16%

School #3: Stanford University

Stanford University is a private institute for students from all US States and more than 90 other countries. Stanford’s School of Engineering is among one of the seven schools and has more than 16,000 students enrolled.

Since its foundation, Stanford has been at the forefront in the field of technology and innovation. The institute focuses on several research areas, including bioengineering, network security, information technology, materials and matter, computation, and data analysis. In 2021, it was ranked #2 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) by U.S. News & World Report and it is also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Environmental / Environmental Health (#2), Mechanical (#3), Computer (#4), Electrical / Electronic / Communications (#5), Aerospace /Aeronautical / Astronautical (#5), Biomedical (#5), Chemical (#6), Materials (#7), Civil (#8), Industrial / Manufacturing (#8).

The Times Higher Education World University rankings place it #3 globally for Engineering and Technology, and it was ranked #2 in the QS World University rankings for Engineering and Technology.

Location

Stanford, California

Tuition

Its tuition and fees are $56,169.

Acceptance Rate

4%

School #4: Harvard University

Dating back to 1636, Ivy League university Harvard is the oldest university in the US and is regarded as one of the most prestigious in the world. Engineering students at the John A. Paulson School Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences can complete their study in four broad areas: Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Computer Science, or Engineering Sciences.

In 2021, the Times Higher Education World University rankings place it 1st globally for Engineering and Technology. It was ranked #1 for Best Engineering graduate schools and #21 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) by U.S. News & World Report.

Location

Cambridge (Boston), Massachusetts

Tuition

Its tuition and fees are $54,002.

Acceptance Rate

5%.

School #5: Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Georgia Tech, as it's commonly known, is a very large university with over 14,000 undergraduate students. Within Engineering, there are around 20 options to choose from for specialization, including medical physics and aerospace engineering. Mechanical engineering is among the popular majors of the institute. Industrial engineering, biomedical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, civil and structural engineering are also among the institute’s highly ranked programs.

In 2021, Georgia Tech was ranked #4 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) by U.S. News & World Report and it is also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Civil (#1), Industrial / Manufacturing (#1). Aerospace /Aeronautical / Astronautical (#2), Biomedical (#2), Chemical (#2), Mechanical (#2), Electrical / Electronic / Communications (#4), Environmental / Environmental Health (#4), Materials (#4), Computer (#5).

It was #13 in QS World University rankings for Engineering and Technology.

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Tuition

Its in-state tuition and fees are $12,682; out-of-state tuition and fees are $33,794.

Acceptance Rate

Georgia Institute of Technology has an acceptance rate of 21% and an early acceptance rate of 19.9%

School #6: California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

California Institute of Technology is a small, private sector institute with just under 1000 undergraduate students. Students can participate in research ongoing in research centers such as the Center for the Science and Engineering and Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering.

In 2021, it was ranked #4 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) and it is also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Aerospace /Aeronautical / Astronautical (#3), Electrical / Electronic / Communications (#3), Chemical (#4) and Mechanical (#6).

It was #14 in QS World University rankings for Engineering and Technology.

Location

Pasadena, California

Tuition

Its tuition and fees are $56,862.

Acceptance Rate

6%

School #7: Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is a private-sector research university established in 1900 and located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Students can choose from 10 interdisciplinary majors. The institute also offers the option of the course-based or research-based graduate program. There are 30 research centers on the campus.


Shutterstock/Tupungato

The Carnegie Institute of Technology is ranked among the top institutes for engineering and technology. In 2021, it was ranked #6 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) by U.S. News & World Report and it is also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Computer (#1), Cybersecurity (#1), Electrical, Environmental, Materials and Mechanical.

It was #17 in QS World University rankings for Engineering and Technology.

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tuition

Its tuition and fees are $58,924.

Acceptance Rate

15%

School #8: University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign

The University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign is a public institution that was founded in 1867 and comprises 15 colleges and schools. Its School of Information Sciences, College of Engineering are generally considered among the best in the country.

Undergraduate engineering majors at The Grainger College of Engineering are ranked #6 overall in the U.S. News & World Report and it is also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Materials Science and Engineering (#2), Engineering Physics (#2), Agricultural and Biological Engineering (#6), Civil Engineering (#6), Environmental Engineering (#6), Industrial Engineering (#6), Computer Engineering (#7), Electrical Engineering (#7) and Mechanical Engineering / Engineering Mechanics (#8).

It was #27 in QS World University rankings for Engineering and Technology.

Location

The University of Illinois is located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign in east-central Illinois, just a few hours from Chicago.

Tuition

Its in-state tuition and fees are $16,862; out-of-state tuition and fees are $34,312.

Acceptance Rate

University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign has an acceptance rate of 59%.

School #9: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Michigan Engineering is home to top-ranked departments that collaborate within the nation’s number one public research institution – the University of Michigan. Nearly all of the 19 schools, colleges and divisions, including Engineering, rank among the best in their fields.

All of the graduate and undergraduate programs are highly ranked and have a strong reputation for excellence. Michigan Engineering’s graduate and undergraduate programs rank 7th and 6th in the nation, respectively according to U.S. News & World Report and it is also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Environmental / Environmental Health (#2), Industrial / Manufacturing (#3), Aerospace /Aeronautical / Astronautical (#4), Mechanical (#4) Chemical (#4), Civil (#6), Biomedical (#6), Materials (#6), Computer (#7), Electrical / Electronic / Communications (#8).

It was #33 in QS World University rankings for Engineering and Technology 2021.

Location

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tuition

Its in-state tuition and fees are $15,948; out-of-state tuition and fees are $52,266.

Acceptance Rate

23%

School #10: Purdue University - West Lafayette

Purdue University—West Lafayette is a public institution that was founded in 1869. Purdue Engineering is consistently highly ranked for academics and in career preparation, and students receive a top-quality experience culminating in some of the industry's most competitive starting salaries.


Shutterstock/ Ken Wolter

Students can choose from 17 engineering majors and several unique minors. They also have the option to customize their own major through interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary programs.

Purdue University—West Lafayette was ranked #9 in Best Undergraduate Engineering programs and #4 in Best Engineering Schools (tie) by U.S. news & world report in 2021 and it is also ranked in the Top 10 for the following Engineering specialisms: Biological / Agricultural (#1), Industrial / Manufacturing (#2), Civil (#3), Aerospace /Aeronautical / Astronautical (#5), Mechanical (#7), Computer (#10), Electrical / Electronic / Communications (#10).

It was #34 in QS World University rankings for Engineering and Technology.

Notable alumni include Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan (the first and last man on the Moon), Charles Ellis (designer of the Golden Gate Bridge), Lillian Gilbreth (the first lady of engineering) and Reginald Fessenden (father of radio broadcasting).

Location

West Lafayette, Indiana

Tuition

Its in-state tuition and fees are $9,992; out-of-state tuition and fees are $28,794.

Acceptance Rate

60%

The above have been selected as 10 of the top Engineering schools, however the following institutions are also recognized for the high quality of their programs:

  • UCLA
  • University of Southern California (USC)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Princeton University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • University at Texas, Austin
  • John Hopkins University (Baltimore)
  • North Carolina State University

Study Engineering at a Top University With Kings

With Kings Premium Universities programs in the US, international students complete the first two years of their degree at one of our partner universities (located in Boston, New York, California Wisconsin and Oregon), before generally transferring to complete their degree at another top ranked university. These settings provide the optimum place for international students to start their US university degree, offering small classes, and the opportunity to study — and live — alongside American students their own age from Day One.

The extensive support and preparation that we offer also ensures that the vast majority of our students transfer to complete their degree at one of the Top 50 or Top 100 universities in the United States.

While our students choose to major in a whole host of subject areas, Engineering remains popular. Some of the Top 50 universities to have accepted Kings students to study an Engineering majors include: University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) (#20), University of Southern California (#24) (University of California–Irvine (#35), University of California–Davis (#39) University of California–Santa Barbara (#30) University of Rochester (#34) University of California–San Diego (#35), Brandeis University (#42), Boston University (#42), University of Wisconsin–Madison (#42), University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (#47), Georgia Institute of Technology (#47).

Our specialist GO: Engineering program offers students guaranteed transfer to a Top Engineering school after 5 semesters: University of Rochester, University of Wisconsin–Madison or University of Albany–SUNY.

Student Stories

Meet a few of the many students who have successfully progressed to top 50 universities to major in Engineering, and hear what they have to say about their experiences both with Kings, and at university in the United States.

Luis

"What happened to me, happened to a lot of my friends: they applied to different schools, didn't get in and ended up having to stay home as they couldn't find anything.

Here I was helped choose the courses I would need to transfer to specific schools, they helped me indentify the right universities for what I was looking for, corrected my essays and basically Kings help you present the best version of yourself and to get the things you need to go where you want to go."

Luis is majoring in Mechanical Engineering at USC.

Sebastian"Everytime I went to a meeting with my advisor, I felt he was really interested in me going to the best school. I got a accepted to Boston University which was my first choice so I am happy."

Sebastian decided to major in Engineering Physics. He is now at Boston University.


See more student stories here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Engineering programs in the US.

Q1. What are the top colleges for Engineering?

There is no one best college for Engineering, but several - such as those listed above - which are generally recognised for the quality and range of their Engineering programs.

When it comes to choosing which school to apply for, there are many factors to consider alongside rankings, including any particular expertise in a certain specialization, and of course the university itself.

Q2. What is the best engineering school in the world?

Currently (in 2021) MIT and Stanford University rank #1 and #2 in the world for Engineering according to QS. Ivy League Harvard ranks #1 globally according to Times Higher Education.

Q3. What GPA do you need to become an engineer?

GPA requirements vary by university, and also by proposed major — it's best to check on any prospective university's website to find out the specific entry requirements.

Q4. Which type of engineering is best for the future?

There are several specialisms, and related careers, within Engineering that are likely to be in demand in the coming decades and that students may choose to focus on either at undergraduate level or in grad school. They include Software Engineer, Civil Engineer (to address changing infrastructure needs as populations grow) and Environmental Engineers who can apply their knowledge of the natural sciences to develop new solutions in areas such as recycling, waste management and green energy.

Q5. How can I study Engineering as an international student?

With Kings Guaranteed Outcome programs, international students are able to begin their degree at one of our partner universities, where they spend the first two or three years in an ideal setting for acclimatizing to US university life.

During their time with us, they benefit from on-campus support, both academic and personal, ensuring they make the best possible progress.

Personalized progression advising also means they receive extensive help to identify the best transfer universities for their goals, and to build the best possible student profile, ensuring they can be successful in applying to top 50 or 100 universities to complete their Engineering degree.

Next steps

We hope that this article has helped you understand more about the best schools for Engineering in the US, and how Kings Guaranteed Outcome programs can help you get there.

If you would like receive more detailed information about the Kings and our programs, please get in touch with us at enquiries@kingseducation.com.

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