The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (2023)

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (1)

Do you dream of building driverless cars or a space elevator? You should check out the best engineering schools in the US!

But with so many different engineering schools out there and intense competition for the top programs, how can you figure out where should you apply? To help you decide, we've compiled a list of the best engineering schools in the US. We'll explain a little bit about each school on the list as well as provide rankings within specific subfields of engineering.

What Is an Engineering School?

Engineering schools are colleges with a majority of majors and courses in applied sciences and mathematics. Rather than providing students with a broad liberal arts experience (of which science and math are just a small part), engineering programs center around taking the scientific and mathematical knowledge we have and applying it to real-world problems.

There's also a difference between schools of engineering (which exclusively focus on engineering fields like mechanical and computer engineering) and larger universities that have strong engineering programs within them (like Cornell University's College of Engineering). We've considered both types of schools in our rankings.

How We Ranked the Best Engineering Schools

In deciding which schools to include in our rankings, we focused only on the quality of undergraduate engineering programs. We did this by aggregating and comparing rankings from several different sources, including the US News & World Reports (weighted 2x the others because of their dominance), Niche (a student satisfaction-heavy ranking), and College Factual.

These rankings take into account factors like students' salaries (both immediately after graduating and projected gains in the future), how popular that degree is at that school, student satisfaction, and how peers in the field view the program (mainly professors from other schools).

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (2)

The Top 25 Engineering Schools in the US

And now (drumroll please), our list of the best engineering schools in the US.

Note: All acceptance rates listed are for the school as a whole and are meant to give you a general idea of the schools' selectivity. For more details on admissions for a specific program, you should contact the school directly.

RankSchool Name (Nickname)LocationAdmissions Rate
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Cambridge, MA7%
2Stanford UniversityStanford, CA4%
3Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Olin)Needham, MA16%
4California Institute of Technology (Caltech)Pasadena, CA7%
5Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ6%
6Harvey Mudd CollegeClaremont, CA14%
7Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)Atlanta, GA21%
8Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, PA15%
9University of California—Berkeley (UC Berkeley)Berkeley, CA16%
10Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD11%
11Cornell UniversityIthaca, NY11%
12University of Michigan—Ann Arbor (UMich)Ann Arbor, MI23%
13Northwestern UniversityEvanston, IL9%
14Rice UniversityHouston, TX8%
15 Duke UniversityDurham, NC8%
16University of Texas at AustinAustin, TX32%
17University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA8%
18Columbia UniversityNew York, NY6%
19Rose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyTerre Haute, IN68%
20Harvard UniversityCambridge, MA5%
21University of California—Los Angeles (UCLA)Los Angeles, CA12%
22Purdue University—West LafayetteWest Lafayette, IN60%
23University of Illinois—Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, IL60%
24University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA11%
25University of Notre DameNotre Dame, IN16%

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (3)

(Video) Top 25 Best Engineering Universities in the USA | Engineering Colleges in USA | Engineering Katta

Best Specialized Engineering Programs

While all of the schools on our list are highly ranked overall, certain specialties are stronger at certain schools. We've chosen the gold, silver, and bronze medalists for six different subfields:

  • Aerospace engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Computer engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering

The rankings here are based on specialty rankings from US News & World Report and College Factual, again for undergraduate programs only (not including the quality of masters or doctorate programs at the school).

You'll notice some overlap over different fields (for instance, MIT, Georgia Tech, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology rank for most of them), but there are still clear differences in which schools are best for which specialty.

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (4)

Best Aerospace Engineering Schools in the US

Aerospace engineering is the field you go into if you're interested in studying flight of any kind (whether that's aircraft or spacecraft). The best aerospace engineering programs can be found in the following four schools:

Gold medal: MIT

Silver medal: CalTech

Bronze medal: Stanford

Best Chemical Engineering Schools in the US

Chemical engineering is at the intersection of chemistry, biology, math, and even some physics. The following three programs all do an outstanding job at turning out graduates skilled in chemical engineering.

Gold medal: MIT

Silver medal: Stanford

Bronze medal: Northwestern

Best Civil Engineering Schools in the US

Students in civil engineering programs learn about designing, building, and maintaining physical structures like bridges, buildings, and roads. The following four schools have leading programs in civil engineering for undergraduates.

Gold medal: Stanford

Silver medal: MIT, Notre Dame, and Harvey Mudd (tied)

(Video) Best Engineering Schools In United States 2021

Bronze medal: UC Berkeley

Best Computer Engineering Schools in the US

Computer engineering programs focus on teaching students computer science and electrical engineering. The three schools we've listed below have the best undergraduate computer engineering programs in the US (if you're looking for top information technology programs, check out this article instead).

Gold medal: MIT

Silver medal: Carnegie Mellon

Bronze medal: Stanford, Notre Dame, and UC Berkeley (tied)

Bonus: Want a preview of what sorts of tools you'll be using as a computer engineer? Read our article on the JavaScript TypeOf function here.

Best Electrical Engineering Schools in the US

Programs with a focus in electrical engineering equip students to work (gloves-on-)hands-on with electricity and electronic-related structures, including circuitry and telecommunications (including mobile/cellular/satellite). Depending on the school, electrical engineering can also be a broader program that encompasses other engineering fields like aerospace, computer, or sound engineering. The following three schools are the best in the US when it comes to electrical engineering undergraduate programs:

Gold medal: Stanford

Silver medal: MIT

Bronze medal:

Best Mechanical Engineering Schools in the US

Mechanical engineering programs teach students the theory and practicalities behind machine design, construction, and use. Of all the top engineering schools, the following three are known for their strong mechanical engineering programs.

Gold medal: MIT

Silver medal: Georgia Tech (tied)

Bronze medal: Olin and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (tied)

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (5)

(Video) Top 5 Engineering Schools in the U.S.

3 Top Tips for Applying to Engineering Schools

Now that you know what the best engineering schools in the US are, the next step is to make sure your high school transcript and application show that you're a strong engineering candidate.

We'll go over three useful tips for planning your standardized testing, coursework, and extracurriculars to have the best chance of getting into top engineering schools.

#1: Ace SAT/ACT Math

If you want to get into a top engineering school, you need to get a perfect or near-perfect score on SAT or ACT Math. Getting an 800 or a 36 is best, especially for schools like MIT where only 25% of students got below a 790 or a 35 on the SAT or ACT Math sections.

For engineering schools in general, it's way better to get 800 on SAT Math and 550 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (for a total SAT score of 1350) than it would be to get a 700 on Math and 700 on EBRW (total of 1400). Extremely high math scores (and mediocre reading/writing scores) are always, always preferred over medium-high math scores and medium-high reading/writing scores.

At a minimum, you'll need to get at least a 700 on SAT Math or a 30 on ACT Math to have a chance of getting into a good engineering school.

If you take any SAT Subject Tests, it's important to take and get a perfect 800 on a SAT Math Subject Test (preferably Math 2) to show you're strong in Math beyond what's covered on the SAT or ACT. Getting a perfect or high score on SAT II Physics or any other science Subject Test as well isn't required, but it also will help your application.

#2: Take Lots of Science and Math

If you want to get into top engineering schools, it's less important to be well rounded than to show that you have a solid foundation in math.

Showing that you're strong in science, too, is a nice bonus, particularly if your strength is in a field closely related to the type of engineering you're interested in (e.g. bio or chem for chemical engineering).

Demonstrate your strengths to colleges by taking (and excelling) in advanced math and science classes. This means taking honors-level, AP, or IB courses and putting as much effort as you can into getting top grades in them, even if it means you end up with relatively lower grades in other subjects.

#3: Excel in Math and Science Extracurriculars

As PrepScholar co-founder Allen Cheng discusses in his guide to getting into Harvard and the Ivy League, the key to getting accepted to the most selective institutions is to build up a "spike" in a certain area. For engineering schools, this area is (you guessed it) math and/or science.

Taking part and scoring highly on Math or Science Olympiads and participating in competitions like Intel or Siemens Westinghouse are crucial to building your engineering extracurricular creds. PrepScholar co-founder Fred Zhang particularly recommends going to the RSI science and math camp and scoring highly on the AIME to boost your chances of acceptance to top engineering schools in the US.

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (6)

What's Next?

Where can you get the most money to study engineering? Find out with our compilation of the best engineering scholarships.

Not sure if engineering is the right subject for you? We go into what some of the other highest-paying college majors are in this article.

Liked this list of schools? Check out some of our other best-of-specialty-school lists, including the best film schools, best video game design schools, best journalism schools, and best creative writing schools.

(Video) Best Engineering Schools: The Ultimate Guide

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (7)

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (8)

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Laura Staffaroni

About the Author

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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(Video) Easiest Engineering Schools To Get Into in 2021


What college has the best engineering program in the US? ›

MIT maintains its top position in the world for engineering and technology, with a perfect score for academic reputation. Of the 91 engineering and technology schools in the US, 14 appear in the world top 50.

What is the #1 ranked engineering university in the United States? ›

There are 520 top engineering and technology schools around the world, including 92 in the United States. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the best of these, ranking first globally.

How can I get into engineering school in USA? ›

In order to excel in an engineering major, you need to have strong math and analytical skills, and test scores are a major way for colleges to gauge your skills in those areas. For your application, you'll want strong scores on the SAT/ACT as well as AP exams and/or SAT Subject Tests.

What is the easiest engineering program to get into? ›

Easiest Engineering Degrees
  • Industrial Engineering.
  • General Engineering.
  • Computer Engineering.
  • Environmental Engineering.
  • Civil Engineering.
  • Mechanical Engineering.
  • Biomedical Engineering.
  • Electrical Engineering.
28 Nov 2021

Which engineering has highest salary? ›

Top 10 Highest Paying Engineering Jobs of 2022
  • Systems Engineer. ...
  • Electrical Engineer. ...
  • Chemical Engineer. ...
  • Big Data Engineer. ...
  • Nuclear Engineer. ...
  • Aerospace Engineer. ...
  • Computer Hardware Engineer. ...
  • Petroleum Engineer.
24 Mar 2022

What is the most difficult engineering to study? ›

Chemical engineering

Which engineering is best in the world? ›

What are the top 7 Engineering courses?
  1. Aeronautical Engineering. ...
  2. Chemical Engineering. ...
  3. Civil Engineering. ...
  4. Computer Engineering. ...
  5. Electrical Engineering. ...
  6. Industrial Engineering. ...
  7. Mechanical Engineering.
13 Sept 2022

What University graduates the most engineers? ›

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus awards the most degrees in Engineering in the US, but Webb Institute and Franklin W Olin College of Engineering have the highest percentage of degrees awarded in Engineering.

What's the best engineering degree? ›

Top 5 Engineering Degrees to Pursue in College
  • Computer Engineering.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Electrical Engineering.
  • Aeronautical Engineering.
  • Biomedical Engineering.

Which engineers are the happiest? ›

Structural engineering

As the chart below shows, of the engineers highlighted in this report, a petroleum engineer not only makes the most money both early and through their mid-career, but they also have the highest satisfaction rate.

Which engineering is easy and highest salary? ›

Computer Science and Engineering

A Computer Science Engineer can earn the highest salary is around ₹37 LPA and more in India.

Which engineering is best for future? ›

Here are the best engineering branches and courses for the future:
  • Aerospace Engineering.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
  • Petroleum Engineering.
  • Telecommunication Engineering.
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Robotics Engineering.
  • Biochemical Engineering.

What GPA do engineers need? ›

Though the range will vary, many engineering programs have GPA requirements for applicants. Most colleges expect a high school GPA of at least 3.0 or a demonstration that the student was in, at minimum, the top 25 percent of their graduating high school class.

Do engineering schools prefer SAT or ACT? ›

Short answer: there's no preference. A common myth is that elite colleges prefer the SAT over the ACT. In reality, all colleges and universities which require standardized testing accept BOTH the ACT and SAT. And college admissions counselors have openly stated they do not prefer one test over the other.

How hard is it to get into an engineering program? ›

Each department has its set of entry requirements. Course and GPA Requirement. Most schools don't have a specific GPA range for students pursuing an engineering degree. However, you should have a GPA between 3.0 and 4.0 and have completed your physics, math, and general studies courses during high school.

Which engineer is most in demand? ›

The Most In-Demand Engineering Jobs
  • Data Science & Machine Learning. ...
  • Automation & Robotics Engineer. ...
  • Petroleum Engineer. ...
  • Civil Engineering. ...
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Alternative Energy Engineer. ...
  • Mining Engineer. ...
  • Project Engineer.

Do engineers earn more than doctors? ›

In Indian culture, being a doctor is considered the highest achievement, followed by an engineer as number two. Why is becoming a doctor or an engineer so highly valued?
Doctor vs Engineer: Quick Facts.
Average salaryINR 14,00,000 – 41,00,000 per yearINR 14,00,000 – 30,00,000 per year
4 more rows
8 Jul 2022

Which engineering has more job opportunities? ›

The branch of engineering with the highest earning potential is computer science engineering. There are many branches within computer science engineering like data engineering and software engineering which also have good earning potential.

How many hours do engineering students study? ›

totally depends on the institution are in... in my university I studied before exams for like 10-12 hours and it was enough for me to score what you asked. The same might not be same for every institute... but seriously "no.

What is the best College to become an engineer? ›

Top 15 Best Colleges for Engineering
School NameLocationAcceptance Rate (2019)
1. Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge, MA6.7%
2. California Institute of TechnologyPasadena, CA6.4%
3. Stanford UniversityStanford, CA4.3%
4. Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ5.8%
11 more rows
14 May 2020

What SAT score do you need for engineering? ›

That's because there is less room for a gap as the standards become very high for all students and scores creep ever closer to 1600.
Estimate a School's Average Engineering Score:
General Admission SATEstimated Engineering SAT Admission
6 more rows
24 Jul 2018

Is MIT an Ivy League? ›

Although MIT is not an Ivy League university, its classes are just as challenging, professors just as distinguished, alumni networks just as esteemed, and their acceptance rates just as competitive.

What is MIT known for? ›

While MIT is perhaps best known for its programs in engineering and the physical sciences, other areas—notably economics, political science, urban studies, linguistics, and philosophy—are also strong. Admission is extremely competitive, and undergraduate students are often able to pursue their own original research.


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