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)

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:

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

  • 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)

(Video) Top 20 best engineering colleges & Universities in USA | us universities for international students

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

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.

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

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.

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)

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

The 25 Best Engineering Schools in the US (and How to Get In) (9)

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.

(Video) Top Ten Best Engineering Schools in 2021


What is the number 1 engineering school in the US? ›

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the top engineering school in America.

What is the easiest engineering program to get into? ›

Easiest Engineering Degrees
  • Computer Engineering.
  • Environmental Engineering.
  • Civil Engineering.
  • Mechanical Engineering.
  • Biomedical Engineering.
  • Electrical Engineering.
  • Petroleum Engineering.
  • Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering.

How can I get into engineering college in USA? ›

Applicants interested in top engineering colleges better have strong grades in math and science (Physics) subjects. Not only do you need to show strong grades and marks in these subjects but you are also expected to perform very well in standardized tests such as SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and GRE.

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 engineering pays the most? ›

In terms of median pay and growth potential, these are the 10 highest paying engineering jobs to consider.
  • 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? ›

What Is the Hardest Engineering Major?
Top 3 Hardest Engineering MajorsTop 3 Easiest Engineering Majors
1. Chemical engineering (19.66 hours)1. Industrial engineering (15.68 hours)
2. Aero and astronautical engineering (19.24 hours)2. Computer engineering and technology (16.46 hours)
1 more row

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 is the hardest major? ›

What Are the 10 Most Difficult College Majors?
  • Economics – 2.95.
  • Biology – 3.02.
  • Geology – 3.03.
  • Philosophy – 3.08.
  • Finance – 3.08.
  • Physics – 3.10.
  • Computer Science – 3.13.
  • Mechanical Engineering – 3.17.
17 Sept 2022

What SAT score do you need for engineering? ›

A score of 800 is ideal, but getting a 700 will give you a chance to get accepted in an engineering school.

What ACT score do you need to be an engineer? ›

Even for less competitive schools, still aim for at least a 700 on SAT Math and 32 on ACT Math and Science. It's definitely possible to get into engineering programs with test scores lower than those, but you'll need to make sure your grades in math/science classes are especially strong.

How many years does it take to become an engineer in USA? ›

Typically, a bachelor of engineering USA may take four years to complete and a master's degree in engineering usually requires one or two years. However, the duration may vary depending on the degree program and the university you attend.

Which is the No 1 engineering college in world? ›

Top 10 universities for the Engineering and Technology subject area
RankName of InstitutionLocation
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)United States
2Stanford UniversityUS
3ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologySwitzerland
7 more rows

How much do engineers make? ›

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) engineers have a median annual wage of $100,640 and the engineering field projects to have employment growth of 6 percent from 2020 to 2030—nearly 146,000 new jobs over the next decade.

Is engineering hard to study? ›

Engineering as a Career. Considered one of the toughest courses in the world, engineering students are required to have tactical skills, analytical skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities. Engineering continues to be one of the most preferred choices of students after pursuing Science PCM in class 12th ...

Which is the No 1 engineering college in world? ›

Top 10 universities for the Engineering and Technology subject area
RankName of InstitutionLocation
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)United States
2Stanford UniversityUS
3ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologySwitzerland
7 more rows

Is MIT the best engineering school? ›

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2023 Rankings

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ranked No. 1 in Best Engineering Schools. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.


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