The best engineering degrees incorporate hands on, experiential learning at the undergraduate level. Engineering majors at the top programs participate in research projects, gain work experience through co-ops and internships, and build global competencies through study abroad experiences. Here is a list of the top colleges with the best engineering degrees.
1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois College of Engineering offers 15 types of engineering degrees, with options in bioengineering, computer engineering, engineering physics, and nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering. First-year students can enroll in a program for undeclared engineering majors to learn about different types of engineering before declaring a major.
2. Purdue University
Purdue ranks among the best engineering degrees for its variety of specialized majors and its options to earn a joint bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in engineering in five years. Purdue’s first year engineering program provides hands on experience through the learning laboratory, helping incoming engineering students identify their area of interest, including agricultural and biological engineering, industrial engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering.
3. Georgia Tech
The College of Engineering at Georgia Tech offers more than 50 degree tracks at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, with 11 undergraduate majors including aerospace engineering, civil and environmental engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering. The college also offers five year BS/MS programs for engineering students who want to earn a master’s degree. Georgia Tech also offers a co-op program, where undergraduate engineering students gain paid work experience for three semesters without paying tuition.
4. University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota offers the best engineering degrees for undergraduates seeking multiple options for their engineering major. Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering provides 18 options for engineering majors, including geo-engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and computer engineering. With the option to earn a science major or minor within the same college, Minnesota appeals to engineering students with an interest in chemistry, physics, or mathematics.
5. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M offers engineering degrees from its state of the art, technology-integrated Zachry Engineering Education Complex. One of the largest colleges of engineering in the country, Texas A&M enrolls over 16,000 engineering students in its 14 departments. With bachelor’s programs in ocean engineering, petroleum engineering, and biomedical engineering, Texas A&M prepares graduates for careers in high-demand fields.
6. University of California, Berkeley
UC Berkeley offers one of the best engineering degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. With its close relationship to Silicon Valley, Berkeley integrates tech into all aspects of its program, and 2016 engineering undergraduates reported a starting salary of over $90,000. Students in the combined electrical engineering and computer science program study artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanoelectromechanical systems, preparing for in-demand careers after graduation.
7. University of Texas at Austin
The Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin offers 11 undergraduate engineering majors, including architectural engineering, computational engineering, environmental engineering, and petroleum engineering. First year students choose from these types of engineering degrees after participating in first year interest groups, which build a cohort of students with similar interests. UT Austin’s Cooperative Engineering Education Program lets undergraduate students join an experiential learning program to complete two or more semesters of full-time work while enrolled in their degree.
8. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech offers 14 engineering degrees at the undergraduate level, including chemical engineering, mining engineering, computer engineering, and construction engineering and management. First-year engineering students explore the College of Engineering’s degree options, participate in hands on projects at Frith Lab, and join a major in their sophomore year. Engineering majors also use Ware Lab to design projects, create their own parts, and explore engineering materials. Students in the College of Engineering also benefit from numerous undergraduate scholarship opportunities.
9. University of Wisconsin – Madison
Engineering students at UW-Madison benefit from one of the best engineering degrees for students to gain work experience while earning a degree. At UW-Madison, 85% of engineering majors complete a paid internship or co-op experience during their undergraduate program, earning an average of over $3,000 a month while in school. UW-Madison also offers study abroad opportunities, field research, laboratory experience, and entrepreneurial opportunities for engineering majors. Undergraduates in the College of Engineering choose from 12 majors, including biological systems engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, and engineering mechanics.
10. Penn State University
The College of Engineering at Penn State offers a wide choice of types of engineering degrees, including engineering science, mechanical engineering, architectural engineering, and computer engineering. The broad range of engineering majors lets incoming students find the best path for their interests and career goals. Penn State also offers study abroad opportunities for engineering majors on six continents, both as semester-long programs or shorter immersive experiences integrated into classes.
11. University of Washington
With connections to Seattle’s growing tech industry, the UW offers engineering degrees in ten departments, including the Boeing Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. First-year engineering students complete foundational courses and explore College of Engineering majors, such as environmental engineering, computer engineering, and human centered design and engineering.
12. Iowa State University
The College of Engineering at Iowa State University offers 12 types of engineering degrees for undergraduates, including agricultural engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and software engineering. The college plans to introduce a new major in cyber security engineering in 2019, bolstering the computer engineering curriculum with cyber security courses. Iowa State prioritizes work experience, with over 70% of engineering majors graduating with work experience in their field.
13. California Institute of Technology
Caltech’s Division of Engineering and Applied Science offers undergraduate engineering degrees in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering and applied science. The programs emphasize laboratory and design experience, problem formation and solving skills, and self-reliance for engineering majors. Caltech’s strong research focus includes the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, where majors conduct research under experienced mentors.
14. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT’s School of Engineering offers one of the best engineering degrees for students who want undergraduate research experience. Sophomores at MIT choose any major at the institute, and roughly 70% of undergraduates choose an engineering major, with options in materials science and engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, and mechanical engineering. Engineering majors benefit from undergraduate research opportunities, with 90% participating in a research program.
15. Ohio State University
The College of Engineering at Ohio State prioritizes experiential learning, team building, and technological abilities. OSU offers 14 engineering degrees, including engineering physics, food, agriculture, and biological engineering, mechanical engineering, and welding engineering. Engineering students participate in undergraduate research projects with faculty members, and can earn the designation of “with research distinction” on their diploma by completing an undergraduate research thesis. OSU also offers undergraduate research scholarships to support engineering research.
16. University of Michigan
Michigan Engineering offers 17 types of engineering degrees for undergraduates, including ABET-accredited majors in mechanical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, and chemical engineering. Incoming engineering students work on design projects to build their professional skills. Majors participate in the co-op education program to gain work experience and gain global experience through the International Programs in Engineering.
17. North Carolina State University
NC State welcomes new engineering students with the Engineering First Year Program, where they learn about the engineering profession and their academic options. NC State offers majors in mechanical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, and less common options like textile engineering and paper science and engineering. One of the best engineering degrees for entrepreneurial students, NC State offers the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program where students form a new venture, invent a product, and bring their creation to market.
18. Stanford University
Stanford’s School of Engineering offers over a dozen different types of engineering degrees, including mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and computer sciences, with additional interdisciplinary programs in biomechanical engineering, architectural design, and product design. Engineering students with unique educational goals that do not fit into a single major can design their own degree through Stanford’s Individually Designed Major in Engineering option. Stanford prioritizes hands on learning in different environment, with an engineering curriculum that emphasizes fundamental knowledge and interactive learning.
19. University of Maryland
The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland offers nine undergraduate engineering degrees, with options in bioengineering, biomolecular engineering, computer engineering, fire protection engineering, and mechanical engineering. First year students can directly enter their chosen major or explore their options while completing core classes. Maryland emphasizes hands on education and early experiential learning opportunities for engineering students, who participate in a project-based engineering design project in their first year.
20. University of California, Los Angeles
The Samueli School of Engineering at UCLA offers undergraduate engineering degrees in seven departments, including bioengineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical and aerospace engineering. UCLA Samueli also hosts the university’s computer science department. Engineering majors benefit from a student research program designed for incoming engineering students to gain research skills, and summer research programs, including the Nanosystems Chemistry and Engineering Research program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Consistently ranked in the top 10 of public engineering schools by U.S. News & World Report, and with over 26,000 applicants for 775 spots, UCLA remains one of the most competitive engineering schools.