Why This Matters

  • THE AVERAGE WAGE FOR AN ENGINEER IN THE UNITED STATES IS $111,636.

    Though this number reflects engineers who have worked in the field for years, the average starting salary for those earning an undergraduate engineering degree is over $66,000, topping all other majors.

  • THERE ARE 20 DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES WITHIN THE FIELD OF ENGINEERING

    Engineering is one of the most diverse fields of study. While many students choose to study general engineering, the majority opt for mechanical engineering, followed by civil engineering and electrical engineering.

  • THE ENGINEERING FIELD IS EXPECTED TO ADD 140,000 NEW JOBS

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth in the engineering field is expected to create 140,000 new jobs over the next several years, with the majority coming in the area of civil engineering.

Our Research

The list we’ve assembled concentrates exclusively on programs offering undergraduate degrees. Almost all are offered as traditional, on-campus programs, though some do offer online programming or a combination of on-campus and online classes. All of the programs that we’ve reviewed culminate in awarding a Bachelor of Science degree, with variations in the area of engineering concentration.

In the field of engineering there are several organizations that provide accreditation for engineering degree programs. The programs that we have reviewed have all received accreditation, with the majority accredited by ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. ABET accreditation guarantees students that the engineering degree that they are pursuing meets the standards needed for them to enter the technical field of their choice, and also ensures employers that the job candidates they are considering have the qualifications and education integral to the knowledge they need to do the job properly. ABET accredits 4,144 programs at 812 colleges and universities in 32 countries.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best Engineering Degree program are affordable, respected, and flexible. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 67 hours to write this article
  • 206 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 339 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Engineering Degree Programs

Best Engineering Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Students considering degrees in engineering are often conflicted as to whether to pursue an engineering discipline or to study physics instead. The two are related, but very different. Where physicists work to understand the ways that energy and matter interact, engineers use the information gathered by physicists and put it into action.

As a result of the interconnectedness of the two fields of study, students pursuing engineering degrees will end up studying physics extensively, as well as math and other scientific concepts. And many students who pursue physics degrees go on to careers in engineering.

No matter what discipline of engineering you choose as your area of focus, your engineering degree program selection process should include checking on each school’s accreditation. Though regional accreditation is important for any undergraduate degree, the ABET accreditation is what will assure you of the college or university’s dedication to providing you with a high-quality engineering education that will be highly respected within the field.

Individuals who graduate with a degree in engineering have extremely promising futures, as the field is experiencing continuous growth and the starting salaries for those with an engineering degree is significantly higher than for those graduating with other types of degrees. Though the most growth is anticipated in mechanical engineering and civil engineering, other disciplines including aerospace engineers, computer hardware engineers, health and safety engineers, and biomedical engineers are also expected to be in great demand.

There are several different certifications to which a graduate of an engineering degree program may aspire depending upon the particular discipline that you select for your area of expertise. In most cases, certification or licensing will require both an engineering degree and several years of experience in the field. Some of these certifications include the Professional Engineer license bestowed by the National Society of Professional Engineers; the Engineer in Training Certification offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying; electrical and mechanical systems certifications offered by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies; and civil engineering technology certifications, which are also offered by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching engineering degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Getting admitted to one of the country’s top engineering degree programs is a highly competitive process. To get accepted, most applicants will need to have earned exceptional grades in high school and to have scored extremely well on the standardized ACT or SAT tests. The top engineering programs look for a perfect or near perfect score on the math section of either of these tests. They will also expect your high school transcript to reflect a demonstrated interest and talent for math and science, usually through AP courses and high scores on AP tests. Students who have participated in math and/or science-related extracurricular activities or competitions are also likely to be looked upon favorably.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? With few exceptions, undergraduate engineering degrees are offered in a traditional, on-campus setting that takes four years to complete. Some programs will offer the ability to take some classes online, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

An engineering degree offers the promise of an exciting, fulfilling career with generous compensation, but the education itself often comes with a high price tag. While deciding which program you want to attend, it’s a good idea to start investigating your financial aid options early. Start by filling out the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and take some time to learn about the wide range of scholarships and grant programs that are available to you.