“Engineering” is a broad term that can encompass various subfields as diverse as mechanical engineering, computer engineering, and civil engineering. The best undergraduate engineering programs (in both traditional and online colleges) will both introduce you to the various subfields and offer you the opportunity to specialize in a subfield in order to prepare you for your career. Our 2016 rankings of undergraduate engineering programs is composed of schools that do just this rather than specializing in a particular subfield. It is also composed equally of undergraduate-only schools that specialize in engineering and large, public research universities that offer a major in engineering among many others. Our rankings are based primarily on cost of tuition as reported by individual schools and CNN Money and reputation in the field as reported by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and TES Global. Whether you prefer a smaller school that specializes in engineering or a larger campus community with a full liberal arts curriculum, our list will help you find a reputable and affordable program that suits your needs.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is a small engineering, science, and mathematics college in Terre Haute, Indiana. RHIT’s 2,200 students gain not only a technical knowledge, but a hands-on education that teaches them the value of collaboration and teamwork. Eight undergraduate majors and nine minors in engineering are available, including Biomedical Engineering, Engineering Physics, and more. Rose-Hulman offers study abroad programs, emphasizing the global impact of work in the STEM fields.
Stanford University, located between San Francisco and San Jose, opened in 1891 and has played a major role in solving the world’s complex challenges ever since. Nearly 7,000 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate students make up the university’s population. A Stanford education allows for abundant research opportunities and the freedom to pursue intellectual and personal passions. Stanford’s School of Engineering offers eight undergraduate majors in engineering, as well as nine interdepartmental programs.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in 1861 and was modeled on European polytechnic universities. Created as a response to the industrialization of the United States, MIT focuses on education in areas of science and technology. About 60 percent of MIT’s undergraduate students are pursuing degrees within the School of Engineering. MIT undergraduates benefit from rigorous study and have the option to apply for the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, an experiential learning program for sophomores.
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University of California Berkeley
The flagship of the University of California system, UC Berkeley is a public research university made up of 170 academic departments and programs. More than 35,000 students are pursuing degrees at UC Berkeley, and 27,000 of those students are undergraduates. Berkeley Engineering offers 11 undergraduate single majors, as well as joint major, dual major, and simultaneous degree options. The university’s location in the Bay Area of California allows students to play a part in the innovative culture of Silicon Valley.
Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd College, a private residential liberal arts college focused on math and sciences, is located in Claremont, California. Harvey Mudd is one of the seven contiguous Claremont Colleges. Named after Harvey S. Mudd, the university adopts this mining engineer’s desire to overcome the limits of traditional technical training. Although Mudd’s nine majors are in fields of mathematics, science, and engineering, the humanities and social sciences are also incorporated into the curriculum.
California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo began as a vocational high school and is now one of the 23 universities that make up the California State University system. Cal Poly is known for its emphasis on experiential education, which promotes project-based learning. Engineering is one of the university’s most popular departments, with 13 undergraduate majors and 5,000 engineering and computer science students. A Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering is available for students who want exceptional flexibility in course selection.
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a land-grant university and the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system. Seventeen colleges and more than 150 programs of study make up the university, engaging over 44,000 students. The College of Engineering at Illinois has 15 degree programs across 12 departments. Special programs are also available for engineering majors, including First Year Engineering: Undeclared, which allows first-year students to explore various fields of engineering before officially choosing their degree program.
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is part of the University System of Georgia. The university’s main campus is in Atlanta, and satellite campuses are located in France, Ireland, China, Singapore, and Savannah, Georgia. Of all United States institutions, Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering awards the highest number degrees to women and minorities. Nearly half of Georgia Tech’s engineering students study abroad in one of forty countries.
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering is a private undergraduate engineering college funded in part by the F. W. Olin Foundation. Olin’s mission to form a collaborative community is evident in its lack of tenured faculty and department distinctions. Passionate students and faculty and attracted to Olin College because of its focus on the needs of the world. Olin’s curriculum is organized into three categories: Design and Entrepreneurship, Modeling and Analysis, and Systems and Control.
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California Institute of Technology
Originally founded as a preparatory and vocational school, the California Institute of Technology is now a private research university attracting influential scientists from around the world. The university is more commonly known as Caltech and is located in Pasadena, California. Each of the six different undergraduate degrees in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science begin with a core curriculum emphasizing mathematics and the natural sciences. Courses in humanities, social sciences, and physical education are also incorporated to prepare students for the interdisciplinary nature of today’s research.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a non-profit independent university with campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona. Embry-Riddle has been called the “Harvard of the sky” and is the world’s largest fully accredited university that specializes in aviation and aerospace. ERAU offers an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees, including combined accelerated degrees. In all departments, students benefit from Embry-Riddle’s experienced faculty.
University of Michigan
Founded in Detroit in 1817, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. UM is now located in Ann Arbor and has over 43,000 students enrolled. Michigan undergraduate engineering students choose from 15 programs of study leading to a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. Students do not declare a specific engineering major until after they have taken their first-year courses. A variety of dual degree and combined degree options are also available.
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Purdue, known as Indiana’s land grant university, was founded in West Lafayette in 1869. Over 38,000 students are enrolled at Purdue’s four campuses. Sixteen different undergraduate engineering majors are available at Purdue, as are five-year BS/MS and BS/MBA programs. Majors cover areas such as Construction Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Biological Engineering, which includes multiple concentration options.
United States Military Academy
Located 50 miles north of New York City, the United States Military Academy at West Point is a national landmark as well as a service academy. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree, and most are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. The Academy has five academic departments in engineering, including Nuclear Engineering and Environmental Engineering. Cadets are graded on academic and military leadership performance as well as their participation in mandatory competitive athletics.
Carnegie Mellon University
Located in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1900. The university has more than 13,000 students earning degrees in its seven colleges and schools. Carnegie Mellon incorporates problem solving, leadership, and teamwork skills into all degree programs. Engineering students can choose a single major or a double majors such as Engineering and Public Policy. Double degree programs are also available, including a five-year MBA program through the College of Engineering and the Tepper School of Business.
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The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a privately funded college in Manhattan, New York. Just over 900 students are enrolled in the college’s three schools. The Albert Nerken School of Engineering is the largest of these three schools, with an average enrollment of 550 students. Cooper Union’s engineering programs prepare students to enter the profession right away or to begin graduate study. An integrated master’s program allows students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in four or five years.
United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy, located just north of Colorado Springs, awards graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree as well as positions as second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force. The Academy operates on four pillars of excellence, which include military training, academics, athletics, and character development. Academic study includes a broad course load with a chosen focus of study. Fields of study such as Astronautics, Systems Engineering, and Engineering Mechanics are available within the Engineering Division.
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy, located in Annapolis, Maryland, is a four-year federal service academy. Graduates of the Academy serve at least five years in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps. Through programs in several academic divisions, USNA prepares students to become officers of competence, character, and compassion. The Division of Engineering and Weapons includes programs in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and more.
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Bucknell University is a private liberal arts college in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Small classes and excellent laboratory facilities set Bucknell apart. The university offers Bachelor of Science degrees in eight different areas of engineering. Engineering degrees can also be paired with studies in management, or liberal arts to create a dual degree to be completed in five years.
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is one of the country’s largest universities, with over 50,000 graduate and undergraduate students. The university was founded in 1883 and is the flagship state university of Texas. UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering offers nine internationally recognized undergraduate programs as well as dual degree, interdisciplinary degree, and cross-institutional degree programs. UT Austin’s strong community, hands-on learning experiences, and urban location attract aspiring engineers from around the world.
University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin Madison was founded in 1848, the same year Wisconsin became a state. To this day, UW remains Wisconsin’s largest and oldest public university. Wisconsin’s College of Engineering includes more than 50 engineering-related student organizations, which offer opportunities for students to stay active on campus. Bachelor of Science degrees are available in a variety of engineering fields, as are interdisciplinary degrees and certificate programs.
Cornell University, founded in 1865, is a private Ivy League university in Ithaca, New York. Cornell’s 21,000 students choose from majors in 14 colleges and schools. The College of Engineering at Cornell aspires to produce innovative leaders who not only solve problems, but discover them. Degrees in areas such as Engineering Management, Biomolecular Engineering, and Systems Engineering prepare students to contribute to diverse fields such as medicine and life sciences.
Milwaukee School of Engineering
The Milwaukee School of Engineering boasts a close community of around 3,000 students and faculty. About 96 percent of these students find jobs when they graduate from MSOE. The university values hands-on experience, offering students an average of 600 hours of laboratory experience. Engineering students can choose from 12 undergraduate majors, including Architectural Engineering, Software Engineering, and more.
Princeton University, originally founded as the College of New Jersey in 1746, is a private Ivy League institution. About 5,200 undergraduate students and 2,600 graduate students currently attend the university. In addition to traditional courses, independent work is required for undergraduate students in all majors. Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science grants Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees through its six departments.
Located in Waco, Texas, Baylor is the world’s largest Baptist university. The engineering program at Baylor emphasizes interdisciplinary thinking and teamwork. The undergraduate engineering program at Baylor leads to a mechanical engineering BS degree. Students can choose to concentrate in Biomedical, Environment, Geo/Petro, or Humanitarian Engineering. A joint degree is available, combining a BS and MS in engineering.
Texas A&M University
A public research institution in College Station, Texas, Texas A&M University is the fourth largest university in the United States. Texas A&M offers diverse fields of study, high-quality libraries and facilities, and opportunities to work on international projects. A&M’s Dwight Look College of Engineering, with more than 15,000 engineering students, is the largest college on campus. The college’s fourteen departments include such areas as Ocean, Petroleum, and Aerospace Engineering.
Villanova University is a private institution located in a Philadelphia suburb. It is a Roman Catholic university founded in 1842 by the Order of Saint Augustine. Villanova’s 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students work toward degrees offered through the university’s six colleges. Undergraduate students in the College of Engineering can major in Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering.
Virginia Tech University
Virginia Tech, officially known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, is a public land-grant university in Blacksburg, Virginia. The university has other educational facilities throughout the state as well as a study abroad site in Switzerland. Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering is made up of 14 diverse departments. The Department of Engineering Education includes first-year engineering students and covers general engineering requirements before students move on to their specific course of study.
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University is a private, nonprofit Jesuit university in California’s Silicon Valley. The university was founded in 1851 and now enrolls 8,700 students, including nearly 5,500 undergraduates. Santa Clara’s liberal arts-based general education is paired with a firm foundation of engineering theory and practice to form an enriching educational experience. SCU’s School of Engineering offers Bachelor of Science degrees in seven fields of study and six options for undergraduate minors.
Originally known as General Motors Institute, Kettering University was named after GM’s inventor and researcher Charles Kettering. The university is located in Flint, Michigan and offers degrees in STEM fields. Kettering was founded with the vision of changing the automobile industry through innovation, leadership, and service. Kettering’s influence has expanded beyond this original aspiration, impacting the world of engineering and business by pairing strong academic programs with experiential learning opportunities.
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public university devoted to engineering and applied science. Mines is located in Golden, Colorado, and enrolls about 5,600 undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s demanding curriculum promotes responsible stewardship of the earth and its resources. Students interested in engineering can choose from majors in eight Engineering departments as well as five departments in Geoscience and Resource Engineering.
Northwestern University enrolls around 21,000 students at three campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Doha, Qatar. Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering operates on a simple mission to produce new knowledge and engage and educate students. Faculty help fulfill this mission by expecting a high degree of leadership and innovation from engineering students. Northwestern offers 12 Bachelor of Science degrees in engineering, as well as a customizable major in Integrated Engineering Studies.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824 for the purpose of applying science to common life, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university in Troy, New York. The university also has campuses in Hartford and Groton, Connecticut. Rensselaer is known not only for being the nation’s oldest technological university, but also for transferring technology from the laboratory to the rest of the world. RPI’s School of Engineering offers seven undergraduate majors, as well as research and study abroad opportunities.
Case Western Reserve University
Created from the merging of two universities, Case Western Reserve University is a private research institution in Cleveland, Ohio. CWRU values interdisciplinary education, with one-third of undergraduates earning a dual degree or a minor in liberal arts. Eleven majors are available within the Case School of Engineering’s Bachelor of Science degree program. Case prepares its students with practical experience. Two out of three graduates have worked a cooperative education assignment, and other have completed internships or research projects.
Penn State University
The Pennsylvania State University is a public research-intensive university with 24 campuses across the state. The university’s mission focuses on teaching, research, and public service for the sake of improving the lives of others. A total of 16 undergraduate majors are offered through Penn State’s College of Engineering. The college also provides various opportunities for students to engage in study and work abroad programs.
William Marsh Rice University is a comprehensive research university in Houston, Texas. Rice’s 4,000 undergraduate students are randomly placed into residential colleges, designed to foster community and cultural engagement. Students at Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering have nine majors to choose from, as well as access to international and internship programs. Seventy percent of undergraduate engineering students participate in research during their time at Rice.
University of California Los Angeles
The University of California Los Angeles is devoted to quality in education, research, and service. The university operates on Principles of Community that fosters an inclusive campus environment. The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science is one of UCLA’s five undergraduate schools. The school offers nine different Bachelor of Science degrees in areas such as Materials Science and Bioengineering.
Johns Hopkins University
Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins University is known as America’s first research university. JHU has its main campus in Baltimore, as well as other campuses in Maryland, D.C., Italy, China, and Singapore. The Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins offers 19 full-time degree programs as well as customizable combined Bachelor’s/Master’s degree programs. The engineering programs at Hopkins are based in science, math, and computing, but students also take courses with students in other schools.
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota is a public research university in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Additional campuses are located in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester. Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering offers 19 undergraduate majors and more than 75 student groups. Dual degree and interdisciplinary options are also available. Students can stay engaged outside of the classroom with Living Learning Communities and study abroad opportunities.
Polytechnic Institute of New York University
New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering was founded in 1854 and is now the second oldest private engineering and technology school in the country. Through invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship, the school seeks to make a social, intellectual, and economic impact on the city and the world. The Tandon School of Engineering is made up of ten academic departments, which offer a total of 15 Bachelor of Science degrees. These degree programs include such areas as Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Applied Physics.
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology, located in the city of Rolla, enrolls over 8,500 students. Missouri S&T offers a variety of degree programs, but most students major in areas of engineering, sciences, and mathematics. Fifteen different Bachelor of Science degrees are available in engineering fields. The university’s high level of academic support results in one of the country’s highest freshmen retention rates.
Established in 1636, Harvard is a private Ivy League university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Over 20,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are currently working toward degrees at Harvard. The university’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences seeks to develop in its students deep knowledge paired with the ability to collaborate across disciplines. Bachelor’s degrees are available in Applied Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Sciences, and Mechanical Engineering.
Established in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest university in the state of New York. Columbia is located in Upper Manhattan and is a private Ivy League institution. Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science embraces interdisciplinary opportunities and innovative technologies, training students to translate creative ideas into practical innovations. Engineering students at Columbia can expand their experience by studying or interning abroad.
Founded by Methodists and Quakers in 1838, Duke University is a private university in Durham, North Carolina. Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering provides a multidisciplinary course of study that encourages students to make discoveries in the field of engineering and beyond. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available in areas such as mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and civil and environmental engineering. Duke’s Pratt School is one of the fastest-growing engineering schools in the United States.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
A public research university in Newark, the New Jersey Institute of Technology is conveniently located within nine miles of New York City. Nearly 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students enroll in NJIT’s 125 degree programs. The university’s Newark College of Engineering, one of the oldest and largest professional engineering schools in the country, offers 13 undergraduate majors to choose from. Among these programs is a degree in Engineering Science, which includes an accelerated Pre-Med program.
Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology, established in 1870, was America’s first college dedicated to mechanical engineering. The university is located in Hoboken, New Jersey, and has a satellite campus in Washington, D.C. SIT’s Schaefer School of Science and Engineering, located across the Hudson River from Manhattan, involves undergraduates in important research. A variety of hands-on learning experiences, such as multidisciplinary research teams and senior design projects, engage students in valuable educational challenges.
University of Maryland
The University of Maryland is prominent in both size and quality. A Public Ivy institution less than an hour from Baltimore, UM is made up of 1,250 acres and nearly 40,000 students. Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering includes seven departments offering nine undergraduate majors. Multidisciplinary learning and research opportunities are available in all departments. Unique keystone classes taken during the first year prepare students for the engineering experience at UM.
Michigan Technological University
Founded in 1885 for training mining engineers, Michigan Technological University is a public university in Houghton, Michigan. Michigan Tech now offers degree programs such as engineering, forestry, business, science, and technology. More than 7,000 students are enrolled in the university, over 4,000 of whom study within the College of Engineering. Hands-on learning, leadership, and entrepreneurship characterize the undergraduate experience in engineering at MTU.
Clarkson University is a private university in Potsdam, New York, enrolling about 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students. Clarkson produces creative professionals able to find new approaches to unique challenges. The team-based, interdisciplinary, and technology-focused curriculum at Clarkson’s Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering equips students for an impactful future. Various special projects, research opportunities, and internship programs are offered.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1865 was one of the first engineering and technology universities in the United States. The university is located in Worcester, Massachusetts and enrolls nearly 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students. WPI operates in seven-week terms and requires all students to complete two real-world projects. The university also encourages fearless exploration of new subjects by refusing to give failing grades. Students can choose from ten areas of study in engineering, including Fire Protection Engineering and Robotics Engineering.