Best Mechanical Engineering Degrees

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Design your way into a lucrative career with one of the nation’s best Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering degrees.

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Are you passionate about both the creative and technical aspects of product design? Are you interested in the social, global, economical, and ethical implications of design? Are you a problem solver who never shies away from a challenge?

Then a career in mechanical engineering may be just for you!

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Top 10 Best Mechanical Engineering Degrees

What kind of Mechanical Engineering degree should you get?

Each of the 35 programs below will provide a solid foundation in systems design, thermodynamics, manufacturing, and materials science. But each program also varies slightly in its emphasis and model.

For example, while some schools stress the importance of real-world experience, offering internship and co-op programs, others want you to dock as many lab hours as possible. Those schools often offer exhaustive research opportunities.

Though these programs vary, be sure to find a fit that reflects your interests and passions.

You should also consider online or distance learning. Online education, having shed its old stigma, is now a flexible and affordable way to advance your education and career.

So, be sure to check out College Choice’s Best Online Mechanical Engineering Degrees.

How much money do people make with a Mechanical Engineering degree?

With a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering degree you are set up to work in a diverse range of industries and fields. From corporate business to government agencies, the need for someone who can design successful and economical products continues to rise.

In fact, it’s projected that demand for mechanical engineers will rise another 9 percent in the next few years.

The industry is not only stable and growing, but it’s lucrative too. Mechanical engineers make, on average, upwards of $84,000 a year. Though that number can leap into triple digits depending on the job title. Senior engineers make close to $133,000 annually.

What are the requirements for a Mechanical Engineering degree?

To earn a BS in Mechanical Engineering degree you will spend at least the first year of your undergrad taking chemistry, physics, and introductory engineering classes. Once those are completed you can dive into specialized engineering classes and their laboratory counterparts. Examples of such courses include:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer
  • System Design and Analysis
  • Manufacturing
  • And much more

At many schools you can further specialize by pairing your degree with a formal concentration. These vary by school, but include biomechanics, materials processing, manufacturing, thermal and fluid systems, among others.

Finally, many programs encourage you to participate in hands-on experience through paid co-op programs and internships. We’ve been sure to note those.

What are the best Mechanical Engineering degrees?

Though some of these programs are housed within elite polytechnical schools and others in sprawling research universities, all 35 share one thing in common: they are the nation’s best Mechanical Engineering degrees.

To determine the best mechanical engineering degrees we looked at every program across the nation that offers one. We then narrowed the list by incorporating crucial factors, such as reputation and student retention, which is a sign of student satisfaction. Finally, we looked at early salaries of graduates and tuition rates too. What we found after such extensive research are the nation’s best programs for training mechanical engineers.

Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Nestled near the Silicon Valley, Stanford University is the nation’s premier university. Though all of its academic programs are prestigious, its technology and engineering departments are among the strongest. Around 16,000 students attend what is the most selective university in the country.

    Features

    Stanford provides students with both theoretical and practical training in mechanical engineering. This multi-disciplinary program brings together concepts in biomedicine, computational engineering, design, energy, and more. Classes you’ll take at Stanford also cover the spectrum:

    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Visual Thinking
    • Mechanical Systems Design
    • Engineering Thermodynamics
    • And more

    Notables

    Stanford is unsurprisingly ranked among the top five best universities in the world. Campus is marked by illustrious research projects and facilities. The Hasso Plattner Institute, the Stanford Research Institute, and the BioHub are just some of the research centers at Stanford.

  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Cambridge, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is the world’s best polytechnic university. It specializes in applied science and engineering education. And it is the site of some of the most exciting research endeavors in the nation. Around 12,000 students attend MIT.

    Features

    There are three ways to study mechanical engineering at MIT. The first is a structured program that trains you for a career directly in mechanical engineering. The second allows students to combine the program with another program in a complementary field. The third program is in mechanical and ocean engineering. Whichever track you take, core classes cover:

    • Mechanics and Materials I and II
    • Dynamics and Control I and II
    • Thermal-Fluids Engineering I and II
    • Differential Equations

    Notables

    MIT has graduated hundreds of Nobel laureates, Medal of Science winners, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars, astronauts, Fields Medalists, Turing winners, and so much more. MIT is ranked among the top 10 best universities in the nation.

  3. Brown University
    Location

    Providence, RI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded before the American Revolution, Brown is one of the nation’s oldest, and best, universities. The engineering program is equally established, having been created in the mid-nineteenth century and for being the first in an Ivy League institution.

    Features

    Through Brown’s mechanical engineering program you will take classes on everything from magnetism to vibrations. This is therefore a highly interdisciplinary degree, but it provides a foundation in both mechanical and thermal systems. Brown offers students six areas of specialization:

    • Aerospace Applications
    • Biomechanics
    • Energy Conversion and Fluid and Thermal Systems
    • Mechanical Systems: Dynamics, Materials, and Design
    • And more

    Notables

    Brown University is ranked 14th among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report. Forbes, Washington Monthly, the National Science Foundation, Newsweek, and more also include Brown in their rankings for best schools in the U.S.

  4. University of California, Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Berkeley is the flagship institution in the wider University of California System. It is the top public school in the U.S., and one of the most prestigious in the world. More than 40,000 students are enrolled in one of Berkeley’s 350 academic programs.

    Features

    At Berkeley you have the unique opportunity to earn a five-year BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering degree. This is a great way to expedite your career. Berkeley also introduces students to societal problems involving transportation, energy, the environment and human health. And you’ll graduate knowing how to solve such complex problems while also boasting technical skills in a range of areas, including:

    • Acoustics
    • Cryogenics
    • Bioengineering
    • Plasma Dynamics
    • And much more

    Notables

    A “Public Ivy,” Berkeley is also a member of the Association of American Universities. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory are all located on the Berkeley campus.

  5. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology is part of the wider University System of Georgia. It is therefore a public school and is organized into six colleges. Georgia Tech provides degree opportunities primarily in the sciences and technologies, but also in design, business, and the liberal arts.

    Features

    Georgia Tech’s mechanical engineering degree blends development and professional STEM practice with engineering fundamentals. This is a highly creative degree that emphasizes design and hands-on learning. In addition to the general course of study, Georgia Tech offers eight areas of concentration:

    • Automotive
    • Manufacturing
    • Nuclear Engineering
    • Thermal, Fluid, and Energy Systems
    • And more

    Notables

    Georgia Tech is ranked among the top 10 best public schools in the nation. It is also designated as one having some of the highest research activities of any university. The Georgia Tech Research Institute, for example, is home to over 40 percent of the school’s research efforts.

  6. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Cornell University is located in Ithaca, New York. It is a private, Ivy League university that is organized into seven colleges. Approximately 24,000 students attend Cornell.

    Features

    At Cornell you will learn the design, analysis, testing, and manufacturing concepts of machinery and systems. You will also be introduced to the fundamentals of computer aided design as well as vibrations and control systems. Finally, at Cornell you can concentrate in one of four areas:

    • Mechanical Systems
    • Vehicle Engineering
    • Biomechanics
    • Materials Processing and Precision Engineering

    Notables

    Cornell has graduated (or hired) Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, Nobel laureates, Truman Scholars, and more. It is ranked among the top 20 best universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Cornell is also one of the “greenest” universities in the U.S., named a “Top 50 Green College” by The Princeton Review.

  7. Washington University in St Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Washington University (WashU) in St. Louis is a private research school. It is comprised of nearly a dozen undergraduate and graduate schools. One of its oldest departments, established in 1854, is the School of Engineering. More than 15,000 students attend WashU.

    Features

    WashU offers a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science degree that emphasizes the core principles of force, materials, and motion. And at Washington you will work closely with faculty on research in a range of areas, from energy conservation to environmental control, instrumentation, and biomechanics. Some of the classes you’ll take at WashU include:

    • Mechanical Engineering Design and Build
    • Computer-Aided Design with AutoCAD
    • Mechanics and Materials Science Lab
    • Thermodynamics

    Notables

    WashU is ranked among the top 50 universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to its academic accolades, the University is also praised for its campus life. The Princeton Review, for example, ranked WashU first for its “quality of life” among students.

  8. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (UMich) is a Public Ivy. It is also a Big Ten school and a member of the Association of American Universities. Nearly 50,000 students attend UMich.

    Features

    At the University of Michigan while you earn a BS in Mechanical Engineering degree you will also have the opportunity to study abroad, collaborate in exciting research projects, and participate in co-ops. And you will, of course, take a variety of technical, core, and advanced engineering classes. Among them:

    • Solid Mechanics
    • Thermodynamics
    • Fluid Mechanics
    • Behavior of Materials

    Notables

    The University of Michigan is an extremely active research institution. It is known for its sprawling medical centers and its STEM programs. The College of Engineering is one of the University’s most active departments, spending upwards of $100 million in research each year.

  9. Stevens Institute of Technology
    Location

    Hoboken, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT) is located in Hoboken, New Jersey. It is one of the nation’s oldest technological universities and the first college to solely focus on mechanical engineering education. Around 6,200 students are currently enrolled at SIT.

    Features

    A Mechanical Engineering degree from Stevens will set you up for a career in diverse areas: biomedical, chemical, nanotechnology, and aerospace industries among them. And at SIT you will have access to advanced research labs and the renowned co-op program. Graduates from SIT have gone on to become:

    • Manufacturing Engineers
    • Product Engineer
    • Design Engineer
    • Automotive Engineer
    • And more

    Notables

    SIT is a well-decorated school with a variety of recognitions and rankings to its name. It is among the top 100 best universities in the nation. The Princeton Review designated it best for career placement. And U.S. News & World Report names it a leading STEM university.

  10. Northwestern University
    Location

    Evanston, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Northwestern University is located outside of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois. It is a research school that brings in over $600 million in sponsored research every year. Approximately 8,500 students are enrolled in one of Northwestern’s 125 undergraduate programs.

    Features

    Northwestern students collaborate closely with faculty members on cutting-edge research projects while earning their Mechanical Engineering degree. Northwestern also encourages students to intern with local and national organizations and to participate in one of the University’s engineering clubs, such as the Engineers for a Sustainable World. Classes cover:

    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Electronics Design
    • Engineering Analysis
    • Theory of Machines and Design of Elements

    Notables

    A member of the Big Ten Conference and the Association of American Universities, Northwestern is ranked 11th among all national universities. It has graduated MacArthur Geniuses, Rhodes Scholars, Supreme Court Justices, Nobel laureates, and Pulitzer Prize winners.

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