Top 10 Engineering Schools at the Bachelor Level

Engineering-school

Saying you want to major in engineering is a lot like saying you want to major in science. As a STEM degree, engineering overlaps with . . . just about everything. It’s so integral to so many other fields that engineering has even been called “the liberal arts of the 21st century.”

There are countless kinds of engineering degrees (almost half the schools on this list have more than 15), and when you combine that with a specialization or a minor, you can craft your degree for any field. It might surprise you to learn that engineering majors go on to medical school or law school pretty frequently, where their technical expertise helps them excel.

And of course, engineers of all kinds are, quite literally, building the world of tomorrow. But even if you have no idea what kind of engineer you want to be, the best engineering schools have solid programs in each of the major branches. And since most engineering programs share prerequisite and foundational courses, you’ve got time to decide after you get in.

A BSE degree can provide you with the potent blend of scientific acumen, mathematical prowess, and technological expertise you need to start a career as an entry-level engineer. To help you sort through all of the BSE degrees out there, we mined data from The National Center for Education Statistics and ratings from school-ranking entities like USAToday.com, CollegeChoice.net, BestValueSchools.com, ValueColleges.com, Niche.com, GraduatesHotline.com, BestCollegeValues.com, and SuperScholar.org—so this list of the top 10 online bachelor in engineering programs is the best of the best.

Here are the 10 schools that made the cut:

  1. Georgia Institute of Technology
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. University of California-Berkeley
  4. Stanford University
  5. California Institute of Technology
  6. Texas A&M University
  7. Colorado School of Mines
  8. University of Texas at Austin
  9. Purdue University
  10. Princeton University

We’ll show you each school’s:

  • Location
  • Tuition cost
  • Program length
  • Graduation rates
  • Student population
  • Awards and accolades
  • Accreditation
  • Anything else we think will help you decide

Let’s find a school you’ll love! For starters, here are some highlights:

Most affordable

Since most of these schools are public institutions, they receive funding that makes tuition significantly more affordable for state residents. But since there’s a small chance that you happen to live in that state, we’re going to tell you which school is most affordable for non-residents.

Purdue University is #9 on our list, and it’ll give you a great education in engineering for about $29,000 per year.

Best graduation rate

The national average graduation rate for all four-year postsecondary institutions is 59%. The lowest graduation rate of any school on this list is 76%. And while they all have great graduation rates, several are well into the 90s.

Princeton University may only come in at #10 on our list, but it boasts a 97% graduation rate. Just 3% of all full-time, non-transfer students fail to graduate within six years. That’s very hard to beat.

Best job placement rate

As you’re probably aware, the job outlook for engineers in the U.S. is very bright. Any of these schools can give you the expertise and credentials needed to launch a promising engineering career, but one of them had the data to back this up.

Purdue University (#9) has a 90% job placement rate for all their engineering students. So if you’re worried about actually getting a job, this school is a great choice. That being said, many of these schools have exceptional research, internship, and extracurricular opportunities that could be just what you need to make your resume stand out.

Most types of BSE degrees

As you’ll soon see, all of the schools on this list have a heaping helping of engineering degrees for you to choose from. MIT, however, has the most. They’re #2 on our list of top engineering schools, and they have 19 degrees for you to choose from.

Stanford University (#4) and Texas A&M University (#6) are right behind though, each offering 18 different engineering majors.

A quick tip on choosing an engineering degree

We’ve narrowed it down to 10 of the best engineering schools in the country, but within them, there are a lot of paths you can choose. A lot of those paths are pretty similar from school to school, but some majors are unique to one institution.

If you’re not looking for a specific kind of BSE, there are two ways I’d recommend approaching this list.

  1. Find a school you’re interested in, and worry about the exact engineering major later. None of these schools are going to be upset if you don’t come in guns blazing with your whole career lined up. Most of them share a lot of core classes across all of their engineering programs, so you have time to decide which program is right for you.
  2. Hunt for a major that interests you. All of these schools are going to give you a top-tier education in engineering, so if you don’t already know what kind of engineer you want to be, it’s OK to skim until you find the degree that jumps out at you.

And of course, if you already know you want to focus on mechanical, electrical, or civil engineering degrees, almost all of these schools have them, so compare away!

OK last thing: the average college acceptance rate is about 65%. Most of the schools on this list are very competitive, and their acceptance rates are significantly lower than that. I’d recommend you apply to at least a couple of them.

Now, on to the top ten!

1. Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia-Institute-Technology-online-bachelor-engineering-degree
Image source: Georgia Institute of Technology
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Tuition cost:

  • In state: about $12,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $32,000 per year

Program length: 128–132 credits

Acceptance rate: 26%

Graduation rate: 86%

Student population: 26,000+

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on ValueColleges.com: 1
  • Rank on USAToday.com: 2
  • Rank on BestCollegeValues.com: 3
  • Rank on CollegeChoice.net: 3
  • Rank on BestValueSchools.com: 4
  • Rank on GraduatesHotline.com: 5
  • Rank on Niche.com: 6

Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Engineering has eight engineering schools, which offer a total of ten bachelor of science degrees. Many of these programs also offer several concentration options, allowing you to further specialize your degree.

The college boasts one of the most diverse engineering programs in the country, and they’ve been training generations of specialized engineers for more than a century. Here’s what Georgia Tech says about the College of Engineering:

“It offers internationally renowned programs in the heart of Atlanta, giving students opportunities for research and real-world experience, and its focus on innovation gives graduates an edge. The College awards more engineering degrees to women and underrepresented minorities than any other institution in the United States, and as part of a public university, it remains an excellent value for an elite engineering education.”

Here’s how they describe the eight engineering schools, plus a video introduction to each program:

Aerospace engineering

Credits: 132

“The Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering boasts one of the oldest and largest aerospace programs in the country. . . . Students in this program learn the fundamentals of engineering sciences in addition to specialty areas, which include aerodynamics, aircraft and spacecraft structures, flight mechanics and control, avionics, propulsion, and the design of aerospace systems.”

Biomedical engineering

Credits: 132

“Usually when you think about engineering, you think about machines and computers” one associate professor said. “And your body is the most complex and interesting machine and computer that there is.”

Chemical and biomolecular engineering

Credits: 132

“Chemists discover and create new compounds, but it’s chemical engineers who turn them into products that people need and use. Chemical and biomolecular engineers are developing frontier technologies in drug design and delivery, biotechnology, nanotechnology, alternate energy resources, and environmentally neutral manufacturing. In these fields and many others, chemical engineers provide the intellectual capital that powers today’s global enterprises. The School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, founded in 1901, offers some of the country’s largest and highest ranked programs in these fields.”

Civil engineering

Credits: 128 (civil track)

“Students on the civil track train to tackle projects like roads and bridges, sure, but they also work on technologies for green buildings, strategies that help us recover from disasters, and projects to alleviate poverty. . . .”

Electrical and computer engineering

Credits: 132 (electrical engineering), 132 (computer engineering)

“Electrical engineering is at the core of just about every technology, which is why electrical engineers’ solutions to real-world problems and flexible skill sets are always in high demand. Our students advance the modern world by harnessing the power of electricity to build devices and systems, from nanoscale computer chips to multinational communications systems. Computer engineering reaches across both electrical engineering and computer science, and it involves designing, programming, and evaluating computer systems to continually improve performance and speed. These engineers may develop software, but more emphasis is placed on the interaction between a computer and the devices attached to it.”

Industrial engineering

Credits:128

“Industrial engineers design and improve systems that use people, machines, information, materials, and energy to make and deliver products or provide services. . . . Georgia Tech’s program features a track option that allow students to either obtain a broad industrial engineering education or specialize in economic and financial systems; operations research; quality and statistics; or supply chain engineering.”

Material science and engineering

Credits: 132

“Materials science and engineering (MSE) focuses on the design, selection, and development of materials. . . . MSE at Georgia Tech is one of the largest materials programs in the nation, and its students students and faculty are exploring alternative energy sources, developing stronger and lighter materials, creating novel electronic devices, developing new materials for medical implants and more.”

Mechanical engineering

Credits: 129 (mechanical engineering) or 126 (nuclear and radiological engineering)

“Mechanical engineering (ME) is the broadest of the engineering disciplines, combining principles from mechanical systems, thermal systems, manufacturing, and design. . . . Georgia Tech’s program is noteworthy in that it combines engineering fundamentals with hands-on design opportunities.”


2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts-Institute-Technology-BS-engineering-degrees
Image source: MIT
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tuition cost: about $49,000 per year

Program length: 180–198 credits (quarter based system)

Acceptance rate: 8%

Graduation rate: 93%

Student population: 11,000+

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Higher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on GraduatesHotline.com: 1
  • Rank on Niche.com: 1
  • Rank on BestValueSchools.com: 2
  • Rank on USAToday.com: 4
  • Rank on SuperScholar.org: 6

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT, offers 19 bachelor of science degrees through their eight engineering schools.

MIT also provides undergraduates with extraordinary opportunities to bring their ideas to life, including the MakerLodge for inventors to learn how to use the latest engineering equipment, the Sandbox Innovation Fund which allows undergrads to fund their ideas, and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (which 90% of all undergraduates participate in).

The degree options are a little complicated. Most of the schools offer different tracks, including generic BS in engineering degrees and undefined bachelor of science degrees with curriculum defined by the individual school. These are typically selected by those wishing to pursue graduate studies in another subject. Many of these programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Here are the eight schools with a short description of each:

Aeronautics and astronautics

Majors:

“AeroAstro is America’s oldest and most respected university aerospace program. We have a tradition of strong scholarship and solving industrial-strength problems. Our community comprises people whose careers have included astronaut, Air Force secretary, NASA deputy administrators and chief technologist, Air Force chief scientist, aerospace executive, and corporate founder. Our alumni are entrepreneurs, policy-makers, educators, and researchers pushing technology’s boundaries.”

Biological engineering

Majors: Biological engineering

“The Department of Biological Engineering offers an undergraduate curriculum that emphasizes quantitative, engineering-based analysis, design, and synthesis in the study of modern biology from the molecular to the systems level.”

Chemical engineering

Majors:

“Chemical engineering requires a foundational knowledge in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. From this foundation, chemical engineers develop core expertise in thermodynamics, transport processes, and chemical kinetics. Combined with a range of complementary elective courses, this describes the essential academic structure behind our three undergraduate degree programs . . .”

Civil and environmental engineering

Majors:

“The MIT CEE department is leading society into an era that fosters a new understanding of the environment, how the actions we take affect the natural world, and defining how we can further humanity’s progress by understanding, building and operating the infrastructure to support our growing society.”

Electrical engineering and computer science

Majors:

“World-renowned for both rigor and innovation, EECS is the largest undergraduate program at MIT. Our flexible curriculum and intensive, hands-on coursework gives students a holistic view of the field, an understanding of how to solve problems, and a focus on modeling and abstraction that prepares them for success in a wide range of industries, from software to bioengineering.”

Material science and engineering

Majors:

  • Material science and engineering
  • Archaeology and materials
  • Bachelor of science

“Materials science and engineering is a field critical to our future economic and environmental well-being, and graduates from our program are in continually high demand by industry and government for jobs in research, development, production, and management.”

Mechanical engineering

Majors: Mechanical engineering

“Our traditional undergraduate degree program provides a broad intellectual foundation in the field of mechanical engineering. It develops the relevant engineering fundamentals, provides several experiences in their application, and introduces the important methods and techniques of engineering practice.”

Nuclear science and engineering

Majors: Nuclear science and engineering

“As one of the world’s leading academic departments in nuclear science and engineering, our mission is to help develop the next generation of technical leaders of the global nuclear enterprise and to provide technical leadership in energy and non-energy applications of nuclear technology.”

This is engineering at MIT:

Note: Once you’re accepted into MIT, you can enroll in any of the engineering programs. Students don’t have to apply to get into them.

Fun fact: MIT offers professional education programs to help working engineers stay at the forefront of innovation.

3. University of California-Berkeley

niversity-California-Berkeley-BS-engineering-degrees
Image source: University of California-Berkeley
Location: Berkeley, California

Tuition cost:

  • In state: about $14,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $40,000 per year

Program length: 120 credits

Acceptance rate: 17%

Graduation rate: 92%

Student population: 40,000+

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on BestValueColleges.com: 2
  • Rank on GraduatesHotline.com: 3
  • Rank on ValueColleges.com: 4
  • Rank on CollegeChoice.net: 6
  • Rank on BestValueSchools.com: 8

University of California-Berkeley offers nine bachelor of science in engineering programs through their college of engineering.

Additionally, all of Berkeley’s engineering students can get hands-on experience in design and prototyping through the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, and they can learn how to launch new ventures and companies through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology.

Here’s how they describe each of their engineering programs:

Bioengineering

The bioengineering department says you should choose them, “Because our major features small, specialized upper-division courses in a choice of six defined concentration areas, as well as significant interaction with professors. Because we collaborate with such institutions as UC San Francisco and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and connect with the larger Bay Area biotech industry. . . . And the department offers many opportunities for undergraduate research.”

Here’s what some of UC-Berkeley’s bioengineering students do:

Civil and environmental engineering

“As a civil engineering undergrad, you’ll get rigorous academic learning, hands-on experience and leadership development. . . . Our alumni have been involved in major engineering achievements including the Golden Gate Bridge, Levi’s Stadium, the Chunnel linking England and France, and the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.”

Here’s a look at the CEE program:

Electrical engineering and computer science

“We have a legacy of producing research that has had deep impact, and our faculty continue to work at the cusp of technological possibility in artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber-physical systems, sensor technology, micro and nanoelectromechanical systems, big data, and computer architecture, graphics and engineering.”

Engineering science

“With world-renowned strengths across scientific disciplines, Berkeley is an ideal place to pursue study in interdisciplinary engineering sciences. Students and faculty explore the intersection of what is possible in energy engineering, engineering math and statistics, engineering physics and environmental engineering science.”

Industrial engineering and operations research

“Our faculty members are globally renowned in their application areas, from semiconductor manufacturing and the design and deregulation of energy markets to supply-chain management, robotics and discrete event simulation. And they’ve made major advancements in the theory of operations research, including algorithm design, integer programming, non-linear programming and stochastic modeling.”

UC-Berkeley’s faculty write the textbooks used by industrial engineering institutions all around the world.

Materials science and engineering

“Every aspect of our modern technology requires the expertise of materials scientists and engineers.  From buildings to transportation to the electronic devices we use every day, from conventional and green energy to integrated circuits and biological applications — it all begins with materials design. . . . And our materials science and engineering graduates enjoy some of the highest starting salaries of any undergraduate engineering program. ”

Mechanical engineering

Here are two big reasons UC-Berkeley says you should choose their mechanical engineering program:

“Because our campus is centered in the innovation capital, the San Francisco Bay Area, home to Silicon Valley—one of the most exciting areas in the world for mechanical engineering. Because our research projects are primarily funded by the National Science Foundation, governmental agencies and many global high-tech industries.”

Nuclear engineering

Here’s why they believe their nuclear engineering program is the best:

“Our nuclear engineering department plays a leading role in advancing fusion technology, both toward advanced approaches to magnetic fusion, as well as in collaborations with the Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories. Our faculty and students also work with researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Berkeley’s Nuclear Research Center is involved in many international collaborations.”

4. Stanford University

Stanford-University-bachelor-engineering-degree-programs
Image source: Stanford University
Location: Stanford, California

Tuition cost: about $48,000 per year

Program length: four years

Acceptance rate: 5%

Graduation rate: 94%

Student population: 17,000+

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on GraduatesHotline.com: 2
  • Rank on Niche.com: 2
  • Rank on BestValueSchools.com: 3
  • Rank on ValueColleges.com: 8

Stanford University offers 18 bachelor of science in engineering degrees through their School of Engineering. About half of these programs are interdepartmental. Many of them are also offered as minors.

Stanford offers some of these engineering classes in an online learning format. They also have a technical communications program to help students improve their technical writing, as well as a global engineering program that allows engineering students to study abroad. Additionally, an engineering diversity program provides special opportunities for eligible students.

Here’s how Stanford describes each engineering field they offer majors in:

Bioengineering

“A fusion of engineering, the life sciences, and medicine. This program is jointly supported by the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine.”

Chemical engineering

“Chemical engineers conceive and design processes to produce, transform and transport materials—beginning with experimentation in the laboratory and followed by implementation of technologies in full-scale production. The mission of the undergraduate program in Chemical Engineering is to develop students’ understanding of the core scientific, mathematical and engineering principles that form the foundation underlying these technological processes.”

Civil engineering

“Design, construction, and management of sustainable buildings and infrastructure.”

Computer sciences

“The science of computing in a wide-ranging field of focus areas.”

Electrical engineering

“Built on a foundation of physical science, math, computing and technology.”

Environmental systems engineering

“Equipping students with the problem solving skills and knowledge necessary to assess and develop solutions to environmental problems impacting the biosphere, land, water and air quality.”

Management science and engineering

“Plan, design, and implement complex economic and technological management systems.”

Materials science and engineering

“Study the relationship between the structure, processing, and properties of materials.”

Mechanical engineering

“Conceptualization, analysis, design and fabrication of mechanical devices, processes, and systems.”

Aeronautics and astronautics

“A multidisciplinary program that emphasizes structural, aerodynamic, guidance and control, and propulsion problems of aircraft and spacecraft.”

Architectural design

“Blending architectural design with cutting-edge engineering technologies.”

Atmosphere and energy

“Bridging the studies of fossil-fuel and sources of renewable energy to provide students with the fundamental background necessary to create efficient energy systems.”

Biomechanical engineering

“Integrates biology and clinical medicine with engineering mechanics and design.”

Biomedical computation

“Combines biology, medicine, and computer science in a cutting-edge interdisciplinary degree.”

Engineering physics

“Combines physics and mathematics with engineering design and problem-solving skills.”

Product design

“Mechanical engineering with a focus on product conception and design.”

Energy resources engineering

“The program represents an evolution toward a broader forward-looking energy curriculum, while still providing an Earth-sciences based engineering approach to energy resources.”

Individually designed major in engineering

“Design your own program in an area not covered by existing majors.”

Note: While Stanford has an incredible graduation rate—94%—they also have one of the lowest admission rates in the country. Only 5% of all applicants get in.

5. California Institute of Technology

California-Institute-Technology-bachelor-engineering-programs
Image source: California Institute of Technology
Location: Pasadena, California

Tuition cost: about $48,000 per year

Program length: 258–486 credits (using a quarter system)

Acceptance rate: 8%

Graduation rate: 94%

Student population: 2,000+

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on BestValueSchools.com: 1
  • Rank on Niche.com: 3
  • Rank on GraduatesHotline.com: 4
  • Rank on ValueColleges.com: 7

California Technical Institute, better known as CalTech, offers four bachelor’s of science degrees in engineering. You can also add a minor in aerospace, control and dynamical systems, environmental science and engineering, structural mechanics, or several other related fields.

CalTech offers a wide variety of research opportunities for undergraduate students that take place both between terms and during academic periods. About one-third of all students participate in research during the school year.

Engineering students can also pursue study abroad and other academic enrichment opportunities like cross-registering at partner colleges.

Here’s a brief description of the five engineering majors offered at CalTech:

Bioengineering

“The undergraduate option in bioengineering, previously administered by the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, provides a foundation for graduate studies in the application of engineering principles to the design, analysis, construction, and manipulation of biological systems, and in the discovery and application of new engineering principles inspired by the properties of biological systems.”

Chemical engineering

The program provides “a broad and rigorous training in the fundamentals of chemical engineering while maintaining a balance between classroom lectures and laboratory experience. The program also strives to develop in each student self-reliance, creativity, professional ethics, an appreciation of the societal impact of chemical engineering, and the importance of continuing intellectual growth.”

Concentrations: Biomolecular, environmental, process systems, or materials

Electrical engineering

“The program strives to maintain a balance between classroom lectures and laboratory and design experience, and it emphasizes the problem formulation, system-design, and solving skills that are essential to any engineering discipline.”

This program is eligible to be part of a double major.

Mechanical and civil engineering

“. . . the program builds on Caltech’s core curriculum to combine individual depth of experience and competence in a particular chosen mechanical engineering specialty with a strong background in the basic and engineering sciences. . . . For interested students, there are opportunities to conduct research with a faculty member.”

You can also design your own engineering major through the interdisciplinary studies program.

These five programs are far and away the longest engineering programs on this list. The shortest program I could find was 258 credits using the quarter system, which comes out to about 172 semester credits. The longest major comes out to 324 semester credits, which is more than two and a half times as many credits as the average bachelor’s degree. I called the registrar’s office to confirm.

Note: Like Stanford University, CalTech has an impressive 94% graduation rate, but a notably low admissions rate. Theirs is just 8%.

Fun facts:

  • 95% of all undergraduates at CalTech participate in some form of research.
  • CalTech has four Nobel laureates in residence.
  • There are more than 150 student clubs at CalTech.

6. Texas A&M University

Texas-A-&-M-University-bachelor-engineering-degree
Image source: Texas A&M University
Location: College Station, Texas (four additional campuses in Texas)

Tuition cost:

  • In state: about $11,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $31,000 per year

Program length: 128 credits

Admission rate: 67%

Graduation rate: 80%

Student population: 65,000+

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on BestValueColleges.com: 1
  • Rank on ValueColleges.com: 2
  • Rank on CollegeChoice.net: 5

Texas A&M University has 14 departments in their College of Engineering, and they offer 18 BS in engineering degrees.

Here are the engineering degrees they offer:

Aerospace engineering

“Design philosophy and practice are developed throughout the curriculum so as to relate analysis to aerospace engineering design; and the design of aerospace system components is particularly emphasized in the junior- and senior-level courses.”

A senior-level class in this program requires you to work with a team to design, build, and test an aircraft, rocket, spacecraft, or rotorcraft.

Biological and agricultural engineering

“Biological and agricultural engineers apply their knowledge of physical and biological sciences, mathematics, engineering principles and engineering design to the production and processing of food and fiber, to the preservation of environmental quality, to biological systems and processes, and to machine systems that interface with all of these.”

Agricultural systems management

“Graduates of the Agricultural Systems Management program manage people, money and machines in the food and agricultural industries. They are typically employed as production or processing operations managers, equipment managers, or in technical sales and services.”

You can add a minor in business by taking on just one additional course.

Biomedical engineering

“The department’s undergraduate degree program offers a modern and comprehensive curriculum that helps prepare biomedical engineering students to find meaningful employment in the biomedical science and medical device industry, including manufacturers, research organizations, government agencies and hospitals.”

Chemical engineering

“The degree program for the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering allows for students to select an area of study that will best match their interests. Students can select to participate in one of the many special emphasis areas.”

The special emphasis areas aren’t listed online.

Computer science engineering

“The computer engineering curriculum provides a balanced view of hardware, software, hardware-software tradeoffs, analysis, design and implementation techniques. It is a dynamic and broadly interdisciplinary field that continues to experience rapid professional growth that impacts every area of human endeavor.”

Topics include:

  • Computer networks
  • Computer architecture
  • Artificial microcomputers
  • VLSI
  • Large scale hardware and software systems

Computer engineering

“The Computer engineering track encompasses nearly all of the core material of the electrical engineering degree but provides much more depth in computing than is possible within the context of an electrical engineering degree.”

While similar to the CSE degree, the CE degree is offered through the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, whereas the CSE degree is through the Computer Science and Engineering Department. Each degree has slightly different curriculum. It’s worth comparing if you’re interested in computer science.

Electrical engineering

“Electrical engineers design, develop, test and supervise the manufacture of sophisticated electrical and electronic systems such as: cell phones, iPods, digital TVs, medical imaging, smart appliances, automobiles and advanced satellite systems.”

Texas A&M’s electrical engineering program includes research and study abroad opportunities, and the option to pursue a master’s while earning your BS.

Electronic systems engineering technology

“The Electronic Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) Program at Texas A&M University provides a recognized undergraduate educational program with an emphasis in electronics, communication, embedded systems, testing, instrumentation and control systems, performs applied research . . .”

Manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology

The MMET program seeks to “provide a high-quality, application-oriented education producing professionals who can effectively contribute to leadership, the advancement of manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology, and improved performance of industrial endeavors”.

Industrial distribution

“A four-trillion dollar business, industrial distribution is moving industrial products from the manufacturer to the end-user and in so doing, maintaining a local inventory, providing credit, technical product support, sales and service.”

Multidisciplinary engineering technology

“Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology (MXET) prepares students for careers requiring an understanding of technical problems and systems that combine principles from two or more engineering technology disciplines. The degree is designed to be flexible giving the student a strong background in electronic and mechanical systems and then augmented with a 29-hour focus area.”

Currently, the only focus area available is in mechatronics, but more are being planned.

Industrial and systems engineering

“The four-year curriculum in industrial engineering at Texas A&M is designed to provide students with a solid basis in mathematics and science, as well as in engineering economics, manufacturing systems, production and inventory control, operations research, quality engineering, reliability, facilities planning and materials handling.”

Materials science and engineering

“Materials science and engineering is an interdisciplinary field centered on understanding the physical properties of matter and designing materials with specific properties to serve a desired function. Materials scientists study the connections between the synthesis and processing of a material, its underlying structure and its resulting properties. ”

Mechanical engineering

“The curriculum consists of basic theory courses complemented by laboratory experiences in dynamic systems and controls, design, experimentation, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, manufacturing, and materials.”

Many ME students participate in “cooperative education,” which allows them to work in actual engineering positions while earning their degree.

Nuclear engineering

“The undergraduate program in the Department of Nuclear Engineering strives to produce qualified engineers to work to meet the technical manpower needs in the areas of nuclear energy production, space applications, and radiological health technologies.”

Ocean engineering

This is one of the more unique engineering programs on our list. In the ocean engineering program, you’ll take classes in the following subjects:

  • Coastal engineering
  • Dynamics of ocean systems
  • Engineering design of offshore and coastal systems
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Marine hydrodynamics
  • Naval architecture
  • Numerical methods
  • Ocean engineering laboratory
  • Ocean wave mechanics
  • Oceanography
  • Offshore and coastal structures
  • Underwater acoustics
  • Underwater and moored system design.

Petroleum engineering

“The curriculum in petroleum engineering is intended to prepare students for the petroleum industry and other fields which involve fluid flow through subsurface formations and particularly for those professions which have to do with drilling, production, reservoir engineering and transportation of oil, gas, and other subsurface resources.”

Note: You may see “radiological health” listed as a major in Texas A&M’s nuclear engineering department, but they’re no longer accepting applicants, and it will only remain as a minor option.

7. Colorado School of Mines

Colorado-School-Mines-bachelors-engineering-degree
Image source: Colorado School of Mines
Location: Golden, Colorado

Tuition cost:

  • In state: about $18,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $36,000 per year

Program length: four years

Acceptance rate: 40%

Graduation rate: 77%

Job placement rate: 85%

Student population: 6,000+

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on USAToday.com: 1
  • Rank on SuperScholar.com: 3
  • Rank on BestCollegeValues.com: 10

The Colorado School of Mines offers six BS in engineering programs and two minors. The school’s tradition of excellence in engineering stretches back more than 140 years.

Here’s how they describe each of their engineering programs:

Chemical engineering

“Our chemical engineering curriculum builds upon the fundamentals of biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. In this, undergraduate students complete a program of study that includes rigorous instruction in fluid mechanics, heat and mass transport, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, and chemical process dynamics and control.”

This program offers two specialty tracks in process engineering and biological engineering. There’s also an optional combined BS/MS program.

Civil engineering

“Civil engineering is about community service, sustainable development and environment, and improvement. It involves the conception, planning, analysis, design and construction of facilities essential to modern life, ranging from bridges to offshore structures to buildings to dams. Civil engineers are problem solvers, meeting the challenges of pollution, traffic congestion, drinking water, energy needs, urban redevelopment, and community planning.”

Environmental engineering

“The Environmental Engineering degree provides a broad education in environmental systems, with a focus on water. In addition to the fundamental engineering core, Environmental Engineering majors also take fundamental courses in chemistry, biology, and geology.”

Elective courses let you specialize in:

  • Water reclamation
  • Hydrology (rivers, groundwater, and climate)
  • Ground-water remediation
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Pollution prevention
  • Ecology
  • Public health
  • Sustainable engineering design

Electrical engineering

“A distinguishing feature of the EE program at CSM is a focus on the area of energy and power systems along with the area of information and systems sciences, which includes embedded processors, signal processing and control systems.”

Mechanical engineering

“The BSME program provides students with a strong background in core sciences and engineering courses. The program builds on this base with mechanical engineering courses in thermodynamics, fluids, mechanics of materials, machine design, computer-aided engineering, and heat transfer. These courses are supplemented by three semesters of related laboratory experience, a year-long senior-design capstone course, and courses from other disciplines including applied math, economics, electrical engineering, and material science.”

Metallurgical and materials engineering

“The primary focus of the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering program is to provide undergraduates with a fundamental knowledge-base associated with materials-processing, their properties, and their selection and application.”

In addition to Colorado School of Mines’ six majors, you can add a minor in bioengineering and life sciences or humanitarian engineering.

Note: CSM’s 85% job placement rate is averaged across all engineering majors. Depending on the major you choose, you could be in a program with up to a 100% job placement rate. (See job placement data here.)

8. University of Texas at Austin

University-Texas-Austin-bachelor-engineering-programs
Image source: University of Texas at Austin
Location: Austin, Texas

Tuition cost:

  • In state: about $10,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $36,000 per year

Program length: 122–133 credits

Acceptance rate: 40%

Graduation rate: 81%

Student population: 51,000+

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on ValueColleges.com: 5
  • Rank on BestCollegeValues.com: 6
  • Rank on CollegeChoice.net: 7
  • Rank on GraduatesHotline.com: 10

The University of Texas at Austin offers 11 BS in engineering degrees through the Cockrell School of Engineering. The school also offers an 18 credit humanitarian engineering certificate and an international engineering education that lets you conduct research abroad or partake in an industry immersion experience.

Additionally, all engineering undergraduates have ample opportunity for internships, externships, and undergraduate research.

UT-Austin offers degree programs in:

  • Aerospace engineering
  • Computational engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Architectural engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Electrical and computer engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Geosystems engineering
  • Petroleum engineering

These 11 programs are delivered through seven main departments. Here’s how each department describes their fields:

Aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics

“In aerospace engineering, students work closely with faculty to create, develop and apply aerospace technology to solve important global and societal problems — from mapping deforestation and migration to tracking weather patterns and more.”

Six graduates of this department have gone on to become astronauts for NASA and the European Space Agency.

Biomedical engineering

“Biomedical engineering combines knowledge in engineering, molecular and cellular biology, and medicine to improve human health and progress. Students and faculty work to build interdisciplinary knowledge and translatable solutions for human health.”

Chemical engineering

“Chemical engineering is one of the most broadly based engineering disciplines, offering opportunities in advanced materials, bioengineering, energy, environmental engineering, microelectronics, modeling and simulation, polymers and more.”

Civil, architectural, and environmental engineering

“The increasing demand for energy, water and the need to minimize and control climate change, requires civil, architectural and environmental engineers to be at the forefront, using state-of-the-art technologies to ensure adequate food, water and mobility.”

Electrical and computer engineering

“In electrical and computer engineering, students learn transformative solutions for building and maintaining secure data infrastructure, design intelligent utility networks, smart grids and mobile wireless networks, and advance nanotechnology and biochips.”

Mechanical engineering

“Mechanical engineering is the application of the principles of physics in the analysis, design, manufacturing and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is one of the broadest engineering disciplines and has one of the longest histories.”

Petroleum and geosystems engineering

“Energy is a key component to people’s lives; and a secure energy future requires a balance between environmental impact and affordable supply. Petroleum and geosystems engineers are able to address and solve important issues that will lead to energy security.”

The average starting salary of a bachelor’s degree recipient from the Cockrell School of Engineering is just over $73,000.

Fun fact: UT-Austin has an Engineering Career Assistance Center which is specially tailored to help engineering students transition from academia to their career.

9. Purdue University

Purdue-University-West-Lafayette-bachelor-engineering
Image source: Purdue University
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana (13 additional campuses in Indiana)

Tuition cost:

  • In state: about $10,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $29,000 per year

Program length: 120 credits

Acceptance rate: 56%

Graduation rate: 76%

Job placement rate: 90%

Student population: 41,000+

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on ValueColleges.com: 5
  • Rank on BestCollegeValues.com: 6
  • Rank on CollegeChoice.net: 7
  • Rank on GraduatesHotline: 10

Purdue University offers 16 BS in engineering degrees through 13 schools and departments. Within each department, students have plenty of research opportunities and industry partnerships they can take advantage of.

Here’s how Purdue describes each program:

Aeronautics and astronautics

“The field of aeronautical and astronautical engineering addresses the challenging problems encountered in the design and operation of many types of aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles . . . Employers from around the world contact the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics with information regarding positions available within their organizations.”

This degree requires you to select both a major and a minor in AAE. You can choose from the following concentrations:

Your senior year includes a team-based design project.

Agricultural engineering

“Agricultural engineers apply their knowledge of agricultural systems, natural resources, and engineering to equipment design and to assure environmental compatibility of practices used by production agriculture. Subject areas include computer-aided engineering, fluid power, finite element analysis, natural resource conservation, and engineering properties of biological materials.”

Specializations:

  • Environmental and natural resources
  • Machine systems

There’s also a combined BS/MS program that can be completed in as little as five years.

Biological engineering

“The world has tremendous need for solutions to problems related to the environment, energy, health, food, and sustainability. Biological systems are related to or at the heart of all of these issues. A Biological Engineer learns to design and analyze biological systems to develop innovative and practical solutions.”

Specializations:

  • Cellular and biomolecular engineering
  • Food and biological process engineering
  • Pharmaceutical process engineering

There’s also a pre-med track and a five-year combined BS/MS option.

Biomedical engineering

“Undergraduate students take life-science courses in combination with engineering design courses, studying physical and chemical properties of human tissues in order to design more effective implants. Other areas and projects include cell and tissue research, as well as the design of new biomaterials for use in medical therapies.”

Chemical engineering

“The School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University has a commitment to performing field-defining research that is regarded worldwide for its impact and quality. Our faculty is among the largest in the country. We are proud of our distinguished faculty members, including six elected members to the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.”

Concentrations:

  • Biological engineering
  • Energy and environment
  • Material and polymers
  • Pharmaceutical engineering

Civil engineering

“Purdue’s Civil Engineering Program prepares students to tackle future challenges and serve as key stakeholders in improving our society. Our program offers multiple pathways for students to find their passion. With ten open technical electives courses, students can tailor their education towards a desired future career.”

Areas of emphasis:

  • Architectural engineering
  • Construction engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Geomatics engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Hydraulics and hydrology engineering
  • Materials engineering
  • Structures engineering
  • Transportation and infrastructure systems engineering

Construction engineering and management

“Our undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering (BSCNE), is tailored to prepare students for professional work in the construction industry. Our curriculum includes approximately 80% construction engineering and 20% management courses focused on gaining technical and theoretical knowledge.”

Here’s why some Purdue students chose to major in CEM:

Electrical and computer engineering

“Electrical and Computer engineering encompasses all areas of research, development, design, and operation of electrical and electronic systems and their components, including software. . . . Graduates from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering are sought by all major industries.”

Students in this school can choose between majoring in electrical engineering and computer engineering. Both programs offer a wide range of emphasis areas, including:

  • Bioengineering
  • Circuit theory
  • Communication sciences
  • Computers and automata
  • Control systems
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Energy sources and systems
  • Materials and electronic devices

Interdisciplinary engineering

“The Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies Program is for students who want an engineering education but do not plan to practice engineering.”

You can create your own course of study or choose one of these concentrations:

  • Technical communications engineering studies
  • Engineering mathematics studies
  • Visual design engineering studies
  • Pre-chiropractic engineering studies
  • Pre-physical therapy engineering studies
  • Pre-medical engineering studies
  • Pre-optometry engineering studies
  • Pre-law engineering studies
  • Pre-veterinary medicine engineering studies
  • Supervisory engineering studies
  • Theatre engineering studies

Multidisciplinary engineering

“The Multidisciplinary Engineering Program’s mission, goals, objectives and outcomes are designed to prepare graduates to practice engineering. Typically, a plan of study is developed around a focused concentration.”

You can create your own concentration or choose one of these:

  • Acoustical engineering
  • Engineering management
  • General engineering
  • Visual design engineering
  • Lighting engineering
  • Nano-engineering

Environmental and ecological engineering

“Environmental and Ecological engineers use the principles of systems engineering, biology, and chemistry to develop strategies to protect human and environmental health. In the undergraduate curriculum there is an early focus on systems thinking and systems understanding with the inclusion of significant course requirements in ecology, sustainability, and industrial ecology.”

Some Purdue students made this video to address misconceptions about EEE and show you what it’s really like:

Industrial engineering

“The industrial engineering program prepares graduates for careers in all phases of industrial engineering and enables them to perform both technical and managerial functions that require scientific and engineering backgrounds. By combining the study of science, mathematics, engineering fundamentals, design, and management principles, an industrial engineering education provides a unique background and a sound basis for lifelong career development in engineering practice, research, or management.”

Materials engineering

“Our program takes a ‘processing first’ approach, since processing is the vital link that allows the engineer to control properties through the material’s structure. Our students are trained to ask ‘how would I make that?’ And in learning the practicalities of ‘how’ they also learn the fundamentals of ‘why.’”

Here’s a glimpse of the kinds of things materials engineers learn about at Purdue:

Mechanical engineering

“Purdue’s mechanical engineering program balances theory and practice. Our strong curriculum gives students a solid grounding in the theory behind traditional and emerging areas in mechanical engineering and provides a strong hands-on component through labs, design and build activities and student machine shops.”

This program gives students the chance to participate in “co-ops,” which are essentially long-term internships.

Nuclear engineering

“Nuclear engineers at Purdue contribute to such advanced technologies as fission and fusion power plasma physics, beam-target interactions, computational physics, new medical technologies and procedures, improved food safety, advanced materials processing, advanced imaging, and the safe treatment and disposal of spent nuclear fuel.”

Purdue has their own nuclear reactor!

Fun fact: Purdue has over 900 student organizations including more than 70 in engineering.

10. Princeton University

Princeton-University-BS-engineering-degree
Image source: Princeton University
Location: Princeton, New Jersey

Tuition cost: about $45,000 per year

Program length: four years

Acceptance rate: 7%

Graduation rate: 97%

Student population: 8,000+

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on Niche.com: 4
  • Rank on BestValueSchools.com: 6
  • Rank on ValueColleges.com: 9

Princeton University offers six bachelor of science in engineering degrees through their School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Princeton might not be the first school that comes to mind when you think about engineering, but they’re a world-renowned research institution, and their mastery of the liberal arts adds to, rather than subtracts from, their engineering education.

This is how they put it:

“The School of Engineering and Applied Science is unique in combining the strengths of a world-leading research institution with the qualities of an outstanding liberal arts college.”

Let’s look at their individual BSE programs:

Chemical and biological engineering

Princeton’s BSE in chemical and biological engineering offers students eight concentration options:

  • Bioengineering and biotechnology
  • Materials and product engineering
  • Energy and environmental engineering
  • Optimization
  • Dynamics
  • Information technology
  • Entrepreneurship and management
  • Science and engineering for new technologies

Civil and environmental engineering

From the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, you can choose from six majors (all result in a BSE in CEE):

  • Architecture and engineering: structural focus
  • Architecture and engineering: architecture focus
  • Environmental engineering
  • Geological engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Engineering and the liberal arts

Computer science

“Undergraduates learn fundamental concepts of the discipline and to become proficient in the use of advanced computer systems. The plan provides opportunities for study in software systems, algorithms and complexity, machine architecture, computer graphics, programming languages, machine learning, and other core areas of computer science.”

All CS students participate in “independent work” which may take the form of research.

Electrical engineering

Electrical engineering students get a foundation in engineering concepts and then choose from one of five specializations:

  • Devices
  • Optoelectronics
  • Computer architecture
  • Communication technology
  • Microprocessors

Mechanical and aerospace engineering

“The core of the department’s curriculum—solid and fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, dynamics, control systems, materials and applied mathematics—are combined with the experience of engineering design.”

Students choose from one of two majors:

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Aerospace engineering

Operations research and financial engineering

“Operations research and financial engineering may be considered as the modern form of a liberal education: modern because it is based on science, mathematics, computing and technology, and liberal in the sense that it provides for broad intellectual development and can lead to many different types of careers. By choosing judiciously from courses in engineering, science, mathematics, economics, public policy, and liberal arts, each student may design a program adapted to his or her particular interests.”

Those are all of Princeton’s engineering majors. Additionally they offer 13 undergraduate engineering certificates:

  • Applications of computing
  • Architecture and engineering
  • Computational and information science
  • Engineering and management systems
  • Engineering biology
  • Engineering physics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Geological engineering
  • Materials science and engineering
  • Robotics and intelligence systems
  • Sustainable energy
  • Teacher preparation
  • Technology and society

Note: Princeton has an astounding 97% graduation rate, but their admissions rate is just 7%. That’s better than some schools on this list, but admission is still extremely competitive.

Fun fact: Princeton is one of the eight Ivy League schools. That’s bound to make an impression on your resume.

A quick note on transferring schools

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than one third of all college students transfer schools before graduating. In order to transfer your credits from one school to another, the two schools usually have to be accredited by the same organizations.

Most of the schools on this list are accredited by different regional accrediting bodies, so if you do decide to transfer, you’ll have a lot less trouble. Some schools will accept credits from any regionally-accredited school, even if it’s accredited by another organization.

This goes for graduate studies, too. If you plan on pursuing a master’s, pay attention to who your BS degree is accredited by.

The best school is really up to you

We can’t tell you exactly which school is the best choice for you—and you shouldn’t let anyone else do that, either. You have to weigh the factors that are most important to you and let that guide your decision. Choosing a school is a huge investment—both in terms of what it immediately costs you and how it affects your life. So take your time.

We hope this list has helped make the decision a little easier for you. Good luck in your future studies!

Ryan Nelson
Ryan has a B.A. in English Literature from Western Washington University. If he could rewind and go to college all over again, he'd do it a little differently. For now, he's living vicariously through people like you by helping you find the best online schools for your field.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *