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THE USA: Subject Guides

Best engineering schools in the USA

Discover which universities are best for engineering in the USA and why they top the rankings for this popular subject.

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If you want to get into engineering, having a degree from a reputable university will be highly beneficial and is often compulsory for a promising career. A degree in engineering will also provide you with the essential knowledge and skills needed to enter into any type of engineering role whether that be civil, mechanical, or biomedical engineering. The USA is a particularly popular country for international students as it is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities. 


Engineering is the most popular field of study among international students in the USA at 20.5 per cent of all enrolments (Institute of International Education, Open Doors Report 2020). So which institutions are international engineering students choosing for their studies? Here we explore the best engineering schools in the USA.


To compile this list, we’re primarily using the QS World University Rankings 2021 by subject to source the top engineering schools in the USA. We’ve also provided links to other reputable American universities so that you can download a prospectus or get in touch with the university for more information. 


So before we start, do you know what to expect from an engineering degree abroad? If you’re not sure, check out our guide for more information.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Around 45 per cent of all graduate students at MIT are enrolled in engineering courses, reflecting the popularity of the subject at this institution. There are up to 20 research centres located on campus, dealing with a variety of problems, including cancer treatments and sustainability.


MIT also comes out on top across rankings such as the U.S. News & World Report for Best Engineering Schools 2022. MIT is particularly recognised for the quality and the output of its student research and inventions, in addition to being home to 95 Nobel Laureates. 


Besides its top-performing reputation, MIT is also ideally located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, based alongside the Charles River which students can cross to explore the neighbouring city of Boston. 


Stanford University


Ranking second for engineering, Stanford University is known for its excellence within the field. Priding itself on a multidisciplinary approach, the school of engineering has dozens of labs, institutes and centres for research and innovation that students can use. The school of engineering is home to more than 240 faculty and approximately 4,000 students at all levels of study. The engineering departments include:



Faculty members have also created blended courses which combine interactive learning and traditional lectures. Most of the engineering departments also offer undergraduate students a Research Experience for Undergraduates Program with financial aid to support summer research projects. 


Based in California in the San Francisco Bay area, Stanford University has a long history dating back to 1885. Inventions born out of the university include the computer mouse and the development of digital music, among many more. The campus stretches across 8,180 acres and is home to more than 11,000 students, making it one of the largest in the USA.  


Want to make sure the USA is the right study destination for you? Use our guide on what America can offer international students.


University of California, Berkeley 


Consistently ranking within the top schools for engineering in the USA, the University of California Berkeley is home to state-of-the-art engineering research labs including one of the world’s largest earthquake simulators. These spaces enable students to invent, create and challenge existing methods within the field of engineering. This strive for excellence is also acknowledged within the workforce as the median salary of engineering graduates from UC Berkeley is USD 110,000.


The university is conveniently located just an hour’s drive from Silicon Valley, a global hub of technological innovation. This gives UC Berkeley students access to industry leaders, start-ups, and large corporations such as Google and Facebook with links to the university. Equally, the university is ideally located just 20 minutes from the bustling city of San Francisco in addition to surrounding forests and wildlife, UC Berkeley offers a diverse environment for students. 


Discover five unexpected careers of international engineering graduates.


Harvard University 


A world-renowned and leading institution, Harvard is a top university across multiple disciplines. International students are said to make up 23 per cent of the student body at Harvard, representing at least 50 countries. The curriculum at the engineering school focuses on applied science and mathematical analysis, applying these fundamental skills to real-world problems. The primary areas of study at Harvard University include bioengineeringelectrical engineeringenvironmental science and engineering and mechanical engineering. 


The Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences sits within the faculty of arts and sciences. The school is home to 1,072 undergraduate students and 679 graduate students (Harvard 2020). Engineering at Harvard has a longstanding history dating back to the Lawrence Scientific School, established in 1847. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is just a 15-minute train journey from the Boston city centre.


Start browsing engineering courses in the USA.


Georgia Institute of Technology 


Ranking 5th in the USA for engineering, the Georgia Institute of Technology is home to eight award-winning engineering schools offering the option of a five-year program that enables students to earn a bachelor's and a master’s degree. The college of engineering has research contracts with government agencies such as the Department of Energy and the Department of Defence. The university is also home to 11 interdisciplinary research centres, bringing together engineers and scientists for collaborative projects to deal with the world’s most pressing issues. These institutes include:


  • Bioengineering and bioscience
  • Electronics and nanotechnology
  • Data engineering and science
  • Renewable bioproducts
  • People and technology
  • Robotics
  • Sustainable systems
  • Materials 
  • Information security and privacy 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Energy


More than half of Georgia Tech students are engineering majors with notable international alumni including Nagesh Kukunoor, who gained a masters in environmental engineering before turning his talents to Bollywood films. 


The Georgia Institute of Technology is a public college based in Atlanta, Georgia, a buzzing city of culture, business, and entertainment. The university also has international campuses in France and China where students can choose to study abroad for a year or semester. 


Want to hear an international student’s perspective on studying in the USA?


These leading institutions are home to some of the top-ranked engineering schools in the USA, which means entry requirements are typically high. However, there are of course plenty of other esteemed institutions in the states with different facilities and opportunities.


Check out the following universities for more inspiration and engineering courses:



Now that you know which universities come out on top for engineering in the USA, you might be ready to start applying? To get started, you can use our course matcher tool to find a course and university catered to your preferences. 


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