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Ranking of Undergraduate Engineering Schools in the United States

by Rachel Gellman

According to Academic Ranking of World Universities, 13 of the top 15 engineering schools in the world are in the United States. Of course, rankings differ among sources due to the many facets that make up a good engineering program. Further, because there are so many types of engineering degrees, some ranking systems split up results according to the type of engineering programs. For instance, a school that ranks high in aerospace engineering might not rank as high in mechanical engineering. Other rankings consider school size, academic performance, location, price or peer assessments.

Top Peer Assessed Schools

Cal Tech students get to work on research funded by NASA.

According to a U.S. News and World Report, peer assessment surveys identify the top three undergraduate schools for engineering where a doctorate degree is offered as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and California Institute of Technology. Robert Morse of U.S. News and World Report explains that doctoral program research often influences undergraduate programs and broadens the range of undergraduate course offerings. These three schools will cost students around $40,000 a year in tuition and fees. Tuition and fees at University of California, Berkeley, which is ranked fourth on the U.S. News and World Report list, will cost in-state students around $12,000 a year as of 2013.

Best Undergraduate-Focused Engineering Schools

Cal Poly is often called

Placing first on U.S. News and World Report's list of best undergraduate engineering schools whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's is Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Harvey Mudd College is ranked second, and the United States Military and Air Force Academies rank third and fourth, respectively. These schools with terminal degrees at the master's or bachelor's level will focus more on undergraduate studies. Sneaking in eighth on this list is California Polytechnic State University -- San Luis Obispo, with in-state tuition at around $6,000 a year in tuition and fees in 2013.

Engineering in California

While many of the top-ranked engineering schools are expensive, private institutions, a number of public and affordable California universities make many of the ranking lists. The Universities of California in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Santa Cruz are all highly ranked and will cost in-state students around $12,000 in tuition and fees. Out-of-state students will pay upwards of $17,000 to attend Universities of California, but can usually enroll as residents after living in California for a year.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Although MIT will cost undergraduates much more in tuition and fees than other public universities -- around $40,000 per year in 2013 -- it does rank number one in multiple engineering fields. According to U.S. News and World Report, MIT is the highest ranked program in aerospace, aeronautical, astronautical, chemical, computer, electrical, electronic communications, materials and mechanical engineering.

About the Author

Based in San Diego, Rachel Gellman has worked in the education field since 2006. Her work has appeared in several journals, including "World Literature Today." She is part of the LARB Reviewing Class of 2013 in poetry, and holds a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from San Diego State University.

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