The Best Engineering Technology Programs in the World Today

by TBS Staff
TheBestSchools.org

thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Engineering degrees are popular for their high earning potential and career mobility for graduates.

Earning an engineering degree prepares students for careers across industrial sectors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 3% growth in engineering occupations from 2019-2029. In 2018, the BLS indicated civil, mechanical, and industrial engineers would see the most growth in the discipline.

A bachelor's degree in engineering includes foundational coursework in mathematics, science, and technology. Engineering curricula vary by program, but learners can focus their studies on specific branches of the field. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) recognizes more than 25 areas of engineering, including electrical, petroleum, and environmental engineering.

An engineering degree builds analytical and problem-solving skills. Students gain prestige in the workforce and begin a path to continued professional success. The best engineering bachelor's degrees help individuals to make positive contributions to the world and provide financial stability for their careers.

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California, United States

Founded in 1891, Caltech was originally called Throop University, but transitioned to its current moniker in 1921. Caltech emphasizes science and technology education through six academic divisions. It serves roughly 2,000 enrollees per year and offers a 3-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Caltech offers undergraduate engineering degrees in:

  • Electrical engineering

  • Engineering and applied science

  • Mechanical engineering

The electrical engineering bachelor's degree comprises 180 credits of coursework, with options to complete a culminating project or thesis. Within the engineering and applied science curriculum, learners can choose from specializations in:

  • Computation and natural systems

  • Materials science

Caltech's bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering prepares students to enter careers in the field or continue onto graduate study. During coronavirus, the college has placed a two-year moratorium on SAT and ACT score requirements for undergraduate admission.

Cambridge University

Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

Cambridge is the fourth oldest university in the world, with academic roots tracing to the 13th century. Today, Cambridge comprises 31 colleges, six schools, and over 150 faculties and departments, enrolling nearly 20,000 students from 150 countries every year.

Engineering programs at Cambridge include undergraduate degrees in:

  • Aerospace and aerothermal engineering

  • Bioengineering

  • Civil, structural, and environmental engineering

  • Electrical and electronic engineering

  • Energy, sustainability, and the environment

  • Information and computer engineering

  • Instrumentation and control

  • Mechanical engineering

The first two years of each curriculum gives learners a comprehensive look at engineering, including its principles and applications. Each enrollee begins specialized coursework during their third year, with the fourth year split between a major individual project and in-depth research into the theory and practice of a chosen subset of engineering.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, Cambridge holds laboratory and practical courses with the utmost attention to social distancing and appropriate ventilation.

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Named in part for its benefactor Andrew Carnegie, CMU began as a technical school in 1900. Carnegie Tech later merged with the Mellon Institute in 1967, creating an institution of higher learning dedicated to advancing research and using innovation and collaboration to solve real-world challenges.

Undergraduate engineering programs at CMU integrate general education, global, and major coursework. Students can major in:

  • Chemical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Electrical and computer engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Biomedical engineering

The university also offers double majors in engineering and public policy or biomedical engineering. Learners can minor in nearly 20 engineering and engineering-related fields.

City, University of London

London, England, United Kingdom

With a history extending back to the late 19th century, City joined the University of London federation in 2016. City houses five schools divided into individual departments, faculties, divisions, and research centers.

City offers several bachelor of engineering degrees, which students complete in 3-4 years. Learners can study:

  • Engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Aeronautical engineering

  • Electrical and electronic engineering

The engineering curriculum integrates content from across disciplines to prepare enrollees for professional engineering roles. The civil engineering degree focuses on design, construction, and management competencies, while the mechanical engineering degree emphasizes transport, energy, materials, and industrial design.

Biomedical engineering students explore the application of engineering principles and practices to the healthcare industry. Aeronautical engineering trains students for careers in the aerospace industry, while the electrical and electronic engineering curriculum explores control systems, machinery, and equipment used in engineering.

Columbia University

New York, New York, United States

Established by royal charter in 1754, Columbia is the fifth oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Comprising four academic schools, Columbia hosts nearly 33,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students each year.

Columbia offers bachelor of science degrees in engineering in:

  • Applied physics and applied mathematics

  • Chemical engineering

  • Computer engineering

  • Earth and environmental engineering

  • Engineering mechanics

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Operations research: engineering management systems

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Civil engineering and engineering mechanics

  • Computer science

  • Electrical engineering

  • Industrial engineering and operations research

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Operations research: financial engineering

Within each major, students can complete minors in over 30 subsets of engineering. During the first two years of an engineering bachelor's degree, learners gain foundational knowledge and skills in applied science, humanities, and engineering. Projects, research, and lecture courses prepare enrollees for leadership and internship activities during the final two years of the degree.

Due to challenges related to COVID-19, undergraduate applicants can opt out of SAT and ACT requirements.

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York, United States

Founded in 1865 and opened three years later, Cornell houses 15 academic colleges and schools. Cornell enrolls more than 24,000 students in its undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs every year.

Cornell offers 14 engineering majors and 20 minors. Undergraduate students can earn engineering degrees in:

  • Biological engineering

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Computer science

  • Earth and atmospheric sciences

  • Electrical and computer engineering

  • Engineering physics

  • Environmental engineering

  • Independent studies

  • Information science, systems, and technology

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Operations research and engineering

The first year of each undergraduate engineering curricula covers foundational coursework. Learners then proceed to field-specific lecture, laboratory, and seminar classes.

Cornell supports engineering students with a career center, entrepreneurial options, and engineering leadership programs.

Delft University of Technology

Delft, Netherlands

TU Delft, the largest and oldest university in the Netherlands, is organized into eight faculties that provide nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate programs. Focused on enhancing research and innovation in science, design, and technology, TU Delft enrolls roughly 25,000 students annually.

Out of the 16 undergraduate programs offered at TU Delft, seven focus on engineering:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Computer science and engineering

  • Electrical engineering

  • Industrial design engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Systems engineering policy analysis and management

Each program comprises 180 credits of coursework, which learners complete in 36 months. TU Delft offers its aerospace and computer science and engineering degrees in English.

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina, United States

Since 1838, Duke has served as a preparatory school, a teaching college, and a world-class educational and research institution. Duke houses 10 academic schools and colleges, with 12 additional institutes and centers.

Duke's bachelor of science in engineering includes specializations in:

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Environmental engineering

  • Electrical and computer engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

Each degree includes required coursework in writing, mathematics, engineering and applied sciences, and digital computation. Along with advanced courses in their major field of study, enrollees can also pursue majors in machine learning and artificial intelligence, electrical and computer engineering, or energy engineering. Learners can further concentrate their studies or pursue dual majors, as well.

Duke continues to work toward a return to campus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has affected admission requirements as well, with accommodations available for early decision, application fee waivers, and standardized test scores.

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

EPFL specializes in natural sciences and engineering, hosting five schools and three colleges across its five campuses. The school's history dates to the mid-19th century with an initial class of 11 students. Today, EPFL has expanded its offers to meet the needs of roughly 11,000 learners annually.

Engineering bachelor's degrees at EPFL include:

  • Chemistry and chemical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Electrical and electronic engineering

  • Environmental sciences and engineering

  • Life sciences engineering

  • Materials science engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Microengineering

Undergraduate degrees span three years, with the first year covering general coursework. The second year emphasizes discipline-specific content, while the third year focuses entirely on a chosen area of study. Bachelor's degrees require 180 credits.

EPFL offers information technology resources for students and faculty to support remote learning. The school has shifted all classes and exercise sessions online due to COVID-19, with a plan to return to campuses in 2021.

ETH Zurich

Zurich, Switzerland

ETH Zurich provides academic programs that support innovation in STEM fields worldwide. The Swiss federal government established the school in 1855, and it currently enrolls over 21,000 learners annually.

Undergraduate engineering programs at ETH Zurich include bachelor's degrees in:

  • Electrical engineering and information technology

  • Computer science

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Materials science

  • Civil engineering

  • Environmental engineering

  • Geospatial engineering

  • Chemistry/chemical and bioengineering

  • Computational sciences and engineering

Each program comprises three years of coursework. The first two years emphasize the fundamentals of mathematics, engineering, and physics, while the last year allows students to complete advanced, elective, and specialized classes. Potential specializations within the electrical engineering and information technology program include:

  • Electronics and photonics

  • Communication

  • Computers and networks

  • Energy and power electronics

  • Biomedical technology

Learners earning bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering can specialize in:

  • Biomedical technology

  • Energy, flows, and processes

  • Management, technology, and economics

  • Mechatronics

  • Microsystems and nanotechnology

  • Production engineering

  • Design, mechanics, and materials

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

From only 84 students in its inaugural class in 1888, Georgia Tech has grown to offer academic programs to more than 25,000 learners annually. With six colleges and 28 schools, Georgia Tech is one of the leading research institutions in the United States.

Engineering programs at Georgia Tech include bachelor of science degrees in:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Chemical and biomolecular engineering

  • Civil and environmental engineering

  • Electrical and computer engineering

  • Industrial and systems engineering

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Nuclear and radiological engineering

In each of these engineering degrees, learners complete required foundational coursework as determined by the University System of Georgia. Once students move into major-specific classes, they explore theories, principles, and practical applications of their fields, along with specializations.

Georgia Tech offers courses online and on campus, with careful attention to social distancing, risk assessment, and accommodations for individual students.

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The university houses 10 academic faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Harvard hosts the largest academic library in the world and serves more than 36,000 students each year.

Through the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, students can earn undergraduate engineering degrees in:

  • Bioengineering

  • Electrical engineering

  • Environmental science and engineering

  • Materials science and mechanical engineering

The bioengineering curriculum incorporates physics and chemistry into physical and life sciences, emphasizing mathematical analysis and modeling. Students can earn bachelor of arts (BA) degrees in biomedical engineering or engineering science with a specialization in biomedical sciences and engineering. They can also pursue bachelor of science (BS) in engineering sciences degrees with a bioengineering focus.

The other engineering bachelor's degrees similarly include options for BA or BS curricula. BAs allow for more flexibility in pursuing classes from other disciplines, while BS degrees offer a broader foundation of engineering fundamental courses.

Applicants to Harvard receive individual consideration based on circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong, China

Established by the British Hong Kong Government in 1991, HKUST includes four academic schools. Interdisciplinary programs are accompanied by additional institutes for advanced study and public policy. HKUST enrolls more than 16,000 students annually.

Through HKUST's school of engineering, undergraduate students can earn bachelor of engineering degrees in:

  • Engineering with an extended major in artificial intelligence

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Bioengineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Chemical and environmental engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Civil and environmental engineering

  • Computer engineering

  • Decision analytics

  • Electronic engineering

  • Industrial engineering and engineering management

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Sustainable energy engineering

The four-year curriculum introduces students to engineering fundamentals during the first year, with major and minor specific coursework completed over the subsequent three years. HKUST also supports engineering students with inbound exchanges, international internships, and opportunities for community outreach activities.

Imperial College London

London, England, United Kingdom

Imperial was founded amid the consolidation of the Royal College of London, the Royal School of Mines, and the City & Guilds College in 1907. Imperial offers over 250 academic programs, focusing on science, engineering, medicine, and business.

Engineering programs at Imperial include bachelor's degrees in:

  • Electrical and electronic engineering

  • Electronic and information engineering

Electrical and electronic engineering students study analog and digital electronics, communication and control, and mathematics during the first two years. Coursework explores circuits, systems, networks, and programming.

Learners complete core classes while working in study groups and laboratory settings. The third year in both programs allows students to choose advanced topics in the field as they apply degree competencies to individual capstone projects.

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Johns Hopkins is America's first and oldest research institution. Since its founding in 1876, Johns Hopkins has grown to offer more than 260 academic programs to over 27,000 enrollees. With campuses and centers in nine locations, Johns Hopkins is a global leader in education, research, and innovation.

Through Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering, undergraduate students can earn bachelor of science degrees in:

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Chemical and biomolecular engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Electrical and computer engineering

  • Electrical engineering

  • Engineering mechanics

  • Environmental engineering

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

Learners can also pursue bachelor of arts degrees in general engineering.

Undergraduate applicants must submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, and supplemental materials for consideration. Johns Hopkins has waived SAT and ACT requirements for learners applying to the 2021 academic year.

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Daejeon, South Korea

KAIST opened its doors in 1971, becoming South Korea's first public research-based science and technology school. KAIST houses five academic colleges, 20 undergraduate and graduate schools, and 27 individual departments.

Through KAIST's college of engineering, undergraduate students earn engineering degrees in:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Bio and brain engineering

  • Chemical and biomolecular engineering

  • Civil and environmental engineering

  • Industrial and system engineering

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Nuclear and quantum engineering

  • Electrical engineering

Within these areas, additional specializations are also available, allowing learners to explore advanced topics. Undergraduate degrees include 130-136 credits of general education, elective, and major coursework with additional research requirements.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

MIT was incorporated in 1861 and today leads globally in science and technology education and research. Organized into five schools and one college, MIT offers undergraduate and graduate programs through 30 academic departments.

Through its school of engineering, undergraduate students can earn bachelor's degrees in:

  • Aeronautics and astronautics

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Civil and environmental engineering

  • Electrical engineering and computer science

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Medical engineering and science

  • Nuclear science and engineering

Within each bachelor's curriculum, students can further concentrate their curricula by pursing a specialty. The medical engineering and science degree is a joint degree between MIT and Harvard, using a collaboration of facilities and research.

Engineering students at MIT can access the New Engineering Education Transformation group to develop projects that incorporate multidisciplinary, immersive activities. Meanwhile, the college's Sandbox Innovation Fund helps students launch their innovations into reality. MIT also provides extensive research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

Nanyang Technological University

Singapore, China

NTU was initially an affiliate institution of the National University of Singapore under the moniker Nanyang Technological Institute. When it merged with the National Institute of Education during the 1950s, NTU remained affiliated with the National University of Singapore, later becoming an autonomous institution in 2006.

Undergraduate engineering programs at NTU offer more than 35 options, including:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Bioengineering

  • Chemical and biomolecular engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Computer engineering

  • Computer science

  • Data science and artificial intelligence

  • Electrical and electronic engineering

  • Environmental engineering

  • Information engineering and media

  • Materials engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Maritime studies

Double-degree options blend engineering fields with business, pharmaceutical engineering, and economics. Enrollees can also earn dual bachelor of science degrees in physics and microelectronics engineering.

Politecnico di Milano

Milan, Italy

With two campuses in Milan and additional locations throughout Italy, Politecnico di Milano offers undergraduate programs in architecture, design, and engineering. Programs last three years, and instructors deliver coursework in Italian. The Politecnico di Milano enrolls more than 46,000 students annually.

The Politecnico di Milano offers 27 undergraduate degrees, including engineering programs in:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Automation engineering

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Building and construction engineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Electrical engineering

  • Energy engineering

  • Environmental and land planning engineering

  • Management and production engineering

  • Materials and nanotechnology engineering

  • Mathematical engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey, United States

Princeton is the fourth-oldest university in the United States, hosting 36 academic departments. The university offers its nearly 8,000 enrollees a 5-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, both from its 600-acre campus and online.

Princeton's undergraduate engineering degrees include:

  • Civil and environmental engineering

  • Chemical and biological engineering

  • Computer science

  • Electrical engineering

  • Mechanical and aerospace engineering

  • Operations research and financial engineering

Additional undergraduate programs offer certificates in:

  • Architecture and engineering

  • Engineering and management systems

  • Engineering biology

  • Engineering physics

  • Geological engineering

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Robotics and intelligence systems

  • Sustainable energy

  • Technology and society

Standardized test requirements for applicants to Princeton's undergraduate programs have been paused during COVID-19.

Stanford University

Stanford, California, United States

Stanford was named for the son of its benefactors, Leland and Jane Stanford. It opened its doors in 1891. Today, Stanford enrolls nearly 16,500 students annually and offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate fields of study.

Stanford's engineering programs include 10 undergraduate options, including bachelor of science degrees in:

  • Aeronautics and astronautics

  • Bioengineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Computer science

  • Electrical engineering

  • Environmental systems engineering

  • Management science and engineering

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

Students can also choose from fiv interdepartmental engineering bachelor's degrees or design their own. Pre-existing programs include:

  • Architectural design

  • Atmosphere and energy

  • Biomechanical engineering

  • Biomedical computation

  • Engineering physics

In the first year, learners complete fundamental coursework in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, while advanced classes happen during the latter years. Stanford has suspended SAT and ACT requirements for undergraduate applicants for the 2021 academic year.

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California, United States

Berkeley is one of nine institutions within the University of California System, offering more than 350 academic programs. Founded in 1868, Berkeley ranks among the top public institutions in the world and hosts roughly 43,000 students annually.

Undergraduate students at Berkeley can earn bachelor's degrees in:

  • Bioengineering

  • Civil and environmental engineering

  • Electrical engineering and computer sciences

  • Engineering science

  • Industrial engineering and operations research

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Nuclear engineering

In each program, students must complete required mathematics, physics, chemistry, and engineering coursework in anticipation of major classes. Berkeley also provides students opportunities to complete joint bachelor's degrees in dual engineering programs, including the following options:

  • Bioengineering/materials science and engineering

  • Electrical engineering and computer sciences/materials science and engineering

  • Electrical engineering and computer sciences/nuclear engineering

  • Materials science and engineering/mechanical engineering

  • Materials science and engineering/nuclear engineering

  • Mechanical engineering/nuclear engineering

For the 2021 academic year, each applicant must demonstrate competency in mathematics and science, with at least three years of laboratory coursework, for admission to the engineering program.

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

Founded in 1817, U-M is the oldest institution of higher learning in Michigan. U-M offers more than 275 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and boasts a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

U-M offers 17 undergraduate programs in engineering, including:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Computer science

  • Space sciences and engineering

  • Engineering physics

  • Climate and meteorology

  • Nuclear engineering and radiological sciences

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Industrial and operation engineering

  • Materials science and engineering

  • Environmental engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Electrical engineering

Each degree comprises 128 credits. During the first two years of the program, learners take foundational coursework in mathematics, physics, and engineering. The last two years emphasize field-specific content.

U-M has modified admission requirements for the 2021 academic year. The school will assess deadlines, recommendations, and standardized test scores based on each individual's specific circumstances.

University of Oxford

Oxford, England, United Kingdom

Oxford traces its origins as an academic institution to the 11th century. With roughly 100 departments organized into 39 colleges, Oxford enrolls over 24,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students each year.

Oxford's engineering science program includes four years of coursework. Students complete two years of undergraduate coursework, focusing on engineering fundamentals, principles, and applications. The third and fourth years of the curriculum offer specializations in:

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Electrical engineering

  • Information engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

Oxford's program prepares learners to work as chartered engineers in their area of focus. Enrollees work with faculty to obtain practical industrial experience while earning their degrees.

Oxford's response to the COVID-19 outbreak is constantly under review as the government and local health authorities revise their emergency response frameworks.

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California, United States

From an initial class of 53 students in 1880, USC has grown to enroll more than 44,000 students annually. USC is one of the leading private research institutions in the world, housing 22 academic schools and units.

USC offers engineering programs through the Viterbi School of Engineering. Students can earn bachelor of science degrees in:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Industrial and systems engineering

  • Electrical and computer engineering

  • Computer engineering and computer science

  • Civil engineering

  • Environmental engineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Petroleum engineering

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Astronautical engineering

Additional engineering program options for undergraduate students include engineering writing courses and more than 20 technical minors. Applicants to the 2021 academic year do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration.

Best Programs in the World

Best Engineering Programs in the World Ranking Guidelines

We aggregated the 2020 international university rankings for engineering programs QS World University Rankings and Academic Influence to create our list of the best engineering programs in the world today.

What Is an Engineering Degree?

A bachelor's degree in engineering emphasizes mathematics and science as they apply to structures, systems, and processes. Students with analytical minds and strong work ethics are ideal candidates for engineering bachelor's degrees.

The best engineering degrees incorporate applied analysis and modeling components to help learners understand the techniques, methods, and tools needed to solve engineering problems. Core engineering coursework covers chemistry, physics, and calculus, with additional classes in principles and practices of engineering.

Advanced coursework allows learners to focus their studies. For example, individuals interested in designing roads and bridges can pursue degrees in civil engineering, while learners who want to develop computer systems should consider computer engineering.

Choosing a Program

When choosing engineering programs, candidates should consider several factors, such as admission requirements, accreditation, curricula, and available areas of concentration. You can learn more about how to make these choices below.

What Else Can I Expect From an Engineering Program?

Specific courses in engineering programs vary, but core classes emphasize mathematics and science. Students should choose programs with coursework, concentrations, and minors that match their personal interests and professional goals.

Engineering Disciplines

Aeronautics and Astronautics

Aeronautics and astronautics overlap in focus, both covering aviation, space, and defense. These fields explore the design, development, testing, and production of aircraft. The former focuses on military and civilian aircraft, while the latter involves exploration and space-related technologies.

Bioengineering

Bioengineering combines live science with engineering principles and practices to assess biological systems and mechanics. Bioengineers create technologies and therapies to address issues in biology, medicine, and healthcare.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering uses principles of chemistry and engineering to design equipment, systems, and processes that use chemicals. Chemical engineers develop new technologies and products to address issues related to the manufacture of foods, medicines, and fuels.

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering focuses on the design, construction, and maintenance of bridges, roads, and related infrastructure. Civil engineers apply engineering principles to structural works, integrating knowledge of hydraulics, material science, and mechanics.

Computer Engineering

Computer engineering integrates computer science, information technology, and engineering. These professionals design, develop, and analyze computer hardware and software. Computer engineering can also overlap with electronic engineering.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers develop new technologies related to electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. These professionals work with household appliances, telecommunication devices, and medical equipment.

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering uses engineering principles to address pollution, waste disposal, and public health concerns. Environmental engineers blend their knowledge of soil systems, biology, and chemistry to improve established environmental practices.

Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineers optimize industrial processes, space, and technologies. These engineers develop, improve, and install devices and systems used by workers to enhance the exchange of information, energy, time, and materials.

Materials Engineering

Materials engineers blend their knowledge of metals, ceramics, and polymers with engineering principles to create new products. They also design and test processes used in other disciplines, such as chemical, electrical, and industrial engineering.

Mechanical Engineering

This broad subset of engineering uses physics, mathematics, and materials science to develop new machinery. Mechanical engineers seek to generate, distribute, and use energy efficiently.

Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear engineers find new techniques of breaking down or combining atoms using nuclear physics. Nuclear engineering focuses on subatomic processes to find industrial and medical applications for radioactive materials. Professionals also determine ways to use and manage nuclear energy and waste.

Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineers work with crude oil and natural gas, with an emphasis on hydrocarbons. They design and develop tools and techniques to extract oil and gas from the earth by using mechanical, chemical, and civil engineering principles. Petroleum engineering also addresses issues of safety and security related to petroleum-based energies.

Software Engineering

This field combines computer science and engineering to create computer systems and software. Software engineers develop programs and analyze operating data to improve computer functions, implement quality assurance tests, and enhance user interfaces.

Engineering Curriculum

Engineering Certifications and Licensure

Requirements for certification and licensure as an engineer vary by state. Generally, to become a licensed engineer, each student needs a bachelor's degree from an accredited engineering program and to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Specific education and experience requirements for licensure may differ by comity or reciprocity.

The FE exam, offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, includes 110 questions which students complete in six hours. The test is offered with seven discipline-specific specifications, including chemical, civil, electrical and computer, mechanical, and environmental engineering.

Professionals can also seek certification as professional engineers. Students must complete the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam (PE) in a specific discipline. This exam suits engineers with professional experience who seek to advance their credentials.

The American Society of Civil Engineers certifies coastal, geotechnical, navigation, and water-related engineers, while the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies provides additional technical certifications in civil engineering technology and electrical and mechanical engineering technology.

Engineering Professional Organizations

Membership to a professional organization for engineers allows students, educators, and individuals working in the field to come together both online and in person. Engineering organizations offer educational resources, scholarship opportunities, and mentorship programs to facilitate entry into the profession.

Society of Women Engineers
SWE unites women engineers from around the world. This organization offers an online course detailing its vision, mission, and strategic goals. Members receive access to workplace groups, educational materials, and leadership guidance. Additional benefits include professional development and career service resources, networking opportunities, and community and advocacy programs.
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
Established in 1974, SHPE focuses on diversifying the engineering field and promoting opportunities for Hispanics in STEM. Members receive access to regional and national events, scholarship opportunities, and online educational materials. Professionals can explore career resources, access academic publications, and participate in mentorship and advocacy programs.
National Society of Black Engineers
NSBE has grown from six original members in the 1970s to more than 24,000 members today. Dedicated to increasing the number of Black engineers, NSBE offers student members educational support, networking events, and organizational publications. Professional members can participate in leadership programs, take part in mentoring and community outreach opportunities, and engage with special interest groups.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
ASME, established in 1880, now includes more than 100,000 members around the world. This organization provides certification and accreditation programs, develops universally recognized codes and standards, and supports academic and research collaboration in the field. Conferences, local events, and continuing education opportunities accompany updates on trends in mechanical engineering, access to scholarships and awards, and member discounts.
American Society of Civil Engineers
ASCE has more than 150,000 members, offering them webinars, career development information, technical resources, and mentorship programs. ASCE also houses nine technical institutes, publishes journals and updates for members, and offers group insurance plans, financial programs, and tech discounts. Students can join for free by starting or joining chapters at their institutions. ASCE also provides information about recruitment, events, and funding for chapters.

Engineering Careers

An engineering degree opens opportunities for careers in diverse settings. This broad discipline applies to industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology.

Engineers work in offices, laboratories, or on factory floors. Responsibilities for engineers vary by position, but these professionals need strong communication and organizational skills, along with technical and analytical abilities. Common engineering careers include civil, industrial, and mechanical engineer, but the list of potential jobs expands far beyond the positions described below.

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers plan, design, build, and maintain roads, canals, bridges, and comparable structures. They work with teams of construction professionals, conduct on-site visits, and assess structural and logistical issues. Additional responsibilities include feasibility assessments, ensuring regulatory compliance, and coordinating project budgets and timelines.

A civil engineer needs a bachelor's degree in the field from an accredited program. Licensure varies by location, but all civil engineers must complete the PE exam. Civil engineers demonstrate strong organizational and communication skills, attention to detail, accuracy in calculations, and technical abilities.

Median Annual Salary

$87,060

Job Outlook (2019-2029)

2%

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers design, test, and implement integrative processes for industrial production. An industrial engineer assesses existing processes to integrate workers with machinery and materials. Industrial engineers specialize in standards, regulations, and safety protocols, with an eye toward efficiency, cutting waste, and ensuring quality.

Industrial engineers work in many settings and take on different professional roles. They may work internally or serve as consultants. Industrial engineers need extensive knowledge about materials, machines, tools, and design, which means earning bachelor's degrees in engineering, specializing in mechanical, manufacturing, or industrial engineering technology. Industrial engineers often need to complete the FE or PE exams.

Median Annual Salary

$88,020

Job Outlook (2019-2029)

10%

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical devices, tools, engines, and systems. By analyzing mechanical and thermal processes, they solve existing problems and find ways to create more efficient and powerful machines. Mechanical engineers work for the automotive industry, in robotics, and with environmental systems.

Mechanical engineers work in manufacturing, research and development, and consulting roles. An engineer who oversees the lifecycle of a product or device may serve as a project manager. This requires leadership and communication skills.

To become a mechanical engineer, candidates must earn a bachelor's degree in the field, gain professional experience and technical skills, and earn a passing PE score and state licensure.

Median Annual Salary

$88,430

Job Outlook (2019-2029)

4%

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is the Best Engineering Discipline?

The best engineering discipline is the one that meets your individual interests and goals. For example, learners who want to build infrastructure should pursue civil engineering, while those who seek to solve environmental problems can focus on environmental engineering.

What Is the Hardest Engineering Major?

Engineering requires hard work and a comprehensive understanding of mathematics and sciences. Individual proficiencies vary, so identifying the hardest engineering major comes down to each student's abilities.

Is Becoming an Engineer Worth It?

Becoming an engineer yields high earning potential and career opportunities. For professionals who enjoy problem-solving and working with science, it can be a very fulfilling career. Engineering requires hard work and a comprehensive understanding of mathematics and sciences. Individual proficiencies vary, so identifying the hardest engineering major comes down to each student's abilities.

Why Is Engineering Important?

Engineering is what keeps the world working. Civil engineers maintain infrastructure, while mechanical engineers improve and create new devices and machines. Industrial engineers optimize efficiency; environmental engineers tackle problems related to pollution, waste, and related challenges; and biomedical engineers develop new technologies used in healthcare.

What's the Difference Between a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Engineering?

A bachelor of science in engineering emphasizes theoretical applications of engineering, while a bachelor of engineering degree focuses on more practical use. A bachelor of science covers the principles of engineering and how to assess their efficacy in controlled settings, and it may also include courses in related disciplines like mathematics or physics. During a bachelor of engineering degree, students participate in hands-on activities to integrate their theoretical knowledge, preparing them more directly for careers.

Header Image Credit: Daisy-Daisy is the credit | Getty Images

Learn more, do more.

More topic-relevant resources to expand your knowledge.

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office