2020 Top Engineering Graduate Schools
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on November 11, 2019 |

Most of us want a steady, enjoyable career. Fortunately, you’re reading engineering.com, which means your engineering skills could pay off—particularly if you pursue a higher education degree such as earning a Master's of Engineering. Between 2011 and 2012, recent college graduates with engineering degrees had a lower overall unemployment rate than the average American, at 6.5 percent. An experienced graduate was even better off at just 3.5 percent. 

Not only are engineers less likely to be unemployed, but they typically earn higher salaries than those with degrees in other fields of study, with Census.gov listing engineers as making an average salary of $93,000 per year. This earning potential gets a somewhat significant bump with a master’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

However, many engineers choose to pursue an advanced degree for reasons other than the salary or job security; you might just really like your field and want to further specialize. Or you might want to acquire more knowledge to make a greater difference in the world through innovation.

Regardless of the reason you might choose to earn a master’s in engineering, there is a long list of options for programs in the country—and US News and World Report 2019 has ranked that list. Here we break down the top 15 graduate schools for engineering. 

#1: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Engineering

(Image courtesy of MIT.)

Throughout World War Two, MIT was crucial in the U.S. effort to develop military technology, leading to the development of some of the world’s first computers. As the country shifted from WW2 to a permanent war-time economy, the university continued to be a key research collaborator with the federal government. Today, nearly half of the school’s graduate students are enrolled in the School of Engineering, where about one-third of faculty members teach. There are almost 20 research centers on campus, ranging from ocean engineering to solider nanotechnologies. 

Tuition: 

  • Full-time: $51,520 per year

Other Rankings:

  • #1 in Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical Engineering 
  • #1 in Biomedical Engineering / Bioengineering 
  • #1 in Chemical Engineering

#2: Stanford University, School of Engineering

(Image courtesy of Stanford University.)

The School of Engineering at Stanford University is stocked with dozens of labs. Faculty, students and alumni have established thousands of companies. And, given the fact that the program laid the foundation for Silicon Valley, the school has a stated goal of enabling tech transfers to the area and beyond. Interestingly, in 2015, the school established a project dubbed “SoE-Future,” meant to guide how the program changes for the future. 

Tuition:

  • Full-time: $54,015 per year

Other Rankings:

  • #1 in Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical Engineering 
  • #2 in Environmental / Environmental Health Engineering 
  • #1 in Mechanical Engineering 

#3: University of California—Berkeley, The College of Engineering

Marvell Nanofabrication Lab

(Image courtesy of University of California, Berkeley and Noah Berger.)

At the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, students can either pursue the typical two-year master’s in engineering program or an accelerated course of studies that lasts just one year. The school boasts over 50 research centers and institutes, which might partially explain why it has produced co-founders and CEOs for companies like Apple, Google, Boeing and Intel.  

Tuition: 

  • Full-time: $11,442 per year (in-state) 
  • Full-time: $26,544 per year (out-of-state)

Other Rankings:

  • #1 in Civil Engineering 
  • #1 in Computer Engineering 
  • #1 in Environmental / Environmental Health Engineering 

#4: Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Institute of Technology

(Image courtesy of Carnegie Mellon.)

The Carnegie Institute of Technology features about 10 interdisciplinary majors that are tied to other departments on campus, such as the school of business, and include possibilities for global research in countries such as Chile, Japan and Portugal. The school also offers an accelerated master’s program that can be completed in only one year. Though the school is based in Pittsburgh, PA., it also has sites in Silicon Valley where students can study software engineering and software management. 

Tuition:

  • Full-time: $47,300 per year 
  • Part-time: $1,971 per credit

Other Rankings:

  • Ranked: #3 in Computer Engineering (tie)
  • #7 in Environmental / Environmental Health Engineering (tie)
  • #8 in Electrical / Electronic / Communications Engineering

#5: California Institute of Technology, Division of Engineering and Applied Science

CAST - spacecraft flight lab - from JPL Technology Highlights

(Image courtesy of CalTech.)

CalTech features a Division of Engineering and Applied Science and a chemical engineering program. For master’s programs, students can complete a master of science in a single year or aeronautical, civil, electrical or mechanical engineering master's degrees in two. The school has partnered with UCLA and USC to offer MDs and PhDs to students wishing to become medical scientists. 

Other Rankings:

  • #2 in Chemical Engineering (tie)
  • #3 in Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical Engineering
  • #4 in Mechanical Engineering

#6: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, College of Engineering 

(Image courtesy of University of Michigan.)
(Image courtesy of University of Michigan.)
The College of Engineering at the University of Michigan underscores project-based learning. The school is closely tied to its alumni, demonstrated by its Alumni Sharing Knowledge program, which allows alumni to mentor current students. The school also hosts an annual Engineering Graduate Symposium, where graduate students present their projects, listen to lectures and seek out faculty advisers. 


Tuition:

  • Full-time: $26,336 per year (in-state)
  • Full-time: $49,508 per year (out-of-state)
  • Part-time: $1,421 per credit (in-state)
  • Part-time: $2,708 per credit (out-of-state)

Other Rankings:

  • #1 in Nuclear Engineering
  • #2 in Industrial / Manufacturing / Systems Engineering
  • #3 in Environmental / Environmental Health Engineering 

#7: Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Engineering 

(Image courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology.)

The College of Engineering at Georgia Tech boasts nearly 20 specialties, ranging from aerospace engineering to medical physics. This includes dual programs linked to partner schools abroad, such as the Institut d’Electronique de Microelectronique et de Nanotechnologies in France and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Students are able to participate in co-ops and volunteer work in Atlanta and other areas. 

Tuition

  • Full-time: $13,788 per year (in-state)
  • Full-time: $28,568 per year (out-of-state) 
  • Part-time: $575 per credit (in-state)
  • Part-time: $1,191 per credit (out-of-state)

Other Rankings:

  • #1 in Industrial / Manufacturing / Systems Engineering
  • #4 in Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical Engineering 
  • #4 in Civil Engineering 

#8: Purdue University—West Lafayette, College of Engineering

(Image courtesy of Purdue University.)

With $165M in new engineering buildings since 2002, the College of Engineering at Purdue dates back to 1878. The school hosts 452 faculty and almost twelve and a half thousand students, 3,819 of which are graduate students. Though the program is ranked #8 in terms of engineering graduate programs, U.S. News & World Report ranked its online graduate program #5 among online graduate engineering programs. In 2015, the school added the Division of Ecological and Environmental Engineering at the MS and PhD levels. 

Tuition:

  • Full-time: $10,330 per year (in-state)
  • Full-time: $29,132 per year (out-of-state)
  • Part-time: $329 per credit (in-state)
  • Part-time: $929 per credit (out-of-state)

Other Rankings:

  • # 1 in Biological / Agricultural Engineering (tie)
  • #5 in Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical Engineering (tie)
  • #6 in Civil Engineering

#9: University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering

Image

(Image courtesy of USC.)

The USC School of Engineering was renamed when it received a $52-million donation by the co-founder of Qualcomm Inc., Andrew Viterbi. The school was key to the early development of the Internet via USC researcher Jonathan Postel, who was involved in the editing of the communications-protocol for its Department of Defense precursor, ARPANET. Among the program’s research centers are facilities dedicated to medical device development, biomimetic microelectronics, terrorism risk and economic analysis, systems and software engineering, high altitude flow, virtual reality and earthquake research. 

Tuition:

  • Full-time: $2,005 per credit
  • Part-time: $2,005 per credit

Other Rankings:

  • #8 in Petroleum Engineering

#10: University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign, Grainger College of Engineering

WaggleNet members work late at night solving high-priority problems at their station inside ECE Open Lab.

(Image courtesy of U of I.)

In 2009, the Grainger College of Engineering at University of Illinois was listed as the most-cited engineering institution globally. The program is known for pioneering work in such technologies as the transistor, LEDs and many modern electronics, as well as much of the Internet. This includes Illinois engineers playing a part in DSL broadband, Mosaic and Netscape web browsers and JavaScript. Students have gone on to establish such notable companies as Tesla, YouTube, Oracle, Tesla, PayPal and Yelp. 

Tuition

  • Full-time: $18,256 per year (in-state) 
  • Full-time: $34,330 per year (out-of-state)

Other Rankings:

  • #2 in Civil Engineering 
  • #3 in Computer Engineering 
  • #3 in Materials Engineering 

#11: Columbia University, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Artificial Intelligence Project

(Image courtesy of Columbia University. )

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (referred to as “SEAS”) at Columbia collaborates with other institutions such as NASA, MIT, IBM and The Earth Institute. Through its patents, the school is able to generate over $100 million every year for the university. Faculty and alumni have won a total of 10 Nobel Prizes. Among the technological developments tied to the school are the FM radio and the maser.

Tuition 

  • Full-time: $48,432 per year 
  • Part-time: $2,018 per credit

Ranked:

  • #10 in Biomedical Engineering / Bioengineering
  • #11 in Industrial / Manufacturing / Systems Engineering

#12: University of California—San Diego, Jacobs School of Engineering 

(Image courtesy of U.C. San Diego.)

The Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego maintains roughly 1,350 graduate students and six fields of academic study: Bioengineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanoengineering and Structural Engineering. In addition to masters of science, masters of engineering and PhD programs, students can earn a joint MD/MS through the UCSD School of Medicine. Among the program’s research centers are the Center for Wireless Communications and the Center for Energy Research.

Tuition 

  • Full-time: $11,442 per year (in-state)
  • Full-time: $26,544 per year (out-of-state)
  • Part-time: $5,721 per year (in-state)
  • Part-time: $7,551 per year (out-of-state)

Other Rankings:

  • #5 in Biomedical Engineering / Bioengineering (tie)

#13: University of Texas—Austin, Cockrell School of Engineering 

nascent lab

(Image courtesy of UT Austin.)

Notable faculty include: John B. Goodenough (recipient of 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for research leading to creation of lithium-ion battery), Robert Metcalfe (co-inventor of Ethernet) and Yale Patt (inventor of the WOS module, the first complex logic gate implemented on a single piece of silicon). The school boasts 18 research centers dedicated to such fields as advanced manufacturing, energy security, petroleum and geosystems, and wireless networking and communications. 

Tuition 

  • Full-time: $10,348 per year (in-state) 
  • Full-time: $18,942 per year (out-of-state)

Other Rankings:

  • #1 Petroleum Engineering 
  • #2 Civil Engineering 
  • #6 Environmental Engineering

#14: Cornell University, College of Engineering 

duffield

(Image courtesy of Cornell University.)

With a budget over $112 million, the College of Engineering at Cornell offers over 450 engineering courses. The school once hosted a Master of Nuclear Engineering program until the 1979 Three Mile Island incident led to its closure, though it continued to maintain a nuclear reactor on campus for research purposes. A leader in nanotechnology, Cornell’s engineering program ranked first in commercialization of the tech, second in terms of facilities and fourth in terms of research by Small Times in 2006. 

Tuition 

  • Full-time: $29,500 per year 
  • Part-time: $2,274 per credit

Other Rankings:

  • #3 in Biological / Agricultural Engineering 
  • #8 in Materials Engineering 
  • #8 in Mechanical Engineering

#15: Texas A&M University—College Station, College of Engineering 

undergraduate students cooperate in a lab with electrical equipment

(Image courtesy of Texas A&M.)

Texas A&M’s College of Engineering at College Station features programs in fields ranging from ocean engineering to aerospace, along with interdisciplinary studies including industrial distribution, safety engineering and health physics. The school partners with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station. 

Tuition 

  • Full-time: $273 per credit (in-state)
  • Full-time: $746 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Part-time: $273 per credit (in-state)
  • Part-time: $746 per credit (out-of-state)

Other Rankings:

  • #2 Petroleum Engineering
  • #5 Nuclear Engineering
  • #3 Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Many More Schools to Choose From

While a top-tier school isn't a necessity because a great, innovative engineer will be great and innovative wherever they go, it's still good to know what's out there. This list is a great place to start, and somewhere there will be the best place for every engineer looking to further their studies.

Interested in learning more about graduate engineering degrees?  Check out our Graduate Degree Finder Tool and discover your program!


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