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By Laurie Jo Miller Farr

Determining the ranking of the top five engineering schools in America is a tricky business, considering there are several fields of engineering: aeronautical; chemical; civil and structural; electrical and electronic; manufacturing and production; mechanical; mineral and mining; management; and general. Reliable sources such as US News, Times Higher Education, and QS Top Universities, produce different results and will also take both undergraduate and graduate schools into consideration. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge is consistently ranked in the world’s top five engineering schools, with some experts placing it in the No. 1 position. Founded in 1861, MIT is best known for its outstanding science and technology. Organized into five schools (architecture and planning; engineering; humanities, arts, and social sciences; management; and science), there are approximately 11,000 students and 1,000 members of the faculty at the school’s 168-acre campus along the Charles River.    

Stanford University

In the heart of Silicon Valley 35 miles south of San Francisco, Stanford University is spread across one of the world’s largest campuses with more than 8,100 acres in Palo Alto, California. Known as a hotbed of groundbreaking innovation and ground zero for the tech startup scene, founders of companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Google, Intuit, Logitech, Sun Microsystems, and SpaceX are associated with Stanford. The school, founded in 1885, has seven schools including engineering: graduate business; graduate education; earth, energy, and environmental sciences; humanities and sciences; medicine; and law. The entire student body numbers approximately 16,000 supported by about 2,200 faculty members. 

Harvard University

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, America’s oldest institution of higher education is just one mile down the road from MIT. The John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences offers undergraduate engineering-related tracks for gaining a degree in the biomedical, computer science, mechanical, and electrical field. Graduate students pursue additional areas of concentration in engineering. An ivy league school, Harvard University is made up of 11 principal academic schools for a student body numbering about 21,000 who have access to the world’s largest academic library. 

California Institute of Technology

Caltech is home to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (owned by NASA), the Caltech Seismological Laboratory, and the International Observatory Network.  The school’s Division of Engineering and Applied Science is organized into seven major fields: aerospace, medical engineering; applied physics and materials science; computing and mathematical sciences; electrical engineering; environmental science and engineering; and mechanical and civil engineering. The California Institute of Technology’s 124-acre campus for 2,200 students and 1,000 faculty members is located 11 miles outside of downtown Los Angeles in Pasadena, California. The university is one of America’s best known for its strength on technology and engineering research and education.

   
University of California at Berkeley

Founded in 1868, UCB is the only public school in the top five engineering colleges in America. Flagship of the University of California system, UC Berkeley is home to famous research institutes: Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and Space Sciences Laboratory. Impressively, faculty member J. R. Oppenheimer led the covert Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bomb. Also, Nobel Laureate Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron, leading to the discovery of 16 chemical elements of the periodic table. The large but highly selective School of Engineering has 3,200 undergraduates with 228 academic staff at the school’s 1,232 acres across the bay from San Francisco.   

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