Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Courses and Degrees in the USA

  • There is a vast array of mechanical engineering degrees and courses in the USA
  • Certain features/aspects of the programs are what sets the top courses apart from the others
  • A students personal preferences will also come into play when selecting the best program
  • The top 10 mechanical engineering programs in the USA can be compared using a number of numeric values, but the perfect program will always depend on the individual student

There is a plethora of options when it comes to obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering in the United States of America. It is very important however, to attend an educational institution that will benefit the student most and result in them receiving the best education possible. Any successful mechanical engineer is sure to have a solid foundation of knowledge before they can think of doing anything substantial in their careers.

Being aware of what the various schools can offer, will play a big part in deciding what school that student eventually attends. It is very important to know how to distinguish between the features/aspects of the school that will be beneficial, and which ones are not. The search is made slightly easier by the fact that any mechanical engineering student can focus their search on the best schools that offer the best programs in the USA.

What Makes a Beneficial Mechanical Engineering Program?

Certain aspects/factors affect whether a mechanical engineering program can be considered “high-quality”. An ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)-accredited program is one of the first things that should be verified about any prospective program, as this will drastically improve any students chances of being hired after they complete their degree. An ABET-accreditation means that the school/program has undergone a strict and detailed inspection of their respective program to make sure that they meet a certain set of standards, set by the ABET themselves.

An education from an ABET-accredited program can be trusted by everyone, students and employers alike, that a high quality education has been received. As a matter of fact, a lot of employers will restrict their search to only engineers that have attended ABET-accredited schools.

A student’s personal goals/preferences should not be overlooked when choosing a school or program that they are going to attend for at least the next 4 years of their life. As long as giving the student everything that they need on the educational side, it is important to ensure that they will get all of the support and help that they require throughout their studies.

The best engineering programs in the USA feature tutoring programs, which are aimed at helping students reach personal goals through internships and mentorship. This, along with access to some of the best research facilities in the country can definitely contribute to the overall experience for a student.

One of the most important factors that affect a program’s effectiveness is if the student actually likes the school and if they want to attend there. This is not to be underestimated or taken lightly as no matter how great the features of a program are, if the student is not happy at a school they will not succeed there. For example: if a student finds a great program that looks perfect for them, but it is on the other side of the country and they get home sick very easily, it might not be the best idea to attend that school.

With that being said, here are some of the best mechanical engineering programs in the USA that have been setting the standard for quality engineering education:

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private educational institution founded in 1891. It primarily focuses on engineering and science, and is based in Pasadena, California.

Caltech’s academic calendar is quarter-based, which means that it breaks the academic year into three quarters: fall, winter and spring, the fourth quarter is summer. Typical quarters last about 10 weeks, with students taking three classes per quarter. It also boasts an impressive 3:1 student to faculty ratio with 67.7% of its classes including less than 20 students.

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While it has many impressive undergraduate programs for engineers, some know Caltech for its top quality graduate programs in biology, chemistry, math and physics. It receives grants from industry giants such as NASA, the Department of Health and Human services, and many more. Many significant companies were founded by students attending Caltech, including Compaq, Hotmail and Intel. All of this exclusivity does come at a price, with their tuition and fees coming in at $54,600 for the 19/20 academic year.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is a private educational institution founded in 1900. Founded by the famous philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, it is based in Pittsburgh, and is known for its programs in science and technology. It includes seven different schools within it, featuring the College of Fine Arts among others.

Carnegie Mellon University utilizes a semester-based academic calendar, which means that the school year typically begins in late August and finishes in Early May. This is the system that 95% of USA educational institutions use.

All undergraduate engineering students have the option to participate in research and also have the opportunity to receive grants and summer internships/fellowships to support their research. Study abroad options, project based courses and the aforementioned independent research opportunities are some of the great benefits of studying mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

The student to faculty ratio here is 13:1, with 66.4% of classes including under 20 students.

Again, such a prestigious educational institution does not come cheap, at $57,119 for the 19/20 academic year.

Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University

Cornell University

Cornell University is a private educational institution founded in 1865. It is located in Ithaca, New York, and is known for its large undergraduate colleges that include the College of Arts and Science and its vast array of graduate schools that includes the College of Engineering.

The Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering offers both masters and doctoral programs, these offer a vast array of research opportunities, including working with space technology and the design of materials. As the school features Mechanical, Aerospace and Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, this gives a unique opportunity to students to branch out into the other disciplines while still completing their degree in mechanical engineering.

Cornell also runs a semester-based academic calendar, the student to faculty ratio is 9:1, with 56.8% of classes featuring under 20 students. Tuition fees for Cornell University come in at $57,222 for the 19/20 academic year.

Cornell University
Cornell University

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Georgia Institute of Technology is a public educational institution founded in 1885. It is based in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia and is known for its top quality graduate schools that include their College of Engineering.

The College of Engineering features 11 undergraduate majors, with the mechanical engineering (ME) degree being one of the largest and top-rated mechanical engineering courses in the USA, consistently ranked in the top 5. One of the main features of this degree is the combination of engineering fundamentals and basics and hands-on learning experience.

Georgia Tech’s runs a semester-based academic calendar, with a 21:1 student to faculty ratio and 45.3% of their classes have under 2 students. Tuition fees for the first public school on this list are $12,682 for in-state and $33,794 for out-of-state students, for the 19/20 academic year.

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private educational institution founded in 1861. It is located outside Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and focuses on scientific and technological research.

The mechanical engineering program at MIT focuses on analytical and creative methods, while still giving mechanical engineering students all of the skills they need to succeed. That means not only furthering their engineering experience with problem solving, design and communication education, but teaching their students to follow their own personal goals. This might include the normal route of working as a mechanical engineer or founding a company, following a path into research and development or even branching out to study business, medicine or law.

MIT has a 4-1-4 based academic calendar, which means that the fall and spring semesters are four months long, and the winter semester is known as a one month long “J Term”. They have an impressive 3:1 student to faculty ratio and 70.8% of its classes have less than 20 students. The tuition fees for a year at MIT will cost you $53,790.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Purdue University – West Lafayette

Purdue University – West Lafayette is a public educational institution founded in 1869. It is based in West Lafayette, Indiana and includes 13 schools and colleges, including the highly ranked College of Engineering.

The mechanical engineering program at Purdue University is known for being in the top five mechanical engineering programs in the USA. It features world-class facilities, and presents many co-op and internship opportunities. They also have many great relationships in various fields of engineering, giving their alumni a headstart in the respective fields of: automotive, aerospace, biomedical, manufacturing among many others. This focus towards career planning and the access to top quality academic and campus resources really makes Purdue University an attractive school for any prospective mechanical engineer.

Purdue University follows a semester-based academic calendar, with a 13:1 student to faculty ratio and 38.3% of their classes have less than 20 people in them. The tuition fees for Purdue University are as follows: $9,992 for in-state, and $28,794 for out-of-state tuition.

Purdue University - West Lafayette
Purdue University – West Lafayette

Stanford University

Stanford University is a private educational institution founded in 1885. Its pristine campus sits about 30 miles outside San Francisco, in California’s Bay Area, and includes seven schools, three of which are purely graduate schools. The well-renowned School of Engineering is one of these graduate schools and they participate in the Stanford Solar Car Project which creates and races a solar powered car bi-yearly.

The mechanical engineering department at Stanford University states that they have five major research themes: Biomedicine, Computational Engineering, Design and Muti-Scale Engineering. They also state that their approach to engineering education is to provide their students with a variety of experiences, be they practical and intellectual, in order to prepare them for either entry-level engineering work or graduate study in engineering. Stanford is known for their affiliations with various laboratories and centers which enables them to conduct specialized research, such as the BioMotion Research Laboratory.

Stanford University utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar, with a 5:1 student to faculty ratio and 68.8% of their classes featuring less than 20 students. A year of tuition at Stanford University will set you back $53,529.

Stanford University
Stanford University

University of California – Berkeley (U.C Berkeley)

University of California – Berkeley is a public educational institution founded in 1868. It is located overlooking the San Francisco Bay, in California. Its campus includes 14 separate schools and colleges, including the highly ranked College of Engineering.

The educational program at Berkeley is said to provide students with a strong foundation in engineering and science fundamentals, to prepare them for careers in laboratories, academia and government agencies.

Berkeley has some elite partnerships with companies that fund their research, including the National Science Foundation, governmental agencies and multiple companies from Silicon Valley. Due to this, Berkeley alumni has multiple career opportunities and job offers before they complete their studies. Some of the current research projects being undertaken at Berkeley at the moment include: computer mechanics, robotics, miniaturization, biomaterials among many others.

Berkeley follows a semester based academic calendar, with a 20:1 student to faculty ratio and 53% of their classes including less than 20 students. As it is a public institution, the tuition fees are as follows: $14,184 for in-state tuition and $43,176 out-of-state.

University of California - Berkeley (U.C Berkeley)
University of California – Berkeley (U.C Berkeley)

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor is a public educational institution founded in 1817. It is situated 30 minutes from Detroit, Michigan, and includes multiple top-ranked undergraduate and graduate schools including the College of Engineering.

The mechanical engineering program at University of Michigan does not only prepare mechanical engineers for their careers, but they encourage leaders and innovators to make an impact in the world. Their research includes bio and health systems, alternative energy and future transportation.

The pedigree is not in doubt at the University of Michigan as 100 of their graduate programs rank in the top 10 in the USA, with world-class experts in their field teaching students.

University of Michigan uses a trimester-based template for their academic calendar, which means that each semester is approximately 12-13 weeks long, and are broken up into fall, winter and spring. They have a 15:1 student to faculty ratio with 56.8% of their classes totalling less than 20 students. Tuition fees for the University of Michigan are $15,558 for in-state, and $51,200 for out-of-state students.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

University of Texas – Austin

University of Texas – Austin is a public educational institution founded in 1883. It is one of the largest schools in the USA, boasting 18 separate schools and colleges. The well-known Cockrell School of Engineering is where its prestigious mechanical engineering program is taught.

It is known for housing Nobel Prize winners, NAE members, entrepreneurs and successful inventors as their teaching staff. They have a focus on multidisciplinary learning, diversity and encouraging their mechanical engineering students to become leaders, as they will be coming from one of the best mechanical engineering departments in the world.

The facilities are state of the art, with a focus on collaboration between engineering and health care, a degree from the University of Texasis certainly gives its alumni extraordinary opportunities and career paths.

University of Texas utilizes a semesters based academic calendar, they have a 19:1 student to faculty ratio with 37.6% of all classes featuring less than 20 students. The tuition for the University of Texas will set you back $10,818 for in-state and $38,228 for out-of-state students.

University of Texas - Austin
University of Texas – Austin

Do you have a school or a mechanical engineering program to add to this list? Let us know with a comment down below!

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