At the top of just about every listing of top engineering colleges is MIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is recognized for its Engineering programs. MIT is situated in Cambridge, just over the Charles River from Boston. Even though it is surpassed by its Cambridge neighbor Harvard University in many overall college rankings, MIT beats its rival in relation to the engineering specialties.
Usually the one college to challenge MIT in many rankings is Stanford University in California. Stanford is situated in Silicon Valley and was the springboard college for a lot of top computer engineering focused businesses including Google.
California is especially strong in top engineering colleges. Together with Stanford, other highly ranked colleges include California Institute of Technology, California Polytechnic University and University of California, Berkeley.
Many rankings examine overall school strength instead of concentrating on engineering strength. Some which do provide engineering specific lists are the US News and World Report rankings, the QS World rankings and the THE World rankings.
One potential weakness for these rankings is they often give considerable weight to the publishing of papers and citations from faculty or graduate students, along with the strength in the graduate research programs that this infers. However for students seeking quality undergraduate programs these aren’t always the most effective indicators.
Students at some top colleges complain about having little access into teaching faculty as well as a failure to register for those classes they would like to do due to high student – faculty ratios. Certainly this isn’t the situation at all well-known schools – Cal Tech for instance features a student ratio of only 3:1, but at some bigger schools it may be a problem.
If you prefer a more intimate study environment or better accessibility to faculty – even when that faculty may very well be less vaunted, then colleges just like those who appear on the Engineering Colleges Headquarters ranking of smaller colleges could very well be a good fit for your situation.
These colleges don’t offer as many graduate programs but have quality undergraduate programs and terrific graduate outcomes. Colleges that fit in this category include Harvey Mud College and Rose-Holman Institute of Technology.
Another thing to consider with rankings such as these is that often even engineering specific lists don’t tell the whole story regarding specific areas of engineering. Although a school is strong in civil engineering doesn’t turn it into a top choice for biomedical engineering.
It is best to transcend the rankings to dig deeper, ask questions of admissions staff and current and past students, look at the campus to get a feel for it, bear in mind the costs and destination, and remember that you’ll be spending four years of your life at that college, so make sure it fits in more ways than merely its ranking.