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Best Mechanical Engineering Schools: The Top Colleges and Universities for Mechanical Engineering Programs

Mercy Ugonna Njoku - June 05, 2022


The best schools for mechanical engineering make your transition from student to professional seamless. These schools ensure both undergraduate students and graduate students build the in-demand skills they need to lead a wide range of technological innovations. If you’re ready to launch or grow your mechanical engineering career, let’s help you find your ideal school fit.

This article offers a curated list of the best mechanical engineering schools. It guides prospective mechanical engineering students through a list of top academic programs and provides factors to consider when deciding on the best fit for you. You’ll also discover the career paths awaiting graduates from the best mechanical engineering universities.

Best Mechanical Engineering College and University Rankings: Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Schools at a Glance

School State Formats Available US News Ranking
Boston University MA In-Person and Hybrid (Graduate) #42
Cornell University NY In-Person #17
Georgia Institute of Technology GA In-Person and Online (MS) #38
Massachusetts Institute of Technology MA In-Person #2
Northeastern University MA In-Person #49
Purdue University IN In-Person and Online (MS) #49
Rice University TX In-Person #17
Stanford University CA In-Person and Hybrid (MS) #6
University of Florida FL In-Person and Online (MS) #28
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI In-Person #23

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Mechanical Engineering School Rankings: Best Mechanical Engineering Colleges and Universities

The mechanical engineering program you attend has a significant impact on your career success. Your ideal school should offer you access to modern learning facilities, experienced instructors, and a market-led curriculum. Below are our top picks for the best mechanical engineering schools for undergraduate and graduate academic programs.

1

Boston University

Graduation Rate: 89%

Boston University was founded in 1839 with a mission to shape future leaders who are resourceful and reflective. This prestigious international research university offers over 300 academic programs, some of which include bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Its 33,600 students come from all 50 states in the United States and 130 countries worldwide.

Boston University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 20%
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #42
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 62nd (World); 42nd (US)

Best Boston University Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering . The BS in Mechanical Engineering is a four-year program that helps students build engineering problem-solving skills. This 135-credit program includes the completion of 48 credits in upper-division programs. Most of the courses come from STEM majors.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. This program is ideal for students who wish to get advanced training for careers in research and industrial development. This 32-credit program can be completed through a thesis or non-thesis track. Each track requires the completion of 12 credits in three focus areas in robotics, thermofluids, biomechanics, systems and controls, dynamics nanotechnology, and acoustics.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. In this program, post-bachelor’s candidates must complete 64 credits, 16 of which apply to research. Post-master’s students are required to complete 32 credits, eight of which are for the dissertation. Other requirements include a two-semester residency, two teaching practicum, a qualifying exam, and a final oral exam.

Boston University Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

Mechanical engineering students take part in indoor and outdoor computational, interdisciplinary, and experiential research projects that solve real-world problems.

2

Cornell University

Graduation Rate: 95%

Cornell University has learning centers and studios in New York, New Hampshire, Washington, Italy, and Qatar. Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White founded this elite private research university in 1865 with a mission to promote knowledge for the greater good. Its 25,582 students can access bachelor's, master’s, and PhD degrees through 16 colleges and schools.

Cornell University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #17
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 22nd (World); 11th (US)

Best Cornell University Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering . This in-person BS degree is a 127-credit program that can be completed in 32 classes spread out over four years. Students are required to earn a C-grade or higher in math, computer science, chemistry, physics, and engineering courses to satisfy the degree requirements.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering . Successful candidates for this two-year degree must complete 48 credits over four semesters. Through classroom training and 20 credits of research experience, students receive a terminal MS degree. To partake in this program, you should have an engineering or physical science bachelor’s degree and GRE test report.
  • Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering . This degree is ideal for students who wish to build greater competence in implementing research methodologies, industrial technology, and engineering design. This 30-credit program can be completed within a year. It covers areas in biomedical mechanics, thermal science, fluid dynamics, solid mechanics and materials, and nano-scale engineering.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering . Pursuing the Mechanical Engineering PhD in Ithaca implies a strong desire to lead research and industrial development. Enrolled students receive advanced training for careers in education, research and development, and advanced engineering design and analysis.

Cornell University Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

As part of approved electives, students can partake in co-ops, pre-med work, internships, and abroad-study.

3

Georgia Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate: 91%

Georgia Institute of Technology is a top technology school with its main campus in Atlanta. It was founded in 1885 by the Georgia state government to boost human conditions through science and technology. It serves over 40,000 students from across the US and 149 countries. There are over 130 academic degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

Georgia Institute of Technology Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 21%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #38
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 45th (World); 69th (US)

Best Georgia Institute of Technology Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering offers a mechanical engineering undergraduate program. This 129-credit program can be completed in four years. Some of the concentration areas in this program include automation and robotics, design, nuclear energy, and manufacturing.
  • Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering . Outstanding students with a GPA of 3.5 can apply to graduate school and partake in the BS/MS program in their sophomore year. There is no application fee attached to this admission, and students are advised to apply after earning 30 credit hours, six of which should be graduate-level courses.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering . This program is ideal for students with a background in mechanics, engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, or life sciences. The 30-credit program can be completed at the Atlanta campus or online in one or two years. Candidates interested in the thesis or non-thesis track should have a 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • Doctor of Philosophy with a Major in Mechanical Engineering . Candidates applying to this program should have a 3.3 GPA and proficiency in research. Enrolled students must complete 42 credit hours. You’ll also be required to dedicate three credit hours to a teaching practicum. Candidates may be required to complete a qualifying exam before they can take part in the program.

Georgia Institute of Technology Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

The department offers tutoring and workshops to enrolled mechanical engineering students as well as a wide range of other student services to enhance their learning experience.

4

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate: 96%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology was established in 1861 as a private institution. Its efforts in higher education, research, and technological innovations have enabled it to gain both national and global recognition. This elite institution is home to 11,934 students and 1,000 faculty members as of 2021. It has 30 departments, one college, and five schools.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #2
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 5th (World); 3rd (US)

Best Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. This degree is one of three undergraduate programs offered by the department. Students learn the fundamentals of engineering and the methods and techniques of engineering practice over ‌four years. This program requires the completion of 189-192 credits beyond the general education requirements.
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering . This 189-credit program is a combination of core courses, restrictive electives, and unrestricted electives. Aside from building strong foundational knowledge in mechanical engineering, you’ll gain applied engineering aspects of ocean science, exploration, and marine transportation. Students also take part in a hands-on capstone design program.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS) . To qualify for this graduate program, you must have completed coursework in applied mechanics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, control systems, and design, as well as be familiar with electrical circuits and electromagnetic field theory. This 72-credit program requires the completion of an original research thesis.
  • Mechanical Engineer’s Degree . This is a professional degree that requires the completion of an academic year beyond a master’s program. Students must complete 162 credit hours of advanced coursework, which includes credits earned in a master’s program. A mechanical engineering examination and an applications-based thesis are also required.
  • Doctor of Science or Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering . This program focuses on research, engineering design, and development through the completion of an original thesis. Candidates must first pass a qualifying exam before partaking in this advanced program. Enrolled students must meet the 144 graduate-level credits requirement.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

The diversity of the department’s program offerings creates more opportunities for students to engage in substantial research projects.

5

Northeastern University

Graduation Rate: 90%

Northeastern University is an experiential learning and top-tier research institution founded in 1898. It has 11 locations spread across the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. It has an enrollment of 22,314 undergraduate students and 19,523 graduate students. There are 110 single academic majors and 208 combined majors.

Northeastern University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 20%
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #49
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 168th (World); 86th (US)

Best Northeastern University Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering . This 140-credit degree focuses on four engineering areas in applied mechanics, materials science, thermofluids engineering, and controls. These courses form the basis of the two-semester capstone design project. Enrolled students can also take part in the two cooperative education programs spread across four years.
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Design . This degree helps students gain strong knowledge of mechanical engineering fundamentals while developing skills in design methodologies, design thinking, and design practice through interdisciplinary courses. Students are required to complete 139 credit hours in four years.
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and History . This undergraduate program, in addition to building a solid foundation in mechanical engineering, helps students build an in-depth understanding of the political, economic, and cultural factors that affect the development and deployment of technologies. Students must complete 141 credit hours.
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Physics . This 139-credit combined major in mechanical engineering and physics helps students apply creativity, quantitative analysis, and engineering principles to solve engineering problems. It also allows students to gain an intellectual depth of the mathematical fundamentals and natural phenomena of engineering principles.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering . Enrolled students can choose to pursue a focused mechanical engineering curriculum or pick a concentration in mechanics and design, materials science and engineering, thermofluids engineering, and mechatronics. Students will complete thesis research or advanced practice.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering . This degree is awarded to students who have completed advanced coursework and original independent research. To qualify for this degree program, you must pass a doctoral qualifying examination, either as a direct entry applicant or an advanced entry applicant. This 40-credit program requires the completion of two dissertations, two graduate traineeships, and a 3.0 GPA.

Northeastern University Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

The Cooperative Education program offered by the school enables students to build real-world experience in up to six months.

6

Purdue University

Graduation Rate: 83%

Purdue University is a leader in math, engineering, technology, and scientific discoveries. John Purdue founded this land-grant public university in 1869 in West Lafayette. There are 377 buildings. Nearly 42 percent of its 41,000 enrolled students are females, and 12.8 percent are international students from 130 countries. Purdue University offers 6,700 courses and 200 specializations.

Purdue University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #49
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 105th (World); 48th (US)

Best Purdue University Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering . This AS degree is a 60-credit program. It covers core courses in applied statics, material processes, engineering technology foundations, and applications. To fulfill the degree requirement, students should earn a 2.0 in four semesters, over the two years.
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering . This degree is founded in core areas such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, and computer science. Students are required to complete core stems in thermal-fluid sciences, mechanical sciences, and information technologies. This 129-credit program allows students to take part in extensive laboratory exercises and computer experience.
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology . This four-semester degree program focuses on areas such as the methods, machinery, and manpower needed for effective operation in manufacturing. This 120-credit program covers core areas in advanced material processes, product realization, and sustainable energy.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering . This online or on-campus degree has concentrations in interdisciplinary sciences and engineering, computational engineering, and manufacturing engineering. Students can choose between a 21-credit thesis program, which requires the completion of nine hours of research work, or a non-thesis program, which requires 30 credit hours, six of which go toward an independent project.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering . This 90-credit PhD offers three core concentrations in interdisciplinary ecological science and engineering, biomedical engineering, and computational engineering. For those with a related MS degree, 21 credits of coursework and research are required. Those without a graduate degree complete 36 credit hours of research and coursework.

Purdue University Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

Enrolled students, including first-year students, partake in real-world projects through the college's elite industrial, alumni, and government partners.

7

Rice University

Graduation Rate: 94%

Rice University is a globally recognized research institution dedicated to producing the next generation of leaders through innovative collaboration and education. William Marsh Rice chartered it in 1891. It offers over 50 academic majors through six school divisions. Aside from having impressive student facilities, Rice University maintains a six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio.

Rice University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #17
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 136th (World); 18th (US)

Best Rice University Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. This program helps students build competence in identifying and solving complex engineering problems through the application of engineering design and engineering principles. Students are required to complete 127 credit hours in three to five years. They may also declare a major in computational engineering, mechanics/dynamics, or thermal fluids.
  • Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Mechanical Engineering . This BA degree is less technical and more flexible than the BS program. This non-ABET degree requires the completion of 120 credits in eight semesters, 64 of which apply to the mechanical engineering major. Students are not required to complete laboratory courses and can pursue specializations outside the engineering department.
  • Combined Master of Mechanical Engineering (MME)/Master of Business Administration (MBA). The non-thesis MME and coordinated MBA program offer two degrees through a minimum of 69 credit hours of approved coursework. The School of Engineering requires that 30 credits go toward the mechanical engineering degree.
  • Master of Mechanical Engineering (MME) . This non-thesis degree requires the completion of 30 credit hours at the 500-level. It requires a minimum of 24 credits of traditional courses and may include lecture, seminar, and laboratory experience. Students can choose to specialize in aerospace engineering or mechanical engineering.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering . This degree helps students build advanced technical and research skills for roles in governmental and industrial organizations. It requires the completion of 30 credits, which includes a thesis research workshop in the fifth year or above. The six credits in research may take the form of analytical, experimental, or numeric analysis.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering . This PhD allows you to build mastery in a mechanical engineering specialization. Students must complete this degree in five years. Students may be allowed to complete the qualifying exam at the end of their third semester and the candidacy evaluation at the end of the ninth semester. This 90-credit program also requires the completion of original research work.

Rice University Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

Rice University recognizes students who have shown academic excellence in the degree program through its Latin Honor and Distinction in Research and Creative Work Honor.

8

Stanford University

Graduation Rate: 95%

Stanford University is an elite private university dedicated to research and advanced education. Founders Jane and Leland Stanford established Leland Stanford Junior University in 1885 in honor of their son who died of typhoid. Stanford has a faculty size of 2,288 and a student size of 16,937. There are 69 undergraduate majors and almost 200 graduate fields of study across its seven schools.

Stanford University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 5%
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #6
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 4th (World); 2nd (US)

Best Stanford University Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. This degree provides a technical foundation for entry-level jobs in biomedical engineering, ocean engineering, and transportation. A minimum of 68 credits including engineering fundamentals, engineering core, mathematics, and science are required. Another 18 credits in concentrations in thermofluid and heat transfer, product realization, and dynamic systems and controls are required.
  • Coterminal Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. This degree allows students to complete an MA or MS degree alongside a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. Within five or six years, students are required to complete 45 credit units outside the undergraduate degree requirements, spread across four quarters.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. The MS degree is for students who wish to launch careers as professionals with advanced skills in engineering applications. While no research thesis is required, students can partake in a six-credit research project during their final year. This 45-credit program is spread over six academic quarters, a total of one-and-a-half years.
  • Degree of Engineer in Mechanical Engineering. This professional engineer program demands an additional year beyond the MS student’s completion of a research thesis. The 27 credits in math, engineering, and science coursework are subject to the approval of your academic advisor. You also need to complete 18 credits of thesis work and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. This PhD is ideal for students who wish to build advanced knowledge and hands-on experience in research and technological development. This degree is administered over four quarters in each academic year. Enrolled students may complete 27 additional credit units, beyond those completed in a master’s program. The research thesis may span a full year.

Stanford University Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

An eight-week, fully funded research-oriented Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) is offered to motivated undergraduate students who are interested in graduate school.

9

University of Florida

Graduation Rate: 89%

University of Florida is among the nation’s top public research institutions. It was founded in 1853. The University of Florida has a total enrollment of 53,372 students and 5,371 full-time faculty. It offers over 200 academic programs through its 17 colleges. It holds national recognition as a leader in online bachelor's degree programs.

University of Florida Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 31%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #28
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 154th (World); 54th (US)

Best University of Florida Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. The undergraduate major in mechanical engineering is a 128-credit program that provides a solid foundation in science, mathematics, and basic engineering. Students are required to maintain at least a C grade in core courses such as statics, dynamics, and mechanics of materials during the eight-semester period.
  • Dual Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. This pathway is for those interested in earning dual degrees in both fields. With an extra nine hours, students may fulfill the degree requirements for both programs. However, candidates must first have 45 to 96 completed hours of coursework before applying. The entirety of this 140-credit program can be completed in nine semesters.
  • Combined BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering. The combined BS/MS program is an ideal pathway for students who wish to boost their earning potential and industry leverage within a shorter period. To qualify for this program, you need a 3.33 GPA and a B grade in the nine graduate courses completed in an undergraduate study. During the extra year, you may be required to complete 30 credits toward the MS degree.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. This MS degree is a 30-credit program that includes the completion of 24 credits of graded coursework and six credits of a research thesis. If you choose to follow the non-thesis track, you must complete 18 credits in the mechanical engineering major. Students must complete a minimum of three core courses in both the fall and spring semesters.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering . PhD candidates may complete a qualifying exam in the first year of graduate study. All graduate students may build their programs around an area of specialization. This 90-credit program includes the completion of 30 hours of residency and a final dissertation.

University of Florida Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

Students ‌may partake in sponsored research programs with the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.

10

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Graduation Rate: 93%

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is one of three campuses of the University of Michigan. It has gained global recognition as a leader in research and innovation. It was founded in 1817. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor has an undergraduate student population of 32,282 and a graduate enrollment of 15,377 as of 2021. It offers 250 degree programs through its 19 schools and colleges.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 26%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #23
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 24th (World); 24th (US)

Best University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Mechanical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. This degree requires the completion of 128 credit hours. To major in mechanical engineering, students must first complete a full term in the College of Engineering and earn a C grade in each course taken. Students are also required to complete 32 credits in non-engineering coursework, 16 credits in the intellectual breadth, and 45 credits in core ME courses.
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Research areas in this program include micro/nano-engineering, controls, biomechanics and bio-systems, and thermal sciences. Students can also choose one of three 30-credit program pathways, such as coursework only, coursework with a thesis, and coursework with individual research projects.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. This 46-credit PhD program prepares students for leadership roles in academia and engineering. The milestones in this degree include the completion of research and coursework, a qualifying exam, dissertation proposal, thesis dissertation, and oral defense.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Mechanical Engineering Key Takeaway

You’ll be given the option of working alongside a world-renowned faculty right from the start. You can also optimize the study abroad opportunities to broaden your knowledge.

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The Best Schools for Mechanical Engineering: Types of College Degrees and University Programs Offered

If you’ve yet to earn your college degree and you’re wondering what academic program options are accessible to prospective mechanical engineers, the section below explores various types of degrees and certificates you can earn in the field.

1

Mechanical Engineering Community College Certificate

This is an academic document that is offered to students who have completed the course requirements for a specific study area in mechanical engineering. Community college certificate programs in this field usually take three to 12 months to complete.

During this period, the student builds the foundational knowledge of the application of select engineering methods or technologies. Community colleges use this certificate to prepare students for a degree program in mechanical engineering or help enrolled students decide on a mechanical engineering career path through hands-on application.

2

Mechanical Engineering Associate Degree

A mechanical engineering associate degree is an undergraduate-level degree that prepares students for immediate career launch or academic advancement. The courses here focus on core mechanical engineering concepts. This associate degree usually spans two years, during which students complete an average of 60 credits in math, engineering, and science-based courses.

3

Mechanical Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering is an academic degree awarded to students who have fulfilled the undergraduate requirement in an accredited mechanical engineering program. This degree implies the graduate has a strong foundation in mechanical design and systems, engineering applications, analysis, and methods.

As a bachelor’s degree holder, you can secure entry-level mechanical engineering roles or ‌pursue advanced degrees in related fields. A bachelor’s program in mechanical engineering usually spans three to four years. It also requires the completion of an average of 120 to 129 credits in six to nine semesters.

4

Mechanical Engineering Master’s Degree

A mechanical engineering master’s degree is a postgraduate degree offered to mechanical engineering students who have fulfilled the degree requirement for an advanced study in mechanical engineering. This master’s degree usually requires supervised or independent project work and may include research credits if the student is enrolled in a thesis track.

It usually spans one to two years, during which the student will deepen their knowledge of engineering applications, research exploration, and technological innovation. You may be required to complete an average of 30 to 45 credits in core areas such as automotive engineering, manufacturing, biomedical engineering, and robotics in four semesters.

5

Mechanical Engineering Graduate Certificate

A mechanical engineering graduate certificate is a postgraduate credential offered to students who have completed graduate-level units through a mechanical engineering specialization. Unlike a master’s degree program, which requires broad coverage of core research areas, a graduate certificate allows you to build expertise in one specialization.

It is usually completed in a year of study and requires the completion of an average of 15 credits in graduate levels courses within a particular ‌specialization.

6

Mechanical Engineering Doctorate

A mechanical engineering doctorate is the highest academic qualification for mechanical engineers. This degree program is for graduates of mechanical engineering bachelor’s or master’s programs. It focuses on in-depth research and produces candidates who will lead scientific discoveries and innovations in academia and industry.

A doctoral degree usually spans four to five years depending on the flexibility of the program schedule. During this period the student is required to complete an average of 80 to 90 credits through eight to nine semesters dedicated to original research, laboratory exercises, seminars, examinations, and oral defense.

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Best Mechanical Engineering Schools: Other Mechanical Engineering University Rankings

The list below highlights the best mechanical engineering schools for students seeking alternative ways to earn their mechanical engineering degree. We designed the mechanical engineering university rankings to emphasize the unique program offerings at each selected school.

Best Online Mechanical Engineering Schools

  1. Old Dominion University. Old Dominion University is a public research institution ‌in Norfolk, Virginia. It’s known for its efforts in the online learning space. There are over 100 online undergraduate and graduate programs available to students, including a BS completion program in mechanical engineering technology, and an MS in mechanical engineering. It’s also easy to transfer credits to its programs.
  2. University of Alabama. University of Alabama ensures students can achieve their goals of working in research and development in a wide range of industries through its primarily online mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree and fully online master’s and PhD degrees. Online students have access to lower tuition costs, scholarships, and financial aid.
  3. University of North Dakota (UND). UND offers mechanical engineering bachelor’s degrees, combined ME BS/MS/MEng degrees, and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering entirely remotely. Besides a flexible and self-paced curriculum, UND Online offers affordable tuition rates, online tutoring services, tech support, writing aid, and career advice to enrolled students.

Best Community Colleges for Mechanical Engineering

  1. Columbia State Community College. This school’s Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering is a transfer pathway program that allows you to transfer your college credits to a public or private school in Tennessee. This program requires the completion of 67 credits in four semesters, over a two-year period.
  2. Glendale Community College. The Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering is a 37-credit program that prepares students for transfer to a four-year college. Students complete foundational courses in engineering graphics, engineering design, dynamics, programming, and material science and engineering.
  3. Midlands Technical College. This mechanical engineering associate degree is a transfer-oriented program that equips students with the fundamental knowledge of mechanical engineering systems. The program requires 77 credits completed in five semesters. Courses cover two years of a typical bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Best Undergraduate Schools for Mechanical Engineering

  1. Georgia Institute of Technology. The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering is a 129-credit program that can be completed over four years. This degree offers alternative concentrations in areas such as automotive, design, manufacturing, and micro/nano-engineering. Students can also take part in research, international study, or cooperative programs.
  2. Purdue University. The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering is a 129-credit program that enables students to build engineering foundational skills, professional skills, and emerging skills for innovative leadership. Aside from adequate scholarship awards, Purdue University offers affordable tuition rates, honors programs, and study abroad programs to enrolled students.
  3. University of California, Berkeley. Although the University of California has a global image as a notable university due to its academic and research exploits, it is still an affordable university. This public research university offers an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. The program comprises 120 to 130 credits that can be completed as a single, joint, major, or minor degree.

Best Graduate Schools for Mechanical Engineering

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT offers nine graduate programs in the mechanical engineering department. You have the option of pursuing a single Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering or a combined degree with the Sloan School of Management. You can also pursue a professional degree or a Doctoral Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
  2. Stanford University. Stanford University is a leader in mechanical engineering graduate programs. Candidates are offered the opportunity to complete a focused mechanical engineering master’s degree or specialize in lucrative areas such as biomedical engineering and design impact, online or on campus.
  3. University of Michigan. Students can further their education in a research-oriented environment through its mechanical engineering graduate programs. The doctoral program offers students the opportunity to fund their degree and the master’s programs offer options for combined degree pathways, within and outside the department.

Best Mechanical Engineering Schools With Dual Degree Programs

  1. The University of Delaware | MBA + Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. This degree pathway prepares students to take on managerial roles in the engineering industry right out of school. To enroll in this 67-credit program, your application has to first be accepted by the engineering department. However, it doesn’t include engineering research.
  2. University of Houston | Dual MS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The dual program in mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering is an opportunity for students to gain diverse knowledge in related fields within a shorter time frame. This 45-credit program can be completed through a thesis or a non-thesis track.
  3. University of Nebraska | Double Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Engineering. This dual degree allows you to complete a master’s program in mechanical engineering degree in the US and a master’s program in material science in France over two years. Each of the four semesters offers a minimum of 30 credits. It also offers an opportunity for students to engage in an internship abroad.

Best Schools With Accelerated Mechanical Engineering Programs

  1. Arizona State University | 4 + 1 Accelerated Program in Mechanical Engineering (BSE-ME). This thesis or non-thesis program allows distinguished undergraduate students to obtain their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. Candidates need to complete 12 graduate credits in their senior year before applying to the program or be in the process of completing 90 credits on a 3.5 GPA in this discipline.
  2. Stony Brook University | BE/MS Accelerated Program. This program allows undergraduate students to transfer graduate-level credits, taken in their undergraduate program, to an MS degree in mechanical engineering. This shortens the program time to one year. During the two semesters in the master’s program, students may complete 24 credits to fulfill their degree requirements.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison | Mechanical Engineering: Accelerated Program, MS The accelerated program can be completed in one academic year through the completion of 30 credits in three semesters. This program requires only coursework, and students may be assigned to faculty members for mentoring.

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Is Graduate School for Mechanical Engineering Worth It?

Yes, graduate school for mechanical engineering is worth it. You’ll gain advanced knowledge in identifying, designing, and implementing engineering solutions to real-world problems. A graduate program in mechanical engineering offers more opportunities for students to collaborate on research and development projects with industry partners.

While some argue that this degree isn’t necessary to secure a job in the engineering field, it does lead to a substantial increase in your earning potential and more career options. You can also specialize in top fields like robotics, automotive engineering design, and biomedical engineering, which was listed among master’s degrees with the best job prospects in the US by Statista.

What Jobs Can You Do With a Mechanical Engineering Degree?

A graduate celebrating outside a university building. 
A mechanical engineering degree opens up opportunities for engaging and rewarding career endeavors in a wide range of industries.

The jobs you can do with a mechanical engineering degree include mechanical engineer, automotive engineer, manufacturing engineer, biomedical engineer, materials engineer, marine engineer, and robotics engineer.

The career opportunities available to you depend on ‌your degree emphasis. Most schools offer research programs and academic specializations in a variety of fields to enable students to build expertise and expand their career options. The best schools for mechanical engineering also offer internships, cooperative programs, and job placement services to students.

How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Mechanical Engineering?

You can earn between $70,000 and $110,000 a year with a degree in mechanical engineering. This will depend on the level of degree, your geographical location, your organizational affiliations, professional experience, and your employer.

According to PayScale, you can earn an average of $70,000 with an Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering. If you have a mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree, you could earn an average annual salary of $82,000 . A Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering can afford you an average salary of $87,000 , while a doctorate degree can earn you an average of $110,000 per year .

Highest-Paying Mechanical Engineering Careers

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Engineering Manager Bachelor’s Degree $152,350
Aerospace Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $122,270
Sales Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $103,710
Materials Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $98,300
Biomedical Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $97,410
Industrial Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $95,300
Mechanical Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $95,300
Marine Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $93,370
Mechanical Engineering Technologist Associate Degree $60,460
Drafter Associate Degree $60,290

Best Jobs With a Mechanical Engineering Degree

The best jobs with a mechanical engineering degree are jobs that allow you to identify problems, and design and apply innovative solutions to them. The jobs available to you depend on your mechanical engineering degree level. Below are jobs you can access with the different academic degrees in this field.

1

Best Mechanical Engineering Associate Degree Jobs

The jobs available to mechanical engineering associate degree holders are jobs that allow them to provide technical support services to top-level professionals in the field, or jobs that require expertise in handling engineering tools. Below are some top-paying jobs for mechanical engineering associate degree graduates.

Top Mechanical Engineering Careers With an Associate Degree

2

Best Mechanical Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Jobs

The best mechanical engineering jobs for bachelor’s degree holders require a solid knowledge of engineering principles and applications. These jobs require the individual to independently or collaboratively find solutions to complex engineering problems through research and practical applications of technological methods and techniques.

Top Mechanical Engineering Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree

3

Best Mechanical Engineering Master’s Degree Jobs

Mechanical engineering master’s students ‌build advanced knowledge in several in-demand subfields in mechanical engineering. The concentrations in most master’s programs allow students to narrow their career paths to specific areas in which they can build expertise. Some of the highest-paying careers for master’s degree graduates in this field are listed below.

Top Mechanical Engineering Careers With a Master’s Degree

4

Best Mechanical Engineering Doctorate Jobs

A doctoral degree prepares you for leadership roles in academia and the mechanical engineering industry. You can apply your advanced research and development skills to a wide range of technological, medical, and environmental roles, especially those listed below.

Top Mechanical Engineering Careers With a PhD

5

Best Internships for Mechanical Engineering Students

Research and technology development companies offer most the internship opportunities to mechanical engineering students and graduates in the United States. You'll easily find annual internships during fall, spring, and summer.

In most instances, you can access mechanical engineering internships through your school or program’s website. If not, you can apply through a third-party job site or through the company's internship page.

Top Mechanical Engineering Internships

How Can I Pay for Mechanical Engineering School?

You can pay for mechanical engineering school by applying for scholarships, government grants, or private loans. Below are some of the best ways to fund your mechanical engineering degree, regardless of your degree level.

  • Scholarships. A scholarship is a financial award given to students who meet predefined criteria and are usually based on academic performance, financial need, or minority affiliations. Schools, prominent individuals, and corporations usually offer scholarships between $500 and $50,000 that can help you cover your education.
  • Grants. The US government, nonprofit organizations, and colleges usually offer tuition grants to students enrolled in academic and career programs. These grants do not have to be repaid by the student as long as the student adheres to the funding agreements. In most cases, grants are offered to students who have financial needs or are embarking on research projects.
  • Student loans. Student loans are repayable funds made available to college students to pay for their tuition and other college fees. Private individuals, financial institutions, and the government usually offer student loans to students at fixed interest rates. Some of the popular private loan providers with good interest rates include Sallie Mae, Ascent, Earnest, and College Ave.
  • Work-study. If none of the other options appeal to you, you can work and study. Depending on your program level, you can apply for research assistantships in your department. You can also enroll in an online or part-time program so you can work outside of school.

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Choosing the Best Mechanical Engineering School for You

To choose the best mechanical engineering school for you, ‌consider your tuition funding options, your preferred learning format, whether it is an ABET-accredited program, and your ability to build a social life there. We have listed other factors to review below.

Opportunities for Continuing Education

Before deciding on a program, ‌review the ‌mechanical engineering programs offered. If you’re hoping to build advanced knowledge, ensure the school offers graduate degree programs in addition to an undergraduate program. If not, ensure you can transfer your credits to a college with a relevant mechanical engineering program and a good academic reputation.

Your ideal program should also offer opportunities to speed up your study or broaden your expertise through accelerated degree programs and dual majors. Be sure to review the credits of study and semester schedule when deciding what schools to apply to.

Career Goals

Your career goals should factor into your college decision. Aside from knowing you want to study mechanical engineering, you should ‌also consider the program’s specialization pathways. Weigh the curriculum against market demands and your career interests. You’ll find information about the school’s employment outcomes and the internship or research opportunities available to students on the program’s page.

Student Services

Availability of adequate student services can boost your learning experience and ensure a well-rounded campus life. Ensure that your program has an active tutoring center or that you’ll be assigned a dedicated coach as soon as you’re enrolled in the program. If you’re a busy professional, ensure the program schedule is flexible or self-paced.

You should always consider the size of its student body and ease of access to faculty and instructors. You can check the school’s website for news on financial aid, learning facilities and centers, and disability services.

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Does It Matter What College I Go to for Mechanical Engineering?

Yes, it does matter what college you go to for mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering is a very competitive discipline that requires expert instruction and guidance. Enrolling in top-ranking schools allows you to take advantage of an experienced faculty, research opportunities, student services, and career centers.

These nationally high-ranking schools have international exposure and elite industry partnerships that can boost their professional leverage. Most employers prioritize students from these schools, thus increasing your chances of securing employment after graduation.

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Mechanical Engineering University Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Schools for Mechanical Engineering

We ranked the best mechanical engineering schools by consulting the university rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education. To further refine our mechanical engineering university ranking methodology, we gave special consideration to things like reputation, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and breadth and depth of mechanical engineering degree program offerings.

Additional Reading About Mechanical Engineering

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Best Mechanical Engineering Schools FAQ

Is there a demand for mechanical engineers?

Yes, there is a demand for mechanical engineers in the United States. Mechanical engineers lead most of the technological and engineering innovations humans enjoy. These professionals can apply their skills to a wide range of career paths, including careers in finance, agriculture, space engineering, and healthcare.

Are mechanical engineers happy?

Yes, mechanical engineers are happy with their careers. Aside from a high salary average, mechanical engineers receive bonuses, commissions, and health benefits as compensation from their employers. They also have opportunities for growth and career exploration. If you choose to pursue this degree, you’ll work on both engaging and rewarding projects.

Is it hard to get a mechanical engineering job?

No, it is not hard to get a mechanical engineering job. It is true that the mechanical engineering job market is very competitive, but the demand for qualified mechanical engineers has yet to dwindle. As a graduate of an ABET-accredited program and school, you can secure jobs with top-paying companies, governments, nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions.

Is mechanical engineering the most difficult?

No, mechanical engineering is not the most difficult discipline. While most people may consider mechanical engineering a challenging discipline, it is not an impossible one. Students with adequate critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills may find this discipline to be both engaging and rewarding. Regardless, most schools offer tutoring services to enrolled students to boost their learning experience.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Mercy Ugonna Njoku

About the author: Mercy, a certified Executive Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, has a background in accounting and is a veteran content writer who holds a BSc in Business Management from Abia State University. In her writing, Mercy helps people navigate unfamiliar and complex situations in their professional lives so they can thrive. Her hobbies include drawing, working on startup projects, and engaging in discussions.

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