Top 10 Engineering Schools in North America 2023

September 22, 2023

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Schools in the USA dominate North American engineering schools

Engineering is a diverse field that includes many specialties, including chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and more. Some states will require a bachelor’s degree in engineering without exception as a prerequisite for the PE licensing exam, while others may accept related degrees or appropriate experience. It is also a great starting point for anyone looking to get a graduate degree in one of the many engineering specialties. 

If you are interested in pursuing an engineering degree in North America, there are plenty of options. We have taken a deeper look at the top 10 universities offering engineering programs as reported by the Times Higher Education, a university ranking system that weights scientific output more heavily than some other rank websites available1, a factor we feel is important to individuals who are hoping to pursue additional degrees or an academic career.

NA Rank

University

Country

1

Harvard University

USA

2

Stanford University

USA

3

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

USA

4

California Institute of Technology

USA

5

Princeton University

USA

6

UC Berkeley

USA

7

Yale University

USA

8

Columbia University

USA

9

University of Pennsylvania

USA

10

Johns Hopkins University

USA

If you break this list down by specialty (e.g., chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.), the ranks will shift a little, with some universities falling just below the list and others appearing, but it generally stays similar. If you’re looking for a university that puts out a lot of engineering publications, we’ve looked at THE’s top 10 engineering universities in North America, as well as how the top ten universities by engineering publications fare on THE’s top North American engineering universities.

NA Rank

University

Engineering Publications

1

Harvard University

136521

2

Stanford University

148856

3

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

149577

4

California Institute of Technology

70338

5

Princeton University

72055

6

UC Berkeley

146699

7

Yale University

72841

8

Columbia University

90460

9

University of Pennsylvania

84646

10

Johns Hopkins University

80480

University

Engineering Publications

NA Rank

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

149577

3

Stanford University

148856

2

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

147568

15

University of California - Berkeley

146699

6

Harvard University

136521

1

University of Toronto

128334

12

University of Illinois - Urbana

122905

25

Penn State

121747

56

University of Washington - Seattle

112134

19

University of Wisconsin - Madison

103030

36

Publication data is based on data available through OpenAlex, which provides reports of documents published from 2010–2020.

Funding is also an important factor if you’re looking to become a postdoctoral researcher, or graduate student, or you think you’d like to participate in research as an undergraduate student. Options for graduate students usually include applying to national or institution-based fellowships (check out Peeref’s Funding database to see what’s available in your field) or relying on an assistantship from the student’s chosen university. While endowment does not directly correlate with available research funding, it can be a helpful indicator. 

NA Rank

University

Endowment

1

Harvard University

$50.9 billion2

2

Stanford University

$36.3 billion3

3

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$24.6 billion4

4

California Institute of Technology

$4.6 billion5

5

Princeton University

$35.8 billion6

6

University of California - Berkeley

$6.9 billion7

7

Yale University

$41.4 billion8

8

Columbia University

$13.3 billion9

9

University of Pennsylvania

$20.7 billion10

10

Johns Hopkins University

$8.2 billion11

Another factor that is important to students but may not be as relevant to rankings is the number of colleagues one can expect on campus. A larger population of full-time graduate students may suggest a larger support system within the university, as well as a larger social network.

University

Full-time Graduate Students

Harvard University

13,677

Stanford University

8,960

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

7,296

California Institute of Technology

1,410

Princeton University

3,157

UC Berkeley

10,737

Yale University

7,828

Columbia University

20,761

University of Pennsylvania

12,924

Johns Hopkins University

11,528

Full-time graduate student data was collected from UnivStats for the FY22-23.

Outside of the numbers, what can you expect at THE’s top five engineering schools in North America? We’ve gathered some basic facts to help you weigh your options when it comes to choosing the right school for you.

In the top spot for North America and #2 in the world, Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts hosts six bachelor's programs, eight master’s programs, and eight doctoral programs within its School of Engineering and Applied Sciences12. Harvard provides financial support for all PhD students through tuition, the covering of fees, and a cost-of-living stipend of $3655/month (FY23-24)13. Within its joint Health Sciences and Technology School with MIT, Harvard also offers a Medical Engineering and Medical Physics PhD program for those more interested in medical appropach to engineering14. There’s only one spot where Harvard isn’t dominant in terms of North American engineering, and that is chemical engineering – because they don’t offer that speciality!

In the #2 spot for North America and tied for University of Cambridge for third globally is Stanford University. Based in Stanford, California, Stanford offers 10 bachelor’s degrees within the engineering department, and another six bachelor's degrees shared across departments15; it also offers ‘dozens’ of graduate degrees across their nine different engineering programs16. A PhD’s stipend will vary slightly depending on which engineering program they make their home, but students can expect tuition and fees to be covered. Master’s students also have the opportunity to apply to several different fellowships, which may offer a stipend up to $20,000 depending on their qualifications17.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sits in the #3 North American spot, and was ranked fifth overall. Within the School of Engineering, MIT offers nine different programs for undergraduate students to pursue18. Graduate students can further their education within these same nine programs, as well as participate in an additional 10 interdiscplinary programs, including an alliance with Portuguese universities19! MIT graduate students can receive support through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or fellowships20, though the exact amount differs depending on the program a student undertakes.

Ranked #4 in North America is the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), located in Pasadena, California. Caltech offers seven engineering undergraduate degrees21, as well as four master’s and five doctoral degrees. In FY21-22, the minimum stipend for graduate students was $37,000, with additional support available depending on an individual's situation22.

Rounding out the top five in North America is Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton offers six options for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral engineering students23. The average engineering graduate student stipend ranges from $42,000 to $47,880 depending on what type of fellowship a student receives and if they are teaching or researching24.

While institutions in the United States made up the top 10 engineering schools, several Canadian schools also enjoy prominent spots on both the North American top 100 list.

Global Rank

NA Rank

University

18

12

University of Toronto

40

24

University of British Columbia

46

25

McGill University

85

38

McMaster University

111

44

University of Montreal

Located in Toronto, Canada, the University of Toronto is ranked as the country’s top engineering school according to the THE database. Despite being ranked #12 in North America and #18 globally, it is sixth within North America in terms of publication output within the engineering field. The University of Toronto offers eight undergraduate degrees, with an additional immersive program that combines one of the eight undergraduate degrees with two years of intensive study in mathematics, science, computer science, and the humanties25. The university also offers graduate degrees with the engineering that can be customized and combined with English, education, and psychology for unique specialities and training26. Depending on the program underneath the engineering umbrella a student choses, master’s students receive tuition plus a stipend ranging from $16,500 to $27,000 CAD while doctoral students receive tuition plus a stuping ranging from $17,500 to $28,5000 CAD; international students may receive higher stipends depending on need and their program of study27, 28.

If you’re interested in going to school elsewhere in North America, we’ve rounded up the top five schools from Central America and the Carribean. Unfortunately, several countries from those regions are not represented on THE’s World University Ranking’s database in terms of general engineering. If you know of any other strong institutions we should look into, let us know!

Global Rank

University

Country

601-800

University of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

801-1000

Monterrey Institute of Technology

Mexico

1001-1200

Autonomous University of Sinaloa

Mexico

1001-1200

National Autonomous University of Mexico

Mexico

1001-1200

University of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Without a specific global rank, we aren’t able to add these schools to our North American list, but we still felt it important to highlight these institutions. The University of Costa Rica (Universidad de Costa Rica) is located in San Pedro Montes de Oca, San José. Within the university, engineering is housed in the School of Engineering and Architecture, which houses eight programs: Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biosystem Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Topography, Architecture and Computer Science and Information29. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available within these programs. Additionally, Michigan State University offers a sessions at the University of Costa Rica for biosystems and agricultural engineering students30, a great opportunity for students who’d like to study abroad but may not want to spend their entire undergraduate career out of the country.

References

  1. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2023/world-ranking#!/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/scores
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  3. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://news.stanford.edu/2022/10/18/stanford-university-reports-return-investment-portfolio-value-endowment/&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1694703706660659&usg=AovVaw0GFCxE8aZhgFPPoxopnBjI
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  9. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.finance.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/content/Finance%2520Documents/Financial%2520Reports/Columbia%2520University%2520Consolidated%2520Financials%2520and%2520Footnotes%2520FY22%2520FINAL.pdf&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1694703706663152&usg=AovVaw28Ag4WHbXfXk-ZEXQABmwr
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  11. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2022/10/26/johns-hopkins-university-endowment-decline.html&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1694703706663751&usg=AovVaw3HCDeLK4BF4Qui1HIPLtur
  12. https://seas.harvard.edu/academics
  13. https://seas.harvard.edu/prospective-students/prospective-graduate-students/funding-scholarship-graduate-programs
  14. https://hst.mit.edu/applying-hst/applying-medical-engineering-and-medical-physics-memp-phd-program
  15. https://engineering.stanford.edu/students-academics/academics/undergraduate-degree-programs
  16. https://engineering.stanford.edu/students-academics/academics/graduate-degree-programs
  17. https://engineering.stanford.edu/students-academics/equity-and-inclusion-initiatives/funding-and-financial-aid/funding-your-master-s
  18. https://engineering.mit.edu/academics/undergraduate/
  19. https://engineering.mit.edu/academics/graduate/interdisciplinary-programs/
  20. https://meche.mit.edu/education/prospective-students/graduate/financial-support
  21. https://www.bachelorsportal.com/universities/11712/california-institute-of-technology-caltech.html
  22. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://sfp.caltech.edu/documents/20203/How_Graduate_School_Funding_Works.pdf
  23. https://www.princeton.edu/academics/areas-of-study/engineering
  24. https://gradschool.princeton.edu/financial-support/financial-support-model
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  26. https://gradstudies.engineering.utoronto.ca/
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  28. https://gradstudies.engineering.utoronto.ca/admissions/money-matters/
  29. https://vinv.ucr.ac.cr/en/areas/engineering-and-architecture
  30. https://www.egr.msu.edu/education-abroad/program/universidad-de-costa-rica