Top 10 Engineering Schools in Europe 2023

October 11, 2023

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Engineering is a diverse field that includes many specialties, including agricultural engineering, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and more. Across Europe, qualifications for professional engineers vary depending on the country and exact discipline, but specific engineering education is required almost universally regardless of the certification being pursued. 

If you are interested in pursuing an engineering degree in Europe, there are many interesting choices inside and outside of European Union countries. We have taken a deeper look at the top 10 universities offering engineering programs as reported by the Times Higher Education (THE), 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. (If you’re interested in North American engineering schools, we’ve already covered THE’s top 10 in that region.)

Europe Rank

University

Location

1

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

2

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

3

Imperial College London

United Kingdom

4

ETH Zurich

Switzerland

5

University College London

United Kingdom

6

University of Edinburgh

United Kingdom

7

Technical University of Munich

Germany

8

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Switzerland

9

King’s College London

United Kingdom

10

Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University

France

It’s interesting to note that six of the top 10 are located in the United Kingdom. Rounding out the rest of the list are schools from France, Germany, and Switzerland. At the top of the list is the University of Oxford, which is also the top general engineering school globally. However, it is not the engineering school in Europe with the most publications, which comes as a bit of a surprise. That title goes to the University of Cambridge, which is number two on the European list of engineering schools.

Europe Rank

University

Engineering Publications

1

University of Oxford

113,797

2

University of Cambridge

122,282

3

Imperial College London

114,793

4

ETH Zurich

80,984

5

University College London

89,901

6

University of Edinburgh

62,173

7

Technical University of Munich

76,060

8

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

76,384

9

King’s College London

40,995

10

Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University

21,503

Europe Rank

University

Engineering Publications

2

University of Cambridge

122,282

3

Imperial College London

114,793

1

University of Oxford

113,797

8

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

76,384

12

Delft University of Technology

87,207

13

University of Manchester

89,831

4

ETH Zurich

80,984

33

Catholic University of Leuven

78,581

5

University College London

89,901

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

Though publications are extremely important to most early career researchers and graduate programs that boast high numbers are very appealing for that reason, it’s important to analyze other aspects of potential schools. Available funding can be extremely important when planning a project; however, endowments, while universal for most North American universities, are less so for European schools. It was relatively easy to find endowments for schools within the United Kingdom, but some others on our top 10 list have organizations specifically dedicated to obtaining funds for the university’s budget rather than an endowment itself. To make things as comparable as possible, we’ve only included endowments instead of trying to compare different funding organizations. If the school you’re considering doesn’t have much funding available for research, or you need a little more than what is offered, use Peeref’s funding database to see what other grants are available.

Europe Rank

University

Endowment

1

University of Oxford

£8.1 billion2

2

University of Cambridge

£9.3 billion3

3

Imperial College London

£219.6 million4

4

ETH Zurich

NA

5

University College London

£158.8 million5

6

University of Edinburgh

£541.0 million6

7

Technical University of Munich

NA

8

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

NA

9

King’s College London

£291.1 million7

10

Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University

NA

A potential peer group is also important to consider when looking for a graduate school. Connecting with others sharing similar interests or experiences can be a great way to form collaborations with other labs or working groups, as well as simply forming a strong support network when research gets stressful. These numbers represent the 2022-23 year unless otherwise indicated.

Europe Rank

University

Postgraduates

1

University of Oxford

13,3248

2

University of Cambridge

11,330a9

3

Imperial College London

9,07510

4

ETH Zurich

13,29811

5

University College London

25,93712

6

University of Edinburgh

11,07513

7

Technical University of Munich

8,98214

8

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

6,115b,15

9

King’s College London

18,270b,16

10

Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University

11,39017

  1. Most recent available data reflect the 2020-21 school year.
  2. Most recent available data reflect the 2021-22 school year.

Outside of the numbers, what else can you expect from the top five engineering schools in Europe? We’ve gathered some basic information to help you weigh your options when it comes to choosing the right school to further your education.

Ranking at both #1 in Europe and across the world for engineering is the University of Oxford, located in Oxford, England. Undergraduates can specialize in six different branches of engineering,18 while eight research clusters are available to graduate students.19, 20 Yearly fees are £9,500 for national PhD students and £31,480 for international PhD students; while stipends aren’t regularly available, there are over 1000 funding opportunities that graduate students may be eligible to help support their cost of living or research.20 Oxford also partners with various institutions to host foreign postgraduate students yearly.

Coming in second place within Europe and fifth globally is the University of Cambridge, located in Cambridge, England. This gives England two of the top five engineering universities around the world. Undergraduates begin with a more general education with the option to pursue nine different specializations,21 while the Department of Engineering offers 28 different courses of study for graduate students.22 Through various grants and scholarships, over 69% of new PhD students and 13% of new masters’ students were able to get their study fully funded in the 2022-23 school year.23

Imperial College London comes in at #3 in Europe and ranks eighth overall, giving England three schools within the top 10 engineering schools internationally. Imperial College London offers 18 course variations for undergraduate students, which includes the ability to add specialties or combine some fields of study during one degree; fourteen of these tracks are also available to masters’ students. Doctoral researchers are matched to projects, and over 90% of current PhD students are fully funded through the engineering department.24

The school in the #4 spot within Europe takes us outside of the United Kingdom and to Zürich, Switzerland. ETH Zürich focuses primarily on STEM disciplines and 22 students, faculty, and researchers associated with the institution have been Nobel laureates.25 Nine undergraduate engineering programs are available,26 as well as 17 masters’ programs, each with their own potential specializations.27 Additionally, the department also hosts PhD students who join labs based on their research interests. All doctoral students are paid a salary which is increased at predetermined intervals.28

Round out Europe’s top five sends us back to London, England, to University College London. Between this institution and Imperial College London, this puts two of the top 25 engineering schools in the world within the city of London alone. UCL offers 15 bachelors’ programs and 11 masters’ programs for engineering students.29 Doctorates are available in 10 programs, and the Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering program also offers the opportunity to earn an MD.30

If you are interested in funding within Europe, check out Peeref’s listed opportunities here. Peeref also offers the opportunity to check out successful awarded grants. Looking for advice or guidance in pursuing an engineering school? Create a hub like this one to solicit advice from Peeref users. Some might even have direct experience at the school of your interest.

References

  1. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2023/world-ranking#!/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/scores
  2. http://d307gmaoxpdmsg.cloudfront.net/collegeaccounts2122/aggregated.pdf&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1696523076437111&usg=AOvVaw2sw6MSAWa4bTLtU7ZlKhpz
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Cambridge%23cite_note-3&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1696523076437478&usg=AOvVaw3NToMJoNDX6YIM1pDoG5m8
  4. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/administration-and-support-services/finance/public/Annual-Report-2021-22_web.pdf
  5. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/sites/finance/files/ucl_annual_report_and_financial_statements_for_the_year_ended_31_july_2022.pdf
  6. https://www.ed.ac.uk/sites/default/files/atoms/files/202207_uoe_annual_accounts_2022_20.pdf
  7. https://www.kcl.ac.uk/about/assets/pdf/statements/financialstatements2022.pdf
  8. https://www.ox.ac.uk/about/facts-and-figures/full-version-facts-and-figures#:~:text=Oxford%20at%20a%20glance,12%2C683%20undergraduates%20and%2013%2C324%20postgraduates
  9. https://www.cam.ac.uk/about-the-university/cambridge-at-a-glance
  10. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/administration-and-support-services/planning/public/statistics-guides/Stats-Card-2022-23-FINAL.pdf
  11. https://ethz.ch/staffnet/en/finance-and-controlling/facts-and-figures/students.html#:~:text=Over%2025'000%20students%20from,on%20a%20bachelor's%20degree%20course
  12. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/annual-review/facts-figures-and-statistics#:~:text=Reporting%20and%20Analytics-,Student%20numbers,6%2C192%20were%20postgraduate%20research%20students
  13. https://www.ed.ac.uk/sites/default/files/atoms/files/student_factsheet_31072022.pdf
  14. https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/facts-and-figures/tum-in-figures/students
  15. https://www.epfl.ch/about/facts/epfl-in-figures/
  16. https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/where-study#provider
  17. https://psl.eu/en/university/about-us/psl-quick-facts
  18. https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/engineering-science
  19. https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/msc-research-engineering-science
  20. https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/msc-research-engineering-science
  21. https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/engineering
  22. https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/departments/egeg
  23. https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/funding
  24. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/mechanical-engineering/study
  25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaD6SwxxkTs
  26. https://ethz.ch/en/studies/bachelor/bachelors-degree-programmes.html
  27. https://ethz.ch/en/studies/master/degree-programmes/engineering-sciences.html
  28. https://ethz.ch/en/the-eth-zurich/working-teaching-and-research/welcome-center/employment-contract-and-salary/salary.html
  29. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/engineering/study/undergraduate
  30. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/engineering/study/postgraduate-research
Organizational Spotlight: The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Organizational Spotlight: The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Organizational Spotlight: The European Research Commission (ERC)
Organizational Spotlight: The European Research Commission (ERC)
Organizational Spotlight: The Fulbright Program
Organizational Spotlight: The Fulbright Program
Organizational Spotlight: UK Research and Innovation
Organizational Spotlight: UK Research and Innovation
Funding Spotlight: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)
Funding Spotlight: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

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