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2021 Best Colleges for Mechanical Engineering

Approximately 47,222 mechanical engineering degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be a challenge finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Mechanical Engineering ranking analyzed 274 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of schools for Mechanical Engineering students.

Choosing a Great Mechanical Engineering School

Best Colleges for Mechanical Engineering Your choice of mechanical engineering school matters. Important measures of a quality ME program can vary widely even among the top schools. When choosing a school we recommend considering some of the following factors:

A Great Overall School

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a good education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To take this into account we include a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a combination of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 12% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 28%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 190 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Above Average Earnings After Graduation

A mechanical engineering degree from schools on this list usually translates into above average earnings following graduation. While the average mechanical engineering bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $61,915, graduates of colleges on this list average $70,300.

Starting Salary  ( 64754 to 74645 )
$0
$82,800

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Mechanical Engineering students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other mechanical engineering students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized mechanical engineering related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Mechanical Engineering students.

Best Schools to Study Mechanical Engineering in the United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities for a Mechanical Engineering degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 25 Best ME Colleges

Any student pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering needs to take a look at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Located in the midsize city Cambridge, MIT is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 5 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means MIT is a great college overall.

There are approximately 367 mechanical engineering undergrads studying this degree at MIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology mechanical engineering graduates earn $4,800 more than the standard ME grad.

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#2

Olin College

Needham, MA

It's hard to beat Olin College if you wish to pursue mechanical engineering as a major. Olin College is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Needham. A Best Colleges rank of 26 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Olin College is a great college overall.

Olin College is a fairly popular college to study ME in United States with more than 18 graduations last year. Students who complete this program report average early career earnings of $72,200.

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It's difficult to beat Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus if you want to study mechanical engineering. Located in the large city Atlanta, Georgia Tech is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 82nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

For those interested in something more advanced, Georgia Tech also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduating, ME students generally earn an average of $68,600 in their early careers.

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#4

Kettering University

Flint, MI

It's difficult to beat Kettering University if you wish to study mechanical engineering. Located in the city Flint, Kettering is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 287th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

Kettering University is a fairly popular college to study ME in United States with more than 198 graduations last year. Kettering University mechanical engineering majors earn $6,600 more than the average ME graduate.

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Located in the city Terre Haute, Rose - Hulman Institute of Technology is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 66 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Rose - Hulman Institute of Technology is a great school overall.

With 161 students enrolled, Rose - Hulman Institute of Technology is one of most popular schools to study ME in United States. Graduates of the ME program report average early career earnings of $68,900.

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WPI is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Worcester. A Best Colleges rank of 51 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means WPI is a great college overall.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is one of the most popular college to study ME in United States with more than 340 graduates last year. Graduates of the ME program earn around $65,800 for their early career.

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Stevens is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Hoboken. This college ranks 172nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

For those interested in something more advanced, Stevens also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the ME program make around $65,000 in the first couple years of their career.

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#8

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Stanford. A Best Colleges rank of 6 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Stanford also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates from the mechanical engineering major at Stanford University get $7,900 above the standard college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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U of Michigan is a very large public school located in the city of Ann Arbor. A Best Colleges rank of 38 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means U of Michigan is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, U of Michigan also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates from the mechanical engineering program at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor get $3,900 above the typical graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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Located in the town Houghton, Michigan Tech is a public school with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 205th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

There are approximately 431 mechanical engineering undergraduates studying this program at Michigan Tech. After graduation, ME students typically make an average of $69,700 at the beginning of their careers.

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RPI is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Troy. A Best Colleges rank of 58 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means RPI is a great college overall.

With 225 undergraduates, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is one of most popular colleges to study ME in United States. Soon after graduating, ME students usually earn an average of $66,700 in their early careers.

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#12

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Located in the city Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 33 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Carnegie Mellon is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Carnegie Mellon also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the ME program report average early career wages of $70,400.

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#13

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN

Purdue is a very large public school located in the small city of West Lafayette. This college ranks 84th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

For those interested in something more advanced, Purdue also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduating, ME students typically earn about $69,200 at the beginning of their careers.

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Located in the city College Station, Texas A&M is a public college with a very large student population. This college ranks 102nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

For those interested in something more advanced, Texas A&M also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after graduation, ME students typically make about $71,600 in the first five years of their career.

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Missouri University of Science and Technology is a medium-sized public school located in the remote town of Rolla. This school ranks 257th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Missouri.

For those interested in something more advanced, Missouri University of Science and Technology also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the ME program report average early career income of $66,300.

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UC Berkeley is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Berkeley. A Best Colleges rank of 69 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UC Berkeley also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the ME program make about $71,900 in their early career salary.

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#17

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Located in the large city Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 81st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are roughly 364 mechanical engineering undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Northeastern. Graduates of the ME program report average early career earnings of $69,600.

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#18

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Located in the city Ithaca, Cornell is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 17 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Cornell also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Mechanical Engineering students from Cornell University get a earnings boost of around $2,400 over the typical earnings of mechanical engineering majors.

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#19

Clarkson University

Potsdam, NY

Located in the remote town Potsdam, Clarkson is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This college ranks 146th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

A preferred major for mechanical engineering undergrads, there are about 185 students enrolled in this program at Clarkson. Soon after graduation, ME students generally earn around $63,800 in the first five years of their career.

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#20

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke is a large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Duke is a great college overall.

With 123 undergraduates, Duke University is one of most popular schools to study ME in United States. Mechanical Engineering students from Duke University earn a boost of approximately $3,200 over the typical earnings of mechanical engineering graduates.

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#21

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

Located in the city Blacksburg, Virginia Tech is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 88th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

For those interested in something more advanced, Virginia Tech also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the ME program report average early career wages of $66,400.

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Located in the large city Chicago, Illinois Tech is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. This college ranks 154th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

With 164 undergraduates, Illinois Institute of Technology is one of most popular colleges to study ME in United States. Students who graduate from the ME program earn around $59,500 in their early career salary.

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#23

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA

Located in the city Bethlehem, Lehigh is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 44 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Lehigh is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Lehigh also offers 2 different higher degree levels in mechanical engineering, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after graduating, ME students typically earn around $68,200 at the beginning of their careers.

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UT Austin is a very large public school located in the large city of Austin. This college ranks 91st out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

With 369 undergrads, The University of Texas at Austin is one of most popular colleges to study ME in United States. Students who graduate from the ME program make about $70,300 for their early career.

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#25

SUNY Maritime College

Throggs Neck, NY

SUNY Maritime is a small public school located in the city of Throggs Neck. This college ranks 483rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

With 82 undergraduates, SUNY Maritime College is one of most popular colleges to study ME in United States. SUNY Maritime College mechanical engineering majors receive $12,500 more than the standard ME grad.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Mechanical Engineering

#26

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
#27

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
#28

Rice University

Houston, TX
#30

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
#34

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
#36

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
#38

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI
#40

Boston University

Boston, MA

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Mechanical Engineering award.

Rank College Location
42 Lawrence Technological University Southfield, MI
43 Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee, WI
44 Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO
45 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ
46 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
47 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
48 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
49 Clemson University Clemson, SC
50 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
51 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
52 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
53 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
54 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ

Mechanical Engineering by Region

View the Best Colleges for Mechanical Engineering for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 38 majors within the Engineering area of study, Mechanical Engineering has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Civil Engineering 21,938
Computer Engineering 15,891
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001

View All ME Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Michel Villeneuve. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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