Best Mechanical Engineering Schools

Updated on April 8, 2024

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines and mechanical engineers play a key role in a wide range of industries. Selecting the right mechanical engineering school is crucial to get the best education and job prospects after graduation. Here are 10 of the top ranked mechanical engineering schools in the United States.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: Cambridge, MA

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Avg SAT Score: 1520

Tuition: $53,450 per year


MIT is globally recognized as having one of the best undergraduate and graduate mechanical engineering programs. Its mechanical engineering department pioneers cutting-edge research in fields like robotics, nanotechnology, biomechanics, and energy systems. The program is extremely selective with a 7% acceptance rate.

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, CA

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 4%

Avg SAT Score: 1495

Tuition: $55,473 per year


The mechanical engineering department at Stanford University is considered one of the most prestigious in the world. Students have opportunities to conduct research across industries like aerospace, biomechanics, design, and more. The program is very competitive with a 4% acceptance rate.

University of California, Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, CA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 16%

Avg SAT Score: 1425

Tuition: $44,007 per year (in-state), $64,077 per year (out-of-state)


UC Berkeley’s mechanical engineering program is recognized as the top public university program in the U.S. It offers top-tier research opportunities and access to experiential learning at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. As a public university, UC Berkeley offers great value for in-state residents.

California Institute of Technology

Location: Pasadena, CA

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 6%

Avg SAT Score: 1560

Tuition: $55,588 per year


Caltech is home to world-renowned faculty and research facilities in mechanical engineering and aerospace. Areas of expertise include control systems, fluid mechanics, combustion, and more. The program is extremely selective, admitting only 6% of applicants per year.

Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 15%

Avg SAT Score: 1480

Tuition: $57,119 per year


Carnegie Mellon University is recognized for its cross-disciplinary approach to mechanical engineering research and education. Students collaborate extensively with business, computer science, and arts programs across campus. The department specializes in areas like design innovation and precision manufacturing.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Location: Atlanta, GA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 21%

Avg SAT Score: 1500

Tuition: $33,794 per year (in-state), $49,630 per year (out-of-state)


Georgia Tech’s mechanical engineering program leverages close industry partnerships and experiential learning for real-world application. The institute is a leader in mechanical systems, thermal-fluid sciences, robotics, manufacturing, and more. As a public university, Georgia Tech offers strong value, especially for in-state students.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 23%

Avg SAT Score: 1460

Tuition: $49,350 per year (in-state), $64,938 per year (out-of-state)


The University of Michigan mechanical engineering program exposes students to a broad engineering education with research strengths in aerospace systems, controls, and automation. Features like the Wilson Student Team Project Center provide valuable hands-on learning experience. As a public university, it offers strong value for Michigan residents.

University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin, TX

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 32%

Avg SAT Score: 1325

Tuition: $37,580 per year (in-state), $62,080 per year (out-of-state)


University of Texas at Austin offers one of the top public mechanical engineering programs in the country. The unique Cockrell School of Engineering promotes cross-disciplinary project courses and activities for a comprehensive engineering education. The department has major research activity and industry connections in Texas and beyond.

Texas A&M University

Location: College Station, TX

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 63%

Avg SAT Score: 1310

Tuition: $30,116 per year (in-state), $59,816 per year (out-of-state)


Texas A&M has one of the largest mechanical engineering programs in the country, with over a dozen labs conducting research across automotive, manufacturing, thermal, and other engineering sectors. There are extensive project design and industry partnership opportunities. The rising program also boasts affordable tuition for in-state students.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location: Urbana-Champaign, IL

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 63%

Avg SAT Score: 1390

Tuition: $31,448 per year (in-state), $48,624 per year (out-of-state)


The mechanical science and engineering department at UIUC encompasses nearly a dozen program concentrations and research groups focused on everything from micro-mechanics to geriatrics to energy harvesting. There is major innovation, entrepreneurial activity, and industry partnerships through the program’s research labs and facilities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a mechanical engineer do?

Mechanical engineers design, build, test, and improve mechanical devices and systems. They work on everything from individual parts and pieces to complex machinery and systems. Mechanical engineers can pursue careers in many industries such as automotive, aerospace, robotics, manufacturing, energy, and more.

What classes do mechanical engineering students take?

Mechanical engineering curriculums typically include math (calculus, differential equations, linear algebra) physics, computer programming, materials science, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mechanics, instrumentation, and engineering design courses. There are also specialized technical electives.

Is mechanical engineering a good major?

Yes, mechanical engineering remains one of the most versatile and lucrative engineering disciplines. The field encompasses a very wide scope so mechanical engineering skills are valued across many technology-driven industries. Job prospects and salaries also remain consistently strong for mechanical engineers.

What skills are needed to be a mechanical engineer?

Important skills for mechanical engineers include complex problem-solving, mathematical/analytical capabilities, computer competencies, creativity, communication abilities, business savvy, and the ability to work as part of technical teams. Hands-on project experience is also valuable.

What is the hardest part about mechanical engineering?

The hardest parts of mechanical engineering are completing the rigorous calculus, physics, and analytical engineering courses required in the curriculum as well as applying theoretical knowledge to solve complex real-world problems. Senior capstone design projects can also be demanding.

Is a master’s degree necessary for a mechanical engineer?

A master’s degree is not required to start a mechanical engineering career, but it provides advantages. A graduate degree opens more opportunities for leadership roles, specialized expertise, research, and higher starting salaries. Many engineers pursue master’s degrees while working.

How long does it take to get a mechanical engineering degree?

The standard mechanical engineering undergraduate program is 4 years. However, some accelerated 3+2 or combined 5-year BS+MS programs allow completing both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 5 years total. Community college transfers can sometimes complete the 4-year bachelor’s degree in 3 years.

Should mechanical engineers get a PE license?

Obtaining a Professional Engineer (PE) license offers benefits like increased job prospects, higher salaries, and the ability to legally sign/stamp design documents. Some states require a PE license to work on public projects. Many mechanical engineers get licensed after meeting work experience eligibility requirements.

What types of mechanical engineering jobs are there?

Common mechanical engineering jobs include design engineer, manufacturing engineer, robotics engineer, machine designer, product development engineer, mechanical systems engineer, thermal engineer, aerospace engineer, automotive engineer, quality engineer, test engineer, and more. Engineers can also move to technical management roles.

How much do mechanical engineers make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for mechanical engineers in 2021 was $97,000. Starting salaries often range from $65,000-$75,000. With 6-10 years of experience, mechanical engineers can earn $100,000+ on average. Advanced expertise and management roles reach over $150,000 per year.

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