Top Engineering colleges in the world
Updated on Mar 23, 2015 - 10:03 a.m. IST by Bedasree Das
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While an increasing number of students are exploring fresh subjects to study in a university abroad, engineering among other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects, still tops the choice among majority of students. According to an Open Doors report, around two-thirds of international students in the USA are studying STEM subjects.

Not just in the USA, engineering is a popular field of study in most countries across the world. Here we bring you the best engineering colleges in the world with a comprehensive profile and application mechanism of all the top ten engineering colleges.

mit1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Ranked the best engineering college in the US by U.S. News & World Report, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been consistently graded amongst the top engineering colleges in the world. In fact, in their world ranking for 2014, the major ranking platforms -- Times Higher Education, QS and ARWU -- put MIT in the first place among the top 100 engineering colleges in the world.

There are students from 115 countries at MIT.  Approximately 9% of the institute's undergraduates are international, and 38% of graduate students are citizens of other countries. Established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on April 10, 1861, MIT has five schools offering over 30 courses. The largest of MIT’s five schools, the School of Engineering educates about 60% of MIT’s undergraduates and 45% of graduate students.


Besides, the institute also offers a MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Applied Ocean Science and Engineering.

The School of Engineering at MIT has 10 departments. They are:

  1. Aeronautics and Astronautics

  2. Biological Engineering

  3. Chemical Engineering

  4. Civil and Environmental Engineering

  5. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  6. Engineering Systems Division

  7. Institute for Medical Engineering and Science

  8. Materials Science and Engineering

  9. Mechanical Engineering

  10. Nuclear Science and Engineering

How to apply?

Every year more than 4,000 international students apply to MIT. However, the institute admits less than 150 for its courses. All students are required to demonstrate minimum competence in the given fields:

  • Four years of English

  • Mathematics, at least to the level of calculus

  • Two or more years of history / social studies

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Physics

International students fill out the same application as domestic students. The applications, usually, open around September -October. The application deadline is by the 1st of January in most cases, while application deadline for financial aid is by mid February.

Below are the deadlines:

  • September-October of application year: create a MyMIT account to begin the application process

  • December 10th: deadline to contact your interviewer

  • January 1st: deadline to apply to MIT

  • February 15th: deadline to submit all Financial Aid materials

  • Late March: decisions released

What makes you eligible?

English language proficiency is a must for international students. The accepted tests are:

TOEFL: A minimum score of 577 i.e 233 computer-based; 90-91 internet-based

IELTS: A minimum score of 7.0

Generally, the accepted tests are TOEFL and  IELTS. However, it depends on the specific departments which score they would be accepting.

Besides, GRE and SAT test score is mandatory for all applicants depending on the level they are applying for.

Can I bear the cost?

Undergraduate fees at MIT can be between $58,000 to more than $60,000. While graduate study expenses can be around $60,000 annually. However, students can apply for financial aid, which are need based.


Stanford2. Stanford University

Founded in 1885, Stanford is recognized as one of the world’s leading research and teaching institutions. The Stanford School of Engineering, located in the core of the Silicon Valley, is at the centre of many of the valley’s renowned enterprises. In fact, the Stanford Engineering faculty and graduates have founded more than 12,000 companies over the decades.


The seven schools of Stanford- Business, Earth Sciences, Education, Engineering, Humanities and Sciences, Law and Medicine offer over 18 degrees to around 6,980 undergraduate and 8,897 graduate students enrolled in the university. With over 2000 faculty members guiding the students, Stanford boasts of a 5:1 student to faculty ratio.


The engineering department alone has around 4,800 students and more than 250 faculties. In fact, engineering accounts for nearly 40% of all Stanford graduate students and 20% of undergraduates.

The engineering school has 9 departments. They are:

  1. Aeronautics and Astronautics

  2. Bioengineering

  3. Chemical Engineering

  4. Civil and Environmental Engineering

  5. Computer Science

  6. Electrical Engineering

  7. Management Science and Engineering

  8. Materials Science and Engineering

  9. Mechanical Engineering

How to apply?

Undergraduate candidates have to apply through the   Common University Admissions i.e., the Common Application, while graduate aspirants have to apply through the respective departments.

You need to submit three types of documents with your application in order to be considered for admission:

  1. Statement of Purpose

  2. Letters of Recommendation

  3. Academic Records

The deadlines for admission is usually between December and March. Stanford accepts GRE and SAT scores for admission to its engineering courses. Besides, TOEFL is accepted as the standard English proficiency test. The accepted score for engineering are 89 in internet based test and 575 in paper based test.


For undergraduate course, however, you are required to have cleared high school or 12 years of education.


Can I bear the cost?

Only the tuition fee for undergraduate studies is around $15,000 and that for graduate studies is around $16,000.

Graduate financial aid is based entirely on merit. There are various internal as well as external scholarships available for international students.


University-of-California-Berkeley3.  University of California, Berkeley

A flagship campus of the University of California, the Berkeley campus is world renowned as one of the most competitive engineering institutes in the world. The university is famous for the identification of Vitamin E and many such pioneering researches and has been ranked among the top ten universities in the world by almost all the reputed ranking agencies.


The university enrolls more than 4000 students annually in both its undergraduate and graduate programmes. Out of the total 23% constitute the international chunk.

Currently, the university has the following departments:

  • Bioengineering    

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering        

  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences    

  • Engineering Science      

  • Industrial Engineering & Operations Research   

  • Materials Science

  • Mechanical Engineering

  • Nuclear Engineering

How to apply?

Undergraduate applications at the University of California School of Engineering open in the month of November. The period is November 1–30 each year for admission to the following fall semester. You can apply to only one programme in an admission session.

Besides the SAT reasoning test, engineering aspirants should take SAT Subject Test in Math Level 2 as well as a SAT Subject Test in science (Biology E.M., Chemistry or Physics) to have an edge in the competition.


International graduate applicants should hold a Bachelor’s degree equivalent to a US degree. Besides, GRE score specific to the department are also required.

International students also have to display their English proficiency through IELTS or TOEFL.


Can I bear the cost?

The fee is around $26,000 for graduate students, while it is around $19,000 for undergraduate students.

caltech4.  California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

The California Institute of Technology is a research and education institute with strong focus on science and engineering. One of the best-known engineering colleges in the world, Caltech is home to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and stands out in research with 48 cross-disciplinary research institutes and centers and more than 600 research scholars.


The education division of Caltech has 6 academic departments, including Biology & Biological Engineering, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Engineering & Applied Science, Geological & Planetary Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences and Physics, Mathematics & Astronomy, and offers over 26 programs.


How to apply?

Undergraduate applicants have to apply through the Common application while graduate applicants need to register and open an account with Caltech in order to apply. 


Undergraduate Application Checklist

  • Common Application with Caltech Questions

  • $75 application fee or fee waiver (Common App waiver or Caltech-specific waiver)

  • SAT with writing or ACT with writing

  • SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2

  • 1 SAT science subject test: biology (ecological), biology (molecular), chemistry or physics

  • 1 math or science teacher evaluation

  • 1 humanities or social sciences teacher evaluation

  • Secondary School Report

  • Academic transcripts

Graduate application checklist:

  1. Open an account with CollegeNET

  2. Pay application fee- $100

  3. Upload a Statement of Purpose.

  4. Enter GRE and TOEFL score.

  5. Upload academic transcripts

  6. Three letters of recommendation

  7. Upload your CV.

The application deadlines vary by department and fall between December to January.

Can I bear the cost?

Tuition fee for both undergraduate and graduate courses is around $42, 000. However, the living and sundry expenses can take the cost upto $70,000.

However, Caltech has many merit and need based scholarships on offer for both graduate and undergraduate students.


princeton-university5. Princeton University

Ranked among the top engineering institutes in the world, the Princeton University is one of the most popular Ivy League institutes in the United States.


Established in 1746, Princeton is also the fourth oldest university in the USA. Currently, the School of Engineering and Applied Science in Princeton has over 1000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students.


School of Engineering and Applied Science has 6 departments:

  • Chemical and Biological Engineering

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • Computer Science

  • Electrical Engineering

  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

  • Operations Research and Financial Engineering

The university offers three master degrees i.e., Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)

How to apply?

Princeton does not make any distinction between domestic and international student in terms of application. Applications open from mid August for the undergraduate and graduate programmes and the deadlines are from first to mid December.

For undergraduate admissions, students apply to the freshman class of Princeton University, not to the engineering


Application checklist for Undergraduate students

  1. Common Application
  2. Students who intend to pursue the Bachelors in Engineering must complete a year of calculus and high school physics prior to enrolling at Princeton
  3. SAT/ACT  score
  4. TOEFL score
  5. Teachers recommendation and academic transcripts

Application checklist for Graduate students

  1. Princeton’s graduate application form

  2. Academic transcripts

  3. GRE score- Although there is no standard cutoff at Princeton, the average cutoff in the recent years is 550 in verbal and 700 in quantitative section. Apart from that some departments may require a GRE subject test score.

  4. State of purpose

  5. CV

  6. Letters of Recommendation

  7. TOEFL or IELTS score.

  8. Statement of financial resources to determine the financial need of the student.

Can I bear the cost?

The graduate tuition fee at Princeton is around $43000 while the living expenses might go upto $27, 000 annually. The undergraduate tuition fee is also around $43,000 while the total expenses might be more than $61,000 annually.


cambridge6. University of Cambridge

With a history spanning more than 125 years, the engineering department of the University of Cambridge is at the top of the best engineering colleges in the UK and among the top in the world.


The Department of Engineering at Cambridge is also the largest department in the university and the largest integrated engineering department in the UK with around 150 faculty, 260 contract research staff and research fellows, 650 research students and 1200 undergraduates.

The undergraduate engineering course at Cambridge leads to two degrees -- BA (with Honours) and MEng. While the first 2 years of the course are same for all students, they are required to take up specialisations from the third year.

In Postgraduation, Cambridge offers 5 MPhil courses. They are:

  • MPhil in Energy Technologies

  • MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

  • MPhil in Industrial Systems, Manufacturing and Management

  • MPhil in Machine Learning, Speech and Language Technology

  • MPhil in Nuclear Energy

Besides the taught programmes, the department also offers research courses PhD studentships.

How to apply?

For undergraduate courses, applications have to be made through UCAS while applications for graduate studies are made through the University’s graduate website.


Admission Checklist for Undergraduate students:

  • UCAS application

  • Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA)

  • Academic transcripts (upto standard 12)

  • To be shortlisted for interview such applicants will need to have achieved a minimum CGPA of 9.8 and grade A1 in their Class X examinations

  • Cambridge accepts IELTS and Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English. The IELTS score should be 7.5 with 7.0 in each section while he/she should have atleast grade A or B in Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency.

Admission Checklist for graduate students:

  • Graduate application form

  • Academic transcripts

  • CV

  • Academic References

  • Application fee- £50 per application

  • IELTS or  Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English

Can I bear the cost?

The undergraduate tuition fee for engineering is around £ 23,000 while that for graduate studies it is between £23,000 to £26,000. However, Cambridge has scholarships like Gates Cambridge, Cambridge International Scholarship Scheme (CISS) to support the students.


oxford7. University of Oxford

Ranked among the top ten universities of the world to pursue engineering, the University of Oxford Engineering department is one of the largest departments in the university with around 160 undergraduates and 70 graduates earning their degrees annually.   


There are 26 colleges that admit undergraduate engineers at Oxford. Apart from disciplines like chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical and information engineering Oxford also has courses in applications of engineering to medicine, low-temperature engineering and experimental plasma physics.


Oxford also focuses on research on the following areas:

  • Biomedical

  • Chemical & Process

  • Civil & Offshore

  • Electrical & Opto-electronic

  • Energy

  • Information, Control & Vision

  • Solid Mechanics and Materials

  • Thermofluids & Turbomachinery

How to apply?

There are three application deadlines at Oxford which fall in November, January and March.

Admission Checklist for Undergraduate students:

  • Undergraduate aspirants should take the Physics Aptitude Test.

  • UCAS application

  • Aspirants should have had Maths and Physics in 12 standard.

  • Two rounds of interviews once the aspirant’s application is accepted.

Admission Checklist for Graduate students:

  • Online application form

  • More than one references

  • CV

  • SOP

  • IELTS- overall score of 7.5, with at least 7.0 in each component

  • Research proposal

Can I bear the cost?

Fees for internationals students can go over $20,000. However, students can benefit from the Oxford graduate funds as well as other internal and external funds available at the university.


ETH-Zurich8.  ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich

Founded in 1855, ETH Zürich is a prominent institution known worldwide for its contribution to science and technology and its education. The institution is ranked among the top ten engineering colleges in the world and its curriculum is basically centered around science related subjects.

According to the ETH Zürich, 21 Nobel prize winners have been part of  the university, including Albert Einstein. The university has more than 18000 students and the community includes students and faculty from over 100 countries.

The institution has around 23 undergraduate programmes and also offers various masters and doctoral degrees. ETH has two campuses – one in Zurich and the other in Basel.


How to apply?

Applications to ETH Zürich engineering courses are generally open from November to April.  The institutions, however, require aspirants to pass an entrance exam before admission to the Bachelor’s programme.


Admission Checklist for Undergraduate students:

  • CV

  • Matriculation certificate

  • Transcripts of the last three years of secondary school

  • University transcripts

  • C1 German-language certificate

Admission Checklist for Graduate students:

  • Bachelor’s degree

  • The application consists of two parts- Online form and a printout of this form with all necessary documents by post.

  • Academic transcripts from matriculation to Bachelors.

  • CV

  • C1 German-language certificate


Can I bear the cost?

ETH students generally spend CHF 16,000 to CHF 26,000 on study and living costs each year.


Imperial-College-London9. Imperial College London

One of the best known engineering institutes in the UK, the Imperial College London is ranked among the top ten engineering colleges of the world by the major rankings --  THE, ARWU and QS. Even its five departments are ranked among the top performing departments in the world. Here are the departments with their 2014 rankings by QS.

  • Chemical Engineering    - 6th

  • Civil Engineering  -9th

  • Computing -13th

  • Electrical Engineering-8th

  • Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering-6th

Besides, the institute offers PhD in the following areas:

  • Aeronautics

  • Bioengineering

  • Chemical Engineering

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • Computing

  • Earth Science and Engineering

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

  • Materials

  • Mechanical Engineering

How to apply?

Applications to Imperial College London usually open by mid-September for admission to October semester the next year. The deadline for application is generally mid January. Alongwith the academic proofs, international students will have to show evidence of having fulfilled the English language requirement through IELTS score.

Admission Checklist for Undergraduate students:

  • UCAS application

  • Personal statement

  • References

  • Academic transcripts

Admission Checklist for Graduate students:

  • Online application

  • Application Form

  • Documents/Essays

  • References


Can I bear the cost?

Average fee for the engineering courses is around £ 25,500 for international students. However, the institute includes some prominent scholarships like Department of Civil Engineering MSc Scholarships, Commonwealth Scholarships, The Mott MacDonald Excellence Scholarships etc.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science is one of the world’s top engineering schools and is well known as the birth place of the Internet. The university is ranked number 10 in the world by THE and 20 by QS.

The Engineering School at UCLA offers degrees to around 4,500 students annually. In 2014, international students comprised of 20% of the undergraduate class and over 52% of the graduate class in the following departments:

  • Aerospace Engineering 

  • Bioengineering    

  • Biomedical Engineering

  • Chemical Engineering

  • Civil Engineering

  • Computer Science

  • Computer Science and

  • Engineering

  • Electrical Engineering

  • Manufacturing              

  • Materials Science

  • Mechanical Engineering

  • Nuclear Engineering


How to apply?

Applications for admission to the fall semester open by 1st August and close by November 30. However, students can only fill the application and cannot submit it before 1st November.

Admission Checklist for Undergraduate students:

  • Online application

  • Academic transcripts

  • SAT reasoning as well as subject tests.


Admission Checklist for Graduate students:

  • Online application

  • GRE


  • References

Can I bear the cost?

For undergraduate international students, the fee is around $37000 and it is $30000 for graduate students. However, the engineering department has a number of scholarships to help the students. Some of them are Balu and Mohini Balakrishnan Endowed Fellowship, John H. Bent Merit Scholarship, Electrical Engineering Graduate Fellowship, IBM Doctoral Fellowship etc.

Also Read:

Top Universities in USA

Top Universities in Canada


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