Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Schools in the U.S. (2019)

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Steven Rich MBA
Steven Rich MBA
Steven is a diligent researcher and journalist who covers tech, marketing, real estate and energy. Currently residing in Panama, he helps the global dissemination of accurate information - he also authors and edits for Wikipedia in his spare time!


Before listing the Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Schools in the U.S. in 2019, there are a few things that you need to understand.

First, oil companies value a Mechanical Engineering (ME) degree. They recruit and train ME’s for petroleum engineering, subsea engineering, rig management positions, and many other oil and gas jobs. So, like many industries that look for any STEM degree, the oil and gas industry values an ME degree highly as an entry point to jobs that require similar skills.

Second, as a ME you will find your degree more attractive than even a petroleum engineering degree for some drilling and completions jobs.

Finally, your ME immediately qualifies you for the following refinery jobs:

Maintenance Rotary – Performing preventive maintenance on oil top up. You look, listen, and feel the rotary equipment for signs of problems. At times, you will do minor and major overhauling of the rotary equipment.

Reliability Department – You will perform FMEA, RCA, and IRRR, checkups to ensure the availability of rotary equipment in case of breakdowns.

Maintenance Planning – Ensuring availability of all spare parts and their maintenance.

Maintenance Static – This department takes care of static equipment like columns, heaters, filters, pipeline, vessels, heat exchangers, and safety valves. For instance, all manually operated valves with daily maintenance and periodic overhauls.

Asset Integrity – Like a reliability department ensuring availability of all static equipment. This involves measuring the degradation of material over time, maintaining proper calibration of static equipment and pipe thickness and verifying correct metallurgy usage at the right atmosphere, etc.

Utilities Operations Maintenance – Maintaining utility units like RWTP, RODM, IAC, and Cooling tower.

Projects – Setting up new plants including erecting and commissioning new equipment.

Engineering – This department designs modifications to equipment as needed. Based on RCA, critical observations, or failures occurring, or refinery expansions. Changes to existing systems or purchasing new systems.

Pipeline – ME’s are better qualified to deal with pipeline stress problems which influence its mechanical characteristics, welding, bolting valves, etc.

Production – Making sure the wells produce optimally requiring failure analysis, redesign, and repairs. Also, managing the rigs that do the repairs.

Service – ME’s are also working for service companies hired by operators to provide the tools and fieldwork. Involves designing different tools and machines. Also, optimizing the manufacturing process.

As you see, various departments in the oil industry need ME’s. Now, let’s look at the top ME schools.


Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Schools in the U.S. 2019

Several reputable online reviews exist about the top mechanical engineering schools. Comparing the major reviews and observing which ones come to a consensus of the best schools results in the following Top 10:


1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ranks #1 with many reviewers. Offering a top-notch Mechanical Engineering degree and Engineering Programs tendering Doctorates.

MIT is a private institution founded in 1861 sitting in a 165-acre campus in an urban setting. It is located in Cambridge, MA across the Charles River from Boston.

MIT focuses on technological and scientific research. Their graduate School of Engineering ranks #1 with several reviewers. It’s the institution’s most significant school by enrollment. Around 5,750 of its total 11,300 students are in its engineering school.

Their Mechanical Engineering program offers everything you need to know about the subject. Courses include:

  • Mechanics and Materials I and II;
  • Thermal-Fluids Engineering I and II;
  • Dynamics and Control I and II; and
  • Differential Equations.

Only 8% of all applicants for its freshman class get accepted.

Tuition and Fees: $51,800 during the 2018-19 school year.

Get admissions information for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology


2. Stanford University

Stanford University founded in 1885 is a private institution.

Located 30 miles from San Francisco in Palo Alto and near the Silicon Valley. Situated in a pristine campus with buildings of early Spanish architecture. Considered one of the most beautiful campuses in America.

Stanford prides itself with the close interactions between faculty and students. The student-faculty ratio is 4:1 with over 68% of its classes with fewer than 20 students.

Its acceptance rate of 5% of all applicants for its freshman class ranks amongst the most difficult to attend. Their freshman retention rate of 98% indicates student satisfaction.

The total undergraduate enrollment of 7,060 and whole student body of 16,000 makes it a small university.

Its School of Engineering received many high ranking reviews. Its mechanical engineering students get both theoretical and practical training. Classes include:

  • Mechanics of Materials;
  • Mechanical Systems Design;
  • Engineering Thermodynamics;
  • Visual Thinking;
  • And more.

Tuition and Fees: $51,350 for 2018 – 2019 term. But, 48% of their full-time undergraduates receive some type of financial aid. The average scholarship is $50,500.

Get admissions information for Stanford University


3. Georgia Tech

Georgia Institute of Technology, a public institution, boasts a highly ranked Graduate School of Engineering. The school provides a focused technical-based education.

Founded in 1885 and located in the heart of Atlanta with an urban setting on a 400-acre campus.

Undergraduate enrollment of 15,570 students makes up over half of its 30,000 total student population. The student-faculty ratio is 22:1 with 39% of their classes with fewer than 20 students.

The College of Engineering considered as one of the Top 5 engineering colleges in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Report.

Their Mechanical Engineering degree develops professional STEM practice with engineering fundamentals. They emphasize designing principals with hands-on education. They offer eight areas of specialization:

  • Automotive;
  • Nuclear Engineering;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Thermal, Fluid, and Energy Systems;
  • And more.

It averages a 23% acceptance rate for the freshman class. It also maintains a 97% freshman retention rate indicating student satisfaction.

Tuition and Fees: $33,000 for out of state students and only $12,420 for in-state.

Get admissions information for Georgia Institute of Technology


4. University of California – Berkeley

The University of California in Berkeley sits just outside of San Francisco Bay. A public university founded in 1868. It lies in an urban setting with a vast 1,230-acre campus. The undergraduate enrollment totals around 30,500.

Their College of Engineering ranks as the #3 of all U.S. engineering graduate schools according to U.S. News & World Report. They offer a unique five-year BS/MS Mechanical Engineering degree. Some of their many courses include:

  • Bioengineering;
  • Acoustics;
  • Plasma Dynamics;
  • Cryogenics;
  • And much more.

Their acceptance rate for freshman applicants is 17%. The student-faculty ratio is 18:1 where 53.5% of its classes contain fewer than 20 students. A freshman retention rate of 97% indicates student satisfaction.

Tuition and Fees: $14,200 (in-state) for 2018-19 school year and $43,200 for out-of-state. The average scholarship is $20,900.

Get admissions information for the University of California in Berkeley


5. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan, a public university founded in 1817 and located in Ann Arbor 45 minutes from Detroit. The campus sits on 3,200 acres. Awarded as one of the best college towns in the U.S.

Undergraduate enrollment of 29,800 with over 46,000 total enrollment. A student-faculty ratio of 15:1 with 57% of their classes with fewer than 20 students.

It maintains a 29% acceptance rate from all applicants for its freshman class. Boasts a 97% freshman retention rate indicating student satisfaction.

Their highly ranked College of Engineering programs emphasizes research as it spends up to $100 million per year in research. They offer a BS degree, as well as a Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Their BS in Mechanical Engineering provides opportunities to study abroad and collaboration in significant research projects. Some of their notable courses include:

  • Fluid Mechanics;
  • Thermodynamics;
  • Solid Mechanics; and
  • Behavior of Materials.

Tuition and Fees: $15,260 (in-state) and $49,350 (out-of-state). Average scholarship amounts to $19,640.

Get admissions information for the University of Michigan


6. California Institute of Technology

The California Institute of Technology, a private institution founded in 1891 located in the Pasadena suburb about 10 miles from Los Angeles sitting on 124 acres.

Caltech receives many grants from NASA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation. Thus, Caltech focuses on engineering and science.

It’s a small institution with 960 undergraduate students. Also, a low student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1. Over 67% of all its classes maintain less than 20 students. The average freshman retention rate of 98% shows student satisfaction.

Admission to this top-ranked institution is tough where 98% of their students placed in the top tenth of their high school senior classes. As a result, only 8% of all applicants gain admission.

Observes a strict Honor Code where no member of the community takes unfair advantage of another member.

Besides, offering undergraduate programs in engineering, it also provides top graduate programs too. Its engineering, science, and tech contributions include alumni and faculty earning Nobel Prizes, and National Medals in Technology and Science.

Their Mechanical and Civil Engineering Department offers graduate programs in:

  • Applied Mechanics;
  • Mechanical Engineering; and
  • Civil Engineering.

US News and World Report rank their Mechanical Engineering program #4 in the nation.

They also offer an ABET accredited Mechanical Engineering undergraduate degree.

Tuition and Fees: $52,360 where Caltech provides generous financial-aid packages which the majority of its students use.

Get admissions information for the California Institute of Technology


7. Purdue University – West Lafayette

Purdue University, founded in 1869, located in West Lafayette, Indiana situated on a 2,465-acre campus.

It boasts a well-ranked College of Engineering undergraduate and graduate programs. The renowned School of Aeronautics and Astronautics is part of the College of Engineering. It is known as the “Cradle of Astronauts” where 22 astronauts graduated from Purdue including Neil Armstrong the first person to walk on the moon.

The Purdue University Mechanical Engineering degree offers so many subjects they publish an undergraduate program Map showing all the course options.

Purdue at West Lafayette is a public coed university with a total enrollment of 41,500 with 31,000 undergraduate students. The student-faculty ratio is 13:1 with 38% of all classes with fewer than 20 students. The average freshman retention rate is 93%.

They average a high 52% acceptance rate for freshman class applicants.

Tuition and Fees: $10,000 for in-state in the 2018 – 2019 school year and $28,800 for out-of-state students.

Get admissions information for Purdue University.

Get admissions information for Purdue University - West Lafayette


8. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois located in Champaign and founded in 1867 sits on a 1,780-acre campus. The university nestles within the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana a few hours from Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

Its College of Engineering considered one of the best in the country. Their Mechanical Engineering major offers complete training in design, materials, manufacturing, and thermal fluid science.

The university maintains an average of 33,950 undergraduate students. Total enrollment is 48,200. Their student-faculty ratio is 20:1 with 40.5% of its classes with fewer than 20 students. Their average freshman retention rate is 93%.

This public university has an acceptance rate of 62% for incoming freshmen applicants.

Tuition and Fees: $15,990 for in-state and $32,560 for out-of-state.

Get admissions information for the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign


9. Cornell University

Cornell University, founded in 1865 and located in Ithaca, New York is a private Ivy League university nestled within 744 acres campus in a rural setting.

Once proclaimed as the “first true American university” due to its founders’ unique higher education vision.

They maintain an undergraduate enrollment of 14,900 within its total population of 20,000 students. Their student-faculty ratio is 9:1 with over 57% of its classes supporting fewer than 20 students.

Their College of Engineering receives high rankings. For example, it ranks #9 in the nation by US News and World Report.

Their Mechanical Engineering degree offers courses in:

  • Analysis;
  • Design;
  • Testing; and
  • Manufacturing of machinery and systems.

Cornell also offers its students the opportunity to concentrate in one of these four areas:

  • Vehicle Engineering;
  • Mechanical Systems;
  • Materials Processing and Precision Engineering; and
  • Biomechanics

Their acceptance rate of incoming first-year students is 13%.

Tuition and Fees: $55,187 with 47% of their undergraduates receiving some type of financial aid averaging $40,500.

Get admissions information for Cornell University


10. Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis recognized as one of the leading private research schools in America. Over 15,000 students attend WashU.

Its McKelvey School of Engineering established in 1854 is one of the oldest in the U.S. It offers a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science emphasizing the core fields of force, motion, and materials. Students work closely with faculty researching a wide range of mechanical engineering subjects like instrumentation, environmental control, energy conversation, and biomechanics.

Classes include:

  • Mechanics and Materials Science Lab;
  • Computer-Aided Design with AutoCAD;
  • Mechanical Engineering Design and Build; and
  • Thermodynamics

Average freshman class acceptance rate of 17%.

Tuition and Fees: $50,400 for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Get admissions information for Washington University.

Get admissions information for Washington University in St. Louis



Earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering opens many doors for good jobs in the oil and gas industry.

The Top 10 Mechanical Engineering schools in the U.S. for 2019 provide a mix between expensive private institutions and moderately priced larger public universities.

As mentioned in a past Drillers post describing the Top Petroleum Engineering Schools:

The ten major oil companies maintain relationships with the top engineering schools so they can pick the best and brightest graduates.

That’s why you need to earn high grades and admissions tests scores to get into the best mechanical engineering schools.



  1. Thank you for compiling this review of top ME schools. I am a mechanical engineer, and I’ve noticed that there are fewer mechanical engineering graduates looking for jobs within the discipline. I think your overview of what mechanical engineers do is a great way to entice students to major in mechanical engineering, which may address the gap in young engineers entering this area of practice.


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