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Do you want to study engineering at college or university in Texas? This is an excellent choice!
Engineers can look forward to a well-paid and stable career where they know they are making a constructive difference in the world.
Texas is home to many of the world’s most prestigious engineering schools. It offers ample opportunity to prospective petroleum engineers, as well as civil and aerospace engineers.
Furthermore, cities like Houston and Austin have recently begun to emerge as hubs of software engineering and computer science. Schools in the area have responded accordingly, and there are far greater opportunities to study these disciplines in Texas than ever before.
In this guide, we will explain how to assess the merits of different colleges, what to expect from your engineering degree, and how to maximize your experience as an undergraduate. We will also discuss the ten best engineering universities in Texas and their merits.
What makes a good engineering school?
When making a decision about which engineering school to apply to, there are several important factors to consider. Ultimately, your choice will primarily depend on your academic accomplishments and what specialty you want to pursue as part of your engineering studies.
But, the following factors are all worth considering:
- ABET Accreditation: The ABET, or the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, is a nonprofit organization that ensures consistent quality of education at higher learning institutions in the United States and around the world. Most employers will prioritize accepting graduates from colleges with ABET accreditation, so it is important to verify the status of any prospective college.
- Internship Opportunities: When looking for the best engineering education it is important to consider the opportunities available in the local area for work experience and internships. Universities in cities will naturally afford greater opportunity.
- Postgraduate Career Counseling: One of the most important aspects of an undergraduate education is to help guide you on your future career path. You should examine how much postgraduate help is offered by any colleges you are considering attending. Some schools will have formal administrations to help students find work after graduating. Additionally, many employers visit leading college campuses to find future employees, so it is always worth looking into what job fairs and opportunities are offered at each college.
- Tuition and Scholarships: Tuition and available scholarships vary considerably depending on what school you attend. Make sure you have a good understanding of your financial needs when applying to various colleges. While more expensive colleges will generally provide a higher quality of education, the cost is not always worth it. Postgraduate engineers tend to make a considerable amount of money regardless of where they studied at an undergraduate level.
- Size and Location: You should also consider whether you want to attend a big school or a small school. A larger college offers more research opportunities and a wider network, but a smaller school might offer a more in-depth and personal learning experience. Additionally, you should consider where you want to study. This is of particular importance for engineering students because different geographic areas offer different opportunities. For example, if you want to study petroleum engineering, it makes sense to apply to study at the University of Houston. If you want to study software engineering, then a school located in Silicon Valley would be perfect.
- Curriculum: Before making a final decision on which college to attend, you should make sure to examine the curriculum. While almost all schools will offer engineering majors, different universities will have different specializations available. Furthermore, some schools will offer more in-depth classes in applied mathematics and advanced sciences. If you are paying for an education, you want to make sure the education relates as directly as possible to your desired career choice.
- Professors and Research Opportunities: Finally, you should acquaint yourself with any notable professors and research opportunities that exist at any school you are considering. Larger and more prestigious universities will usually have more accomplished professors. Check who is on the faculty of each of the science and math departments and assess their areas of expertise. Also, make sure to consider the research opportunities that exist. Engineering is a practical degree and you will want to be able to choose from an array of research opportunities in your final two years.
What do you study at an engineering school?
To prepare for undergraduate engineering, you should ideally take honors or AP science and math classes throughout high school. Physics, statistics, and calculus are of particular importance for would-be engineers.
Additionally, if your high school offers a computer science class, it is strongly recommended that you take it. Engineering relies more and more on an advanced understanding of technological implementation. If no computer science class exists, there will often be an after-school club or even a community college course nearby you could involve yourself in. Failing that, learning as much as you can online would at least ensure that you are not behind when you start college.
What you study at engineering school will be primarily determined by your specialization and the courses offered at your university. Having said that, for all branches of engineering, you should expect to take high levels of math and science classes. You will also most likely be expected to take courses in humanities and social sciences to fulfill the graduation requirements of your college.
Engineering is a broad category that includes numerous specializations. Any prospective engineer will likely have to choose either when applying to study or during the first couple of years of undergraduate education. There are more than twenty possible specialties offered at various colleges around the United States, some of the more common examples include:
What kind of students thrive at engineering school?
On a fundamental level, students who excel in math and science classes are best suited to the study of engineering.
Generally, a student who will thrive at engineering school has been demonstrating enthusiasm for mechanics since an early age. If you pick up things and instinctively look to see how they work, if you used to tinker with toys and adapt them to different purposes, if you enjoy working on cars or computers, then your engineering training has already begun.
However, enthusiasm alone is not enough to thrive as an undergraduate engineer. Engineering is an incredibly challenging discipline, particularly to study at the undergraduate level where, you will likely be taking more classes and working longer hours than the majority of your peers.
A recent survey of college students suggests that engineering majors work roughly twice as many hours a week on homework (approximately 20 hours) as compared to the average student. Engineering students will also have some of the most difficult classes available in applied mathematics and practical sciences. If you are looking to college as a time to focus on your partying and social life, engineering might not be the wisest choice!
However, if you enjoy your work and are determined to make a career in engineering, then there are fewer majors available that better guarantee a profitable and successful career. Engineers typically make six figures shortly after graduation, and depending on your specialty and years of experience, you may make considerably more than that. Engineers are also rewarded with the knowledge that their work has concrete and practical application that benefits other people.
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Top 10 Engineering Schools in Texas
There are dozens of quality engineering schools in Texas, but the following 10 stand out as the most exceptional.
Rice University is located in the heart of downtown Houston. Rice is located next to the Texas Medical Center and, as such, is one of the leading biomedical engineering research centers in the country. Houston is also a hub for petroleum engineering, an extremely lucrative career for engineers. Additionally, the close proximity of the campus to the NASA Space Center ensures that there is always opportunity for aeronautical and aerospace engineers.
Rice University offers engineering majors in the following disciplines: aerospace and aeronautical, architecture, bioengineering and biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, mechanical, and nanotechnology.
The George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice is one of the most prestigious engineering centers in the country. There is ample opportunity for research and collaboration with other academics. Because the school is so well regarded, admission is extremely competitive – less than 10 percent of applicants are admitted each year. However, students with a strong academic background, and a talent for math and science should still consider applying. Few schools in Texas will offer such a comprehensive engineering education.
Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College, commonly known as Texas A&M, is located in College Station. As the name suggests, College Station is a community that arose to serve the needs of the university, and, as such, you can expect an experience dominated by campus life. A&M is one of the largest schools in the country, where more than 3,000 students graduate with an engineering degree each year.
Texas A&M offers engineering degrees in more than 20 different specializations. This includes subjects like conservation, landscape, nuclear, and ocean engineering, all of which are uncommon at other engineering schools. If you study at A&M, you will be able to choose from one of the widest selections of disciplines of any engineering school in the world. Additionally, A&M invests hundreds of millions of dollars in engineering research programs for undergraduates, which will allow you to explore any projects you might have in mind.
At Texas A&M, you will get a very specific college experience. As previously noted, the surrounding community is entirely dominated by the college. You will be immersed in your college community. If you are the kind of person who loves community and tradition, then Texas A&M is perfect for you!
Finally, it is worth noting that A&M is located northwest of Houston, and east of Austin and Dallas. Therefore, while few opportunities outside of campus exist in the immediate vicinity, there are plenty of jobs and careers available in the wider area for engineering graduates.
UT – Austin
Alongside Rice and Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Austin is one of the three exceptional engineering schools in the state. The school is located in the hip and rapidly growing city of Austin and has an extremely large student body. More than 2,000 students graduate with an engineering degree each year in 22 different majors. The vast majority graduate with degrees in aerospace, biomedical, civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering.
The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas is widely regarded as one of the finest educational institutions in the country. In particular, the school’s electrical engineering department is extremely successful. Many international companies, like Apple, Dell, Google, and Samsung, have campuses in Austin and electrical engineering students from the Cockrell school are widely recruited. Additionally, the Fall Engineering Expo, organized by the engineering school, is one of the largest career fairs in the country. These resources ensure you will be strongly supported in your pursuit of a career in engineering.
The University of Texas faculty is also notable. The faculty boasts one Nobel Prize winner, numerous recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and several members of the National Academy of Engineering. Such a collection of expertise ensures that you will receive a high-quality education and be connected to industry leaders.
University of Houston
The University of Houston is located in the heart of one of America’s largest cities. Engineering graduates will be able to choose from a wide range of job opportunities in aerospace, chemical, civil, electronic, mechanical, and petroleum engineering.
The University also offers exceptional opportunities to engineering students through the Cullen College of Engineering. Fourteen faculty members belong to the National Academy of Engineering. Furthermore, the school provides hundreds of grants every year for students to carry out engineering research projects. The Cullen College is particularly notable for its exceptional chemical engineering department, which is widely regarded as one of the finest in the country.
The University of Houston also has one of the more diverse student bodies in the state. The population of Asian-American and Hispanic students is far higher than at most other Texas universities.
Finally, the school offers unique opportunities for particular niche interests, such as the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, a Nanofabrication facility, and a Subsea Engineering Program. If your interests align with the interests of the faculty at Cullen College, the University of Houston is definitely worth consideration.
Texas Tech University is located in the city of Lubbock, in West Texas. Like Texas A&M, Texas Tech has a large student body and dominates the community. The school offers undergraduate engineering degrees in architectural, chemical, civil, computer, construction, electronics, environmental, industrial, interior, landscape, mechanical, natural resource, and petroleum. However, the majority of students study mechanical engineering, with both civil and chemical also being extremely popular.
The reason for the popularity of these majors is the Whitacre College of Engineering. The faculty are considered experts in mechanical and chemical engineering and are widely accredited in the engineering community. This means you will have access to high-quality education and connections to a large group of mentors.
In recent years, the school has received contracts from the government for innovative research in chemical engineering. If you find yourself wanting to major in chemical or mechanical engineering, Texas Tech is an exceptional choice.
Baylor University is a private Baptist school in Waco, Texas. It is situated between Dallas and Austin, so students are able to take advantage of opportunities from both metropolitan areas. It is also one of the earliest known American schools west of the Mississippi and was founded before Texas became a state.
Baylor University is a good school for students who require financial aid. The school offers reasonably priced tuition and was recently granted aid money from the federal government to increase the number of scholarships, making it a particularly good time to apply.
Baylor offers majors in biomedical, electrical, general, and mechanical engineering.
Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University is a private school and research institution located in the greater Dallas area. It also has a satellite campus in New Mexico, for students in West Texas and the Southwest. Southern Methodist offers degrees in civil, computer, electrical, general, industrial, environmental, and mechanical engineering. It is one of the leading environmental engineering schools in the country and boasts the most innovative environmental engineering faculty in Texas. This makes it a strong choice for students who want to study environmental sciences.
The Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist is divided into five departments that reflect the school’s areas of expertise: Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Engineering Management, Information, and Systems; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Mechanical Engineering. The school is named after successful alumnus Bobby Lyle, who founded the Lyco Energy Corporation. This ensures the school is strongly connected to local and national industry leaders.
Finally, Southern Methodist has one of the best graduate employment rates in the state. Through its famous Industry Scholars Program, Southern Methodist offers numerous internship and work experience opportunities. More than seventy-five percent of Southern Methodist engineering students are employed at graduation.
UT – Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas was initially founded as a private research department of Texas Instruments (the company that likely makes your calculator), and the heritage of this foundation continues to this day. The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science is one of the leading computer engineering departments in the country and offers students access to millions of dollars in research grants. It also boasts more than a thousand internship opportunities for undergraduate engineering students.
UT Dallas students can choose from engineering majors including biomedical, computer, computer software, electrical and electronics, and mechanical. This rather narrow choice reflects the school’s expertise in computer engineering and electronics.
Finally, UT Dallas is one of the more affordable schools in Texas. In-state students can expect to pay far less tuition than they would to attend most of the private or even public schools in this list.
University of North Texas
The University of North Texas is located in the city of Denton. It is part of the wider Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, so students can expect to find plenty of internship and postgraduate career opportunities.
The school is widely regarded as one of the best doctoral engineering research institutions in the country. This means that there are plenty of opportunities for undergraduates to pursue a long-term academic career at the school, or to connect with incredibly accomplished postgraduate students and doctoral faculty. The University of North Texas also administers an energy engineering program, making it an interesting option for students who want to study environmental engineering.
Engineering students at the University of North Texas can major in biomedical, computer, construction, electronics, interior, materials, mechanical, and urban engineering.
The school is generally regarded as one of the more diverse and cosmopolitan schools in the state and has many programs to encourage the inclusion of people from different backgrounds.
Texas Christian University
Texas Christian University, commonly called TCU, is located in the city of Fort Worth. As the name suggests, the school is a private Christian institution. It is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. Because the school is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, it offers extensive opportunities to undergraduates and for post-graduate life.
The school only offers one engineering major, general engineering. Students can then choose to specialize in either electrical or mechanical engineering. As a result of these limitations, TCU is probably best for students who are not yet sure if they want to be engineers and would like the option to try out other classes from TCU’s extensive liberal arts program.
Trinity, LeTourneau University, UT Arlington, West Texas University, Texas State University, St. Mary’s University, Abilene Christian University, Stephen F. Austin State University.
Though they did not make our top 10 list of the best colleges for engineering students in Texas, these schools all offer exceptional engineering opportunities for the right students. Be sure to be thorough in your research, no list can be all-encompassing.
Conclusion: Best Engineering Schools in Texas
By now, you should have a good idea of the various merits of different engineering programs in Texas.
If you are still unsure, talk to your parents, teachers, or guidance counselors – they will be able to provide you with advice specific to your needs and skills.