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How to Choose an Engineering Design School

Students interested in engineering design can complete an undergraduate degree in design technology or civil engineering, along with a graduate degree in engineering. Engineering design programs are available at technical colleges and 4-year colleges and universities.

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Students who earn an associate's degree in engineering design are prepared for careers in both traditional drafting and computer-aided design as technicians and technologists. Graduates with a bachelor's or master's degree often find work developing and managing construction projects as civil engineers; many programs in engineering include internships.

Top 10 Civil Engineering Schools

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition
(2015-2016)*
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,431 (In-state undergraduate); $11,220 (Out-of-state Undergraduate); $26,322 (In-state Graduate); $xx (Out-of-state Graduate)
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $15,054 (In-state undergraduate); $30,214 (Out-of-state Undergraduate); $15,023 (In-state Graduate); $28,213 (Out-of-state Graduate)
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate $46,320 (Undergraduate); $45,729 (Graduate)
University of Texas - Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,806 (In-state undergraduate); $34,676 (Out-of-state Undergraduate); $10,934 (In-state Graduate); $20,762 (Out-of-state Graduate)
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $12,204 (In-state undergraduate); $32,396 (Out-of-state Undergraduate); $13,452 (In-state Graduate); $27,872 (Out-of-state Graduate)
Purdue University - West Lafayette West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,002 (In-state undergraduate); $28,804 (Out-of-state Undergraduate); $9,208 (In-state Graduate); $28,010 (Out-of-state Graduate)
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,856 (In-state undergraduate); $43,476 (Out-of-state Undergraduate); $20,638 (In-state Graduate); $41,688 (Out-of-state Graduate)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $46,704 (Undergraduate); $46,400 (Graduate)
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $50,665 (Undergraduate); $40,625 (Graduate)
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $49,116 (Undergraduate); $29,500 (Graduate)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Architectural Drafting and Design
  • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
  • Civil Engineering Drafting and Design
  • Mechanical Drafting and Design

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in engineering design programs may want to keep these factors in mind when choosing a program.

  • Career goals should be considered when selecting an associate's degree program; not all programs award credits that can be transferred to a 4-year university.
  • Many bachelor's degree programs include preparation for the Fundamentals of Engineering examination, a requirement for becoming licensed as a professional engineer.
  • Small class sizes and low student-to-teacher ratios are helpful for students who need guidance to achieve career goals.
  • Students should look for ABET-accredited programs in engineering design. Graduation from an ABET program is required for licensing, and many employers require it as well.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degrees in engineering design include an Associate of Science in Design Technology, an Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology or an Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Design. Students who complete a 2-year degree can use their foundational education to find entry-level employment as engineering technicians, or they can transfer their associate's degree credits to a bachelor's program to study to become an engineer.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in engineering design usually focus on civil engineering, such as a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Technology or a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in construction engineering and project management. Bachelor's degree programs allow students to build upon their fundamental knowledge of engineering by concentrating in areas such as environmental, structural or transportation engineering. Students may be required to complete a design project.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in engineering design include a Master of Science in Engineering Design and Innovation or a Master of Engineering with a concentration in mechanics or production. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree and want to pursue advanced engineering careers or who plan to complete a doctoral degree program may earn a master's degree in engineering design.

Programs may require the completion of an independent research or thesis project, and internship opportunities may be available.

Civil engineering programs will prepare individuals for a career in engineering design. These programs are offered at many public and private institutions at graduate and undergraduate levels, so those interested in this field have many options to choose from when selecting a program.

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