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Best Catholic Colleges for Engineering

Jul 09, 2020

An engineering program can lead to a bachelor's, master's, or even a doctoral degree (though this is less common). Throughout the country, Catholic schools offer engineering programs to its students, all while encouraging a strong Catholic faith with retreats and social justice programs.

School Comparison

There are several excellent schools that offer engineering programs. If you are looking for a Catholic-affiliated college, consider one of the following medium sized schools. You might find that engineering programs do not come cheaply, as all colleges listed in this table have an annual undergraduate tuition of over $40,000.

School Name Institution Type Population (2018)* Location Tuition (2019-2020)*
University of Notre Dame 4-year, private not-for-profit 12,607 Notre Dame, IN $55,553
Santa Clara University 4-year, private not-for-profit 8,642 Santa Clara, CA $53,634
Villanova University 4-year, private not-for-profit 11,030 Villanova, PA $55,280
Saint Louis University 4-year, private not-for-profit 14,438 Saint Louis, MO $45,424
University of St. Thomas 4-year, private not-for-profit 10,035 Saint Paul, MN $45,780

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Engineering at Catholic Colleges

While there are no definitive ways to select which colleges are the best, we can take a number of factors into account when deciding which Catholic Schools offer some of the best engineering programs. We've looked at retention rates, graduation rates, and national rankings to decide which ones may be your best fit.

University of Notre Dame

For students beginning in 2013, the University of Notre Dame had a 96% graduation rate, according to NCES. To top this, the school also boasted a 98% retention rate for first-year students in 2018-2019. These statistics could be some of the reasons that it was ranked the 15th best college in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2020. In the same year, U.S. News also named it #39 for undergraduate engineering programs in the nation. As a Catholic school that focuses on integrating faith in education, Notre Dame holds several retreats and pilgrimages each year. Students interested in engineering can concentrate their degree program in aerospace, mechanical, chemical, biomolecular, civil, environmental, electrical, or computer engineering.

Santa Clara University (SCU)

Ranked #54 among national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2020, Santa Clara University was also ranked as the best college (#27) in the nation for veterans. Santa Clara's STEM programs offer a wide variety of concentrations: applied math, computer engineering, bioengineering, civil engineering, engineering management, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and powers systems & sustainable energy. Students can take part in any of the student organizations, internships, and co-ops available for engineering students. SCU even takes part in a tiny house competition, where engineering students come together to build a sustainable tiny home. Students can also strengthen their faith through faith-based student groups, retreats, and religious diversity events.

Villanova University

With a 96% retention rate for first-year students in 2018-2019 (per NCES), Villanova University is a good contender for this list. Out of the six schools that make up Villanova, the College of Engineering is where engineering enthusiasts will earn their bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees. There are also 15 graduate certificates offered. The average class size for undergraduate courses is 22, keeping teachers and students on a first-name basis. Students building on their faith can go to mass, weekly devotional prayers, Bible study, spiritual direction meetings, and meditation/prayer groups, such as Centering Prayer.

Saint Louis University

There are nine learning communities at Saint Louis University (SLU), which are housing plans grouped by academic interest. One of these communities is the Engineering and Innovation community, located in Grand Hall. On top of the learning community, engineering students can have a full campus life through retreats, teach-ins, prayer services and other campus ministry events. Among all national universities - secular and religious, private and public - SLU was ranked #97 by U.S. News & World Report for 2020. Both master's and bachelor's degrees are offered in engineering, with the bachelor's programs focusing in aerospace, biomedical, civil, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering as well as engineering physics.

University of St. Thomas

With undergraduate degrees in civil, electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering, you can be sure to focus your engineering education in the field that best suits you at the University of St. Thomas. The school also offers master's degrees in manufacturing, software, and systems engineering. U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Thomas as the 139th best national university for 2020, while the school maintained an 86% retention rate for the 2018-2019 school year according to NCES. To strengthen your faith, the Center for Campus Ministry has three offices that are dedicated to different aspects of campus ministry: the Office for Pastoral Care & Worship, the Office for Spirituality, and the Office for Service & Social Justice.

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