Engineering education provides students with the knowledge and principles of professional engineering practice. It includes bachelor's, master's, and PhD degrees. However, you can start working after obtaining a bachelor's degree. Engineering education includes chemical, mechanical, computer, construction, marine, mechanical, electrical, architectural, and other fields.

Description of the specialty

All industries and spheres of society depend on the precise and efficient work of engineers. They design, manufacture, and maintain almost everything that humans and the industry use, from corkscrews, boats, and cars to computers, spacecraft, and buildings. Technological progress would never have happened without engineers. Consequently, the people working in this sector play a huge role in the development of the future of our society.

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The world's best universities in engineering in 2020

The best engineering programs in the world are taught at these universities.

Top European universities in engineering

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Top Asian universities in engineering

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Engineering education by country

Engineering education in the USA
In the USA there are many engineering programs for international students. Admission requirements vary by college/university. Most universities recommend the applicants to take courses in high-level mathematics and science (calculus). Additionally, you must confirm your English language proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS) and pass the standardized exams SAT/ACT/GRE.
Before choosing a university, it is recommended to speak with students, alumni, and even faculty members to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the desired program. With an engineering degree from an American university, a graduate has a high chance of employment. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering positions are in the top 20 highest paid professions[1].
Engineering education in the UK
British universities offer two types of engineering degrees: BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) and MEng (Master of Engineering).
The bachelor’s degree (BEng) lasts for 3 years, after which graduates can receive the status of Incorporated Engineer. Another option is to complete an integrated master's degree MEng with advanced study of core disciplines and become a Chartered Engineer. MEng takes 4 years or 5 years (with an additional year of practice). You can read more about the difference between the two qualifications here.
Admission criteria include IELTS from 7.0 and high A-Level grades in mathematics and physics.
In the UK, the term "engineer" can be applied to professions that do not require a degree, such as technologists, technicians, draftsmen, machinists, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, repairmen, and others.
Engineering education in Switzerland
Engineering in Switzerland can be studied either at one of the two federal institutes of technology (ETH Zürich, EPFL Lausanne), or one of the seven universities of applied sciences (UAS). ETH Zürich, located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees as well as continuing professional development programs. EPFL Lausanne, in turn, is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and implements the same educational levels as ETH Zürich. Seven Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) only have bachelor’s and master’s programs in a limited number of engineering specializations.
For admission you need to provide a certificate of secondary (complete) general education, pass the university entrance exams or ECUS, and confirm German / French / English language proficiency. Most universities require an applicant to study for two years at a university in their home country.
Engineering education in Singapore
Universities in Singapore, two of which are in the top 10 of the QS world ranking in engineering, offer a variety of programs in this discipline. The country's labor market has plenty of engineering positions. Prime Minister Li pointed out that STEM disciplines not only are regaining attractiveness among the youth of Singapore but will also be in high demand in the country for the next 50 years[2].
For admission, a foreigner needs to have12 years of secondary education and confirm your knowledge of English. Students who completed 11 years of school in their home country must pass the Foundation program or A-Levels/IB. Also, universities have requirements for grades in certain subjects (mathematics, physics/chemistry/biology, English). Sometimes universities conduct additional entrance exams.
Engineering education in Russia
Russian universities offer a wide range of engineering programs: from aerospace to biomedical engineering. For admission, you must provide the results of the exam (in mathematics, physics, Russian, sometimes English and chemistry), pass entrance exams (also in mathematics, physics, Russian), sometimes pass an interview. It should be noted that not all engineering areas in Russian universities are developing uniformly. For example, it will take a long time before education in the field of robotics will reach a level comparable to other countries[3].
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Admission requirements for engineering programs

Requirements differ depending on the program, university, and country. Accurate and detailed information should be checked on the official university websites. Usually, the following is required:

  • Certificate of completed secondary education — for bachelor's programs, bachelor's/master's degree — for master's programs/PhD. Some countries have requirements for grades in certain subjects (eg, mathematics, physics);
  • Transcript with grades;
  • Motivation letter;
  • Letters of recommendation;
  • Passing entrance exams (SAT / ACT, GRE — in the USA, ECUS — in Switzerland);
  • Language certificate (TOEFL / IELTS);
  • Interview;
  • Resumes, extracurricular achievements, etc.

Cost of engineering education in English

2Stanford University USA73,964 USD57,861 USD
3University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom42,922 USD41,053 USD
4Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ)Switzerland1,661 USD1,661 USD
5University of California, BerkeleyUSA48,006 USD60,766 USD
6University of OxfordUnited Kingdom33,969-47,598 USD34,845 USD
8Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore27,422 USD31,495 USD
10National University of Singapore Singapore28,442 USD27,661 USD
13Georgia Institute of TechnologyUSA31,370 USDUpon request
22University of Toronto Canada44,693 USD45,115 USD

Affordable engineering programs in English

GermanyHeilbronn UniversityMaster in Software Engineering and Management1,627 USD
PolandWarsaw University of TechnologyBachelor of Environmental Engineering3,255 USD
PolandSilesian University of TechnologyBachelor of Civil Engineering4,448 USD
NetherlandsUniversiteit UtrechtBachelor of Civil Engineering18,527 USD
LithuaniaKaunas University of TechnologyBachelor of Electronic and Electrical Engineering3,038 USD
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Cost of engineering education in other languages

16South KoreaKorea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)Chemical Engineering, electrical and electronic engineering7,000 USDKorean
20ItalyPolitecnico di MilanoCivil engineering, electrical/electronic engineering4,229 USDItalian
21JapanUniversity of Tokyo Civil engineering,
mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, mathematical/chemical engineering,
materials science
3,561 USDJapanese
25GermanyTechnical University of MunichMechanical/aerospace/biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.FreeGerman
38JapanKyoto UniversityGlobal engineering, architecture, engineering sciences, electrical and electronic engineering, etc.

3,561 USD

47ItalyPolitecnico di TorinoAerospace/biomedical/chemical and food engineering,
civil engineering, material
2,119-2,822 USDItalian
79South KoreaYonsei UniversityChemical and biomolecular engineering, architectural and urban engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, construction and environmental engineering, materials science, etc.3,502 USDKorean
86BrazilUniversity of São Paulo Agricultural / aerospace / environmental / biochemical engineering, etc.FreePortuguese
103AustriaVienna University of TechnologyChemical and technological engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, environmental engineering788 USDGerman
114FranceSorbonne UniversityEnvironmental/agricultural engineering etc.FreeFrench

Preparatory programs in engineering

CountryDurationUniversityLanguage of InstructionCost
United Kingdom1 yearUniversity of LeicesterEnglish19,668 USD
Canada1-2 yearsThompson Rivers UniversityEnglish19,226 USD
United Kingdom1 yearUniversity of BradfordEnglish11,738 USD
Malaysia1 yearUniversity of SouthamptonEnglish7,163 USD
Netherlands1 yearHolland International Study Center English18,876 USD

The information given in the tables is approximate. The exact prices must be checked with universities.

Types of engineering programs

Engineers have many specializations. Some create microscopic objects that cannot be seen with a naked eye. Others design items that we use every day, like smartphones and laptops. Some build huge structures: cars, planes and skyscrapers. Engineers know how to turn the products of the imagination into real innovation, so the opportunities for engineers are endless.

Top engineering programs

Chemical EngineeringApplication of physical sciences (chemistry and physics), life sciences (biology, biochemistry and microbiology), mathematics and economics to convert raw materials or chemicals into compounds useful to humans. Chemical engineers ensure that this process is carried out safely, sustainably and economically.
Civil EngineeringDesign and construction of bridges, roads, canals, dams and buildings. Civil Engineering has traditionally been broken down into several sub-disciplines: Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Construction Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Municipal or Urban Engineering, Water Resources Engineering, Materials Science, Coastal Engineering, and Geodesy.
Mechanical EngineeringApplication of physical and material principles for the analysis, design, manufacture and maintenance of mechanical systems. Mechanical engineering includes the production and use of thermal and mechanical energy for the design, production, operation and maintenance of machines and tools.
Electrical EngineeringApplication of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. Electrical Engineering covers a range of sub-topics, including energy, electronics, control systems, signal processing, and telecommunications. Electrical engineering typically deals with problems related to large-scale electrical systems, such as power transmission and motion control, while electronics engineering deals with the study of small-scale electronic systems such as computers and integrated circuits.
Computer EngineeringDesign of computers and computer systems. The job of such an engineer may include developing new hardware or using computers to run an industrial plant. Computer engineers also work with software.
Mechatronics EngineeringConvergence of electrical and mechanical systems. Such combined systems are known as electromechanical systems and are widely used. Examples include automated manufacturing systems, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and various aircraft and automobile subsystems.

Advanced engineering professions

As the needs and knowledge of humanity increase, so do the requirements for technology. Some specializations disappear or are about to disappear, new, more promising areas emerge and develop. This process is especially influenced by the current state of affairs in one area or another. For example, due to the environmental situation, environmental engineering has acquired particular importance.

However, to definitely say that some engineering specializations are more promising than others would not be entirely true. Almost all of them are in demand and interconnected in one way or another, and involve the growth and development of specialists.

ProgramDescriptionPossible position / jobUniversities
Environmental engineeringIs developed to protect people from the effects of pollution and other negative factors associated with the environment and improves its quality by solving problems related to the management of resources and waste management (eg, CO₂ emissions, air and water pollution etc.)An environmental engineer in state and municipal bodies: in environmental centers, in the environmental expertise and control of environmental safety departments, in industries, in the structures like FEMA and emergency situation centres, in metrology and standardization services, construction companies. When designing structures and infrastructure, environmental engineers evaluate the quality of materials, technologies used and their impact on nature.University of British Columbia, University of Queensland, Technical University of Denmark
Petroleum engineeringIt is associated with the development of methods of production and direct extraction of hydrocarbons, which can be both crude oil, natural gas and other energy sources.Petroleum engineer in the office of an oil company, drilling engineer, production engineer for oil and gas production in the field. A petroleum engineer not only finds deposits of natural gas and crude oil below the surface of the earth, but also determines whether the effort to extract the product is worth the company’s time and money. The main tasks: prospecting for oil, assessing site potential, oil extraction and its transportation/storage.Pennsylvania State University, Delft University of Technology, University of Oklahoma

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Engineering degrees

Bachelor of Engineering is awarded to a student after 3-5 years of study in engineering and has the following titles:

  • Bachelor of Engineering (BE, BEng, BAI);
  • Bachelor of Science Engineering (BScEng, BS / BSc Engineering);
  • Bachelor of Engineering Science (BEngSc);
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE);
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc).

More narrow areas of engineering can be called Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) and Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME).

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE, MscEng) is different from the degree of Master of Engineering. An MSE can include writing a dissertation and the holder can apply for a PhD. The Master of Engineering, in turn, works on a project, not scientific work, and usually cannot go to doctoral studies after graduation.

Doctor of Engineering (EngD, DEng, DEngr, DrEng) — PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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Scholarships and free engineering education

  • Malaysia International Scholarship (MIS) — international scholarship, financed by the Government of Malaysia. Applicants from Malaysian universities at the master's and doctoral levels can apply for MIS. Priority is given to students of science and engineering. The scholarship covers airfares, tuition fees, insurance, other expenses (related to scientific work, literature purchasing, domestic travel, etc.), and also provides monthly payments.
  • The SWE Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to women enrolled in accredited bachelor’s or master’s programs in Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Computer Science. In order to participate in the competition, you must have a high GPA (3.0-3.5). Details can be found on the official website.
  • AACE International offers scholarships to American and international students pursuing a program of study related to cost engineering/cost management. The size of the scholarship is 2,500 USD. Only outstanding students with high academic achievements are awarded these scholarships[4].

Many universities provide grants for engineering students:

Engineering internships

Google Internships are offered to engineering students. Internships usually last 12-14 weeks. The requirements depend on each specific proposal, but a resume, transcript of assessments and an interview are required. Information to help you prepare for your internship can be found on YouTube[5].

Boeing invites bachelor’s and master’s students in aerospace, chemical, construction, computer, electrical, industrial, material, mechanical/structural, or software engineering. The internship is designed for 10-12 weeks of full time work. Detailed information can be found on the company's website.

Chevron internships accept outstanding students in chemical / electrical / mechanical / oil / construction engineering. Internships take place in the United States, so it is preferable for applicants to study at a local

university. More information can be found here.

Internships are to be searched in engineering-related companies. Large and well-known enterprises usually have high competition. Here it is important to carefully prepare your documents and have achievements that will distinguish you from the crowd.

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Employment prospects with an engineering degree

Students choose a specialization during admission, so, as a rule, they know exactly what they will be doing. Engineers are in high demand in the market and can almost always find work. For example, in the USA it is a popular[6] and highly paid[1] profession. According to forecasts by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for engineers will increase by 139,300 from 2016 to 2026[7]. In some countries, after bachelor’s studies, you must additionally obtain a license to start working. However, it should be kept in mind that despite the large number of vacancies, competition is also high, especially in large firms[6].

How much does an engineer earn?

CountryMin. salary/yearAvg. salary/year
USA42,200 USD91,700 USD
Great Britain24,110 USD76,009 USD
Australia15,910 USD50,152 USD
Canada23,663 USD74,686 USD
Singapore24,124 USD52,343 USD
South Korea9,374 USD29,596 USD
Germany13,278 USD41,875 USD
France14,428 USD45,346 USD
Czech Republic8,379 USD26,432 USD
Russia3,912 USD5,915 USD

Interesting facts about engineering education

  • Initially, engineering was passed as skill from a teacher to apprentice in the process of work. Such training existed even in the Antiquity and Middle Ages. The student entered the master's workshop and adopted his knowledge. After learning everything the master was willing to teach, the apprentice was ready to open his own workshop.
  • There is a stereotype that only men work in engineering. This is partly true: for example, in the UK for 2018, only 12.37% of all engineers were female[8], but recently the trend has begun to slowly change. So, according to SWE research, in 2007, of all people who wanted to study in STEM only 3.7% were women, while in 2017 this figure increased to 9.5%. The percentage of women with bachelor's degrees in engineering and computer science grew by 58% from 2012 to 2017[9].
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