As ranked by US News & World Report and Graduates Hotline, the best small engineering colleges not only offer smaller classroom sizes and more attention from professors, they offer students the opportunity to personalize their degree with the interdisciplinary approach to education that liberal arts colleges are known for. Students can form significant working relationships with faculty at small colleges who can attest to their character as well as their skills in letters of recommendation for graduate schools or jobs.
Harvey Mudd College
Founded by a mining engineer in 1955 and still small by choice, with just over 700 students and 80 faculty members, the Harvey Mudd College (HMC) remains committed to teaching the sciences and engineering in concert with the humanities. All Mudd College undergraduates must take classes across the curriculum to fulfill their "Common Core" requirements, which also include an inter-disciplinary "Integrative Experience" course. HMC engineering undergraduates all earn an unspecialized bachelor's degree that they can tailor their program of study beyond the required classes to highlight whatever engineering specialty they want. HMC keeps a general engineering degree because its founder believed that only a broad engineering program could foster creative solutions for new technological needs. Typically, engineering majors study abroad one semester of their junior year. The HMC Study Abroad office can help students choose the school they want and coordinate all the details. Engineering majors also have the opportunity to gain workforce experience as an intern for a local company and to apply for departmental awards and scholarships.
Harvey Mudd College 301 Platt Blvd. Claremont, CA 91711 909-621-8000 hmc.edu
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
With just under 2,000 students and set on a 200-acre campus east of Terre Haute, Indiana, the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) offers six different engineering degrees including Mechanical, Chemical, and Civil Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Engineering Management and Applied Biology & Biomedical Engineering. Students an also choose to minor in Environmental Engineering. RHIT offers an aggressive, fast-paced curriculum in engineering so that undergraduates both do graduate-level work in advanced courses and have time for a yearlong senior design project. RHIT engineering undergraduates must take 16 to 19 courses in their department from a total of 40 to 45 courses offered for graduation, with a minimum of nine course in the humanities and social sciences. RHIT encourages its seniors to take the national Fundamental of Engineering Exam that most take after graduation. RHIT seniors have a higher pass rate than the national average.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 5500 Wabash Ave. Terre Haute, IN 47803 812-877-1511 rose-hulman.edu
The Cooper Union
The Albert Nerken School of Engineering at The Cooper Union (CU) is its largest, with an average of 550 students, and offers six degrees in chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical, interdisciplinary and general engineering. Each program includes engineering's societal and holistic aspects. Requirements for the bachelor's degree must be completed within four years and include 19 courses in engineering, physical science, mathematics and humanities and social sciences. Students can take advantage of the programs offered by the Professional Development Group, including "CONNECT," which builds engineers' presentation and communication skills for a workforce that increasingly relies on video conferencing. Admission to the school is competitive and requires SAT I and SAT II scores and two to three letters of recommendation. Once the application has been filed, CU mails applicants a questionnaire that must be answered in essay format. While CU has no set formula for admissions, all factors are weighed to determine which applicants will make the best match with the institution, which since its founding in 1859 has offered full scholarships to each of its students.
The Cooper Union Albert Nerken School of Engineering 30 Cooper Sq., 8th Floor New York, NY 10003 212-353-4100 cooper.edu
- engineering detail image by Brian Stewart-Coxon from Fotolia.com