Cincinnati sits on the hills that border Kentucky.

Nestled in the heart of the so-called Rust Belt, Ohio is a state of many cities, many factories and many great engineering programs. A survey of Ohio’s top engineering programs covers almost every major city in the state, including capital Columbus, pretty Cincinnati, industrial Dayton, and rock ’n’ roll mecca Cleveland.

Ohio State University

Ranked 29th in the nation for its engineering college and 10th in the nation for its agricultural engineering college by U.S. News & World Report, Ohio State is a big school that offers big opportunities for engineers. The engineering college has more National Science Foundation Industry University Research Centers than any of its competitors. It also has an ongoing research and scholarship partnership with Honda of America Manufacturing. The city of Columbus sponsors city and regional planning programs in which engineering students can attend OSU tuition-free in exchange for 20 hours of weekly labor at local utilities, transportation and planning offices. The engineering college offers research opportunities in cybersecurity, water cleaning and conservation and solar energy, amongst others.

Case Western Reserve University

U.S. News ranks the engineering college at Case Western University in Cleveland 51st in the nation, but it ranks the college’s biomedical engineering program higher at 14th. Its materials engineering program is ranked 31st, and its mechanical engineering program is ranked 38th. The college encourages interdisciplinary study: one third of all engineering students pursue a dual degree or minor in the liberal arts. Additionally, the college enjoys ongoing partnerships that offer students additional research and learning opportunities, including programs with the Cleveland Institute of Art, The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals of Cleveland, NASA Glenn Research Center and a number of Fortune 500 companies.

The University of Dayton

The University of Dayton is a small Catholic school in the industrial center of Dayton, about an hour from Cincinnati. UD’s engineering school ranks 63rd in the nation, according to U.S. News. Much of the research conducted by students takes place at the $4 million Innovation Center, where students partner with their peers in the law and business schools to tackle intellectual property issues surrounding their inventions and to test the market feasibility of their ideas. Students can also participate in ETHOS, a volunteer program in which they utilize their technical skills to implement life-enhancing projects in Third World countries.

The University of Cincinnati

While U.S. News ranks the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science 81st nationally, it ranks UC’s engineering co-op program in the top four for U.S. schools. Engineering students can pursue co-op options locally or anywhere in the United States as well as internationally. They can also choose work that has a practical, industrial focus or an experimental, theoretical focus. Other research opportunities include the design of medical devices in conjunction with students from other disciplines and an advanced course in aerospace engineering at the GE Aviation complex in nearby Evendale. Additionally, students can serve in a volunteer program run through Cincinnati public schools, and the college has established special offices to support ethnic minority and women engineers to ensure that these students stay in the discipline.