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The Best Colleges for Civil Engineering

written by: Ryan Tetzlaff • edited by: Bright Hub Engineering Staff • updated: 12/11/2017

Civil Engineering may not get as much attention as other STEM disciplines but it’s an important area of study if you want to work on the design, construction and maintenance of civil projects like roadways, bridges and buildings. Learn about the best colleges for a civil engineering degree.

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    The Best Colleges for Civil Engineering According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, civil engineers have a positive outlook ahead. About 32,000 new jobs will be created for civil engineers which equates to an 11% increase between 2016 and 2026. A degree in civil engineering will also net you a great starting salary as civil engineers are on our list of top 25 highest paying STEM majors.

    Below are the top 10 ranked colleges for Civil Engineering. In order to rank these colleges, we look at numerous criteria including early career salaries, how many students study this major at the school and overall school quality. For more information, take a look at our ranking methodology.

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    1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Perhaps better known as MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is our top ranked school for civil engineering. Not only is the program top ranked, MIT has some of the highest paid grads of any civil engineering program. MIT is a medium sized school with about 4500 undergraduates and 6800 graduates. With a high percentage of full-time teachers and low student to faculty ratio, the general instruction is superb.

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    2. Stanford University

    Stanford University located in sunny Stanford, California has about 16,000 students. Stanford ranks #2 in the nation for civil engineering programs. Like MIT, they also have highly paid grads from the civil engineering program and offer a good value for this program. A small student to faculty ratio of 11:1 gives students a comfortable learning experience where every voice can be heard.

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    3. Georgia Institute of Technology

    Georgia Institute of Technology – also known as Georgia Tech is a large public school located in Atlanta, Georgia. Although the student to faculty ratio is a bit higher than MIT and Stanford (19:1), a large majority of instructors are considered full time. Civil engineering is a very popular major at Georgia Tech with about 130 graduates last year. Georgia tech brings a lot of value and offers decent starting salaries for graduates.

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    4. Stevens Institute of Technology

    Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT) is a small private college located in Hoboken, New Jersey. SIT is one of the oldest technological universities in the US. They offer a large number of strong engineering programs including civil engineering. A low student to faculty ratio of 10:1 and high percentage of full time faculty offer students a quality education.

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    5. Carnegie Mellon University

    Ranked #30 in the nation overall and #5 for civil engineering, Carnegie Mellon University is a high quality school offering students a high earnings boost. About 6000 undergraduates attend Carnegie and of these, about 400 are in one of the many engineering fields offered. Like other schools on this list, Carnegie offers low student to faculty ratios and a high percentage of full time instructors.

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    6. University of California – Davis

    One of the ten campuses in the University of California system, UC Davis is a large public university with about 29,000 undergraduates. If you’ve been wanting to attend a large public school, this is just one of a few options on this list. Although the school is large, only about 140 students are currently enrolled in the Civil Engineering program. UC Davis offers quality instruction at a public school price.

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    7. University of California – Berkeley

    The University of California – Berkeley is the flagship campus in the University of California system. Although Berkeley has more undergraduates overall than its sister UC Davis, fewer students major in civil engineering – only about 50 in total. Berkeley has the location advantage being located just across the San Francisco bay while UC Davis is located more inland.

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    8. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a small private university located in Troy New York. With a focus on science on technology, most of the students attending RPI major in one of the many engineering degrees offered by this school. About 50 students graduated with bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering last year. With a small student to faculty ratio of 15:1 and mostly full time instructors, RPI offers students a quality education.

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    9. New Jersey Institute of Technology

    Over 100 students earned Bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering last year from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) making this school one of the most popular for this major. NJIT is located minutes from downtown Newark, New York and is within the New York metropolitan area. Costs are low compared to other schools on this list with NJIT being a large public school. If you want to attend school in one of the most populous places in the US, NJIT may be a good fit for you!

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    10. Virginia Polytechnic Institute

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute – more commonly referred to as Virginia Tech is a large public university located in Blacksburg, Virginia. Like NJIT, Virginia Tech hosts a large number of civil engineer majors – with about 200 graduates last year. Like other schools on this list, students attending Virginia Tech will see low student to faculty ratios and a high percentage of full time teachers – nearly 90%!

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