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Choosing the Best Structural Engineering Colleges

written by: John Moehring • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 3/10/2010

Searching for the top engineering colleges for civil and structural engineering? There are many outstanding institutions to consider, and here is one possible short list of only some of the most notable choices. Visit the websites, talk to alumni, and otherwise do the homework when deciding.

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    Narrowing Down the Selection

    For prospective structural engineering students, choosing an institution of higher learning can be a complex task. Many factors come into play, such as the reputation of the college, specialties offered, cost and availability of financial aid, location, career placement, and potential alumni support are just some of those factors. And while there are more than a few top engineering colleges with structural engineering degree programs worth mentioning, the following selection appears to figure fairly prominently in many ratings systems and discussion forums:

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    Pennsylvania State University

    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA.

    Diverse B.S., M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees with emphasis in several technical disciplines such as: Civil Systems; Construction; Environmental & Water Resources; Geotechnical and Materials Engineering; Structures; and Transportation. One of the most comprehensive engineering programs in the world.

    Web sites: Civil And Environmental Engineering-Structural Engineering: http://www.engr.psu.edu/CE/Divisions/structure/structure.htm

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    University of Illinois at Urbana

    601 E. John Street Champaign, IL 61820-5711 USA.

    Ranks in the top five U.S. engineering colleges and in the top three engineering programs in the world. Deep, well established programs and research centers.

    Web site: Civil And Environmental Engineering-Structural Engineering: http://cee.illinois.edu/StrucEng

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    Western Michigan University

    1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo MI 49008-5200 USA

    Undergraduate degree program designed to prepare for work immediately in many civil engineering careers, including structural and geotechnical engineering. Also offers graduate course work leading to a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering including structural engineering specializations.

    Web site: Civil and Construction Engineering: http://www.wmich.edu/cce/about.php

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    University of California- San Diego

    Voigt Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093 USA

    UCSD's Structural Engineering Department offers B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. One of the consistently top-ranked public U.S. universities, diverse engineering and science programs including structural engineering.

    Web site: UCSD Structural Engineering Department: http://structures.ucsd.edu/

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    The University of Sheffield

    Sir Frederick Mappin Building, Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD UK

    One of the most active civil engineering programs in the UK. Consistently top-ranked university world wide, diverse civil engineering and science programs including structural engineering.

    Web site: Civil and Structural Engineering Department: http://www.euroeducation.net/euro/sheffield_university_stuctural_engineering.htm

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    University of Toronto

    35 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1A4 CA

    One of Canada's largest, top ranked universities, with a well established civil engineering program and structural engineering specialties.

    Web site: Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering: http://www.civil.engineering.utoronto.ca/Page13.aspx

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    Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant, MI 48859 USA

    Good structural engineering programs, notable for the specialized B.S. degree in Vehicle Engineering Design Technology.

    Web site: Department of Engineering and Technology: http://www.cmich.edu/Admissions/Academic_Programs/Science_and_Technology/Vehicle_Engineering_Design_Tech.htm

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    Making The Best Choice

    There are no standard formulas to determine which institution suits an individual’s educational needs for pursuing an advanced civil engineering or structural engineering degree. While preferred lists and ranking systems can narrow down some choices, there is no substitute for asking questions, visiting websites, reviewing curriculum offerings, faculty, and staff. If an actual site visit cannot be arranged, the websites of many colleges offer virtual online tours of campus and housing facilities for critical review. Members of alumni associations are also typically available to answer email or telephone inquiries. When making a choice of this nature, it really pays to do the homework!

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    About The Author:

    John Moehring is a practicing Engineering Technologist in civil, geological, biological, and electrical engineering fields. And one of these days he may actually get it right.