2023 Best Undergraduate Engineering Schools in Pennsylvania

2022-2023 Engineering Colleges of Distinction

Published: September 1, 2022

By: Colleges of Distinction Staff

Jump to: Bucknell University | Elizabethtown College | Geneva College | Grove City College | Lafayette College | Lehigh University | Messiah University | PennWest University | Saint Francis University | University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown | Villanova University | York College of Pennsylvania | Frequently Asked Questions

Unsurprisingly, today’s labor trends suggest that there is strong and consistent growth across engineering professions, which are increasing their demand for talented, diverse, dedicated individuals. That’s why we at Colleges of Distinction are proud to announce our 2022-2023 selection of excellent schools for engineering majors in Pennsylvania!

These colleges and universities have demonstrated a commitment to the Four Distinctions, which ensure quality and student success throughout it programming. And, as Pennsylvania Engineering Colleges of Distinction, they enrich their engineering programs with a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and well-connected curriculum. Prospective students know that an education from a 2022-2023 Pennsylvania Engineering College of Distinction will prepare them for their futures as innovators.

What makes a 2022-2023 Pennsylvania Engineering College of Distinction?

Stability and quality of these programs are evidenced by their accreditation by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).

Practical experience is a given through internships, co-ops, and experiential learning, all of which help students apply their knowledge to the real world.

Multidisciplinary options are available to students, such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, computer engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Collaborative work is encouraged in the classroom, so students learn to be effective team members and leaders.

Soft skills—such as communication, leadership, and teamwork—are emphasized to ensure that students are not just skilled engineers, but also resilient and capable professionals.

Facility investments keep schools’ technology up to date while supporting students along their academic journey.

Dedicated advising and counseling is available to be specifically geared toward engineering students.

High-impact practices, which are intrinsic to every College of Distinction, are fully embraced within the engineering curriculum that are important to all colleges of distinction are incorporated in the engineering curriculum.

Industry connections cultivate an environment for students to create a valuable professional network.


Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Bucknell’s College of Engineering provides its students with the tools to question, explore, synthesize and fully participate in the achievement of their professional and personal goals. As a Bucknell engineering student, you’ll discover innovative, one-of-a-kind opportunities to prepare for a meaningful career.

Bucknell is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education’s Engineering Deans Diversity Initiative. We live this commitment to increasing opportunity for women and other underrepresented demographic groups to pursue meaningful engineering careers. In fact, our enrollment of women engineering majors is among the highest in the nation by percentage.

Acceptance rate 38% • Net price $39,359 • SAT Range 1250-1430 • Students submitting SAT scores 54%
Total Undergrad Population 3,726 • Setting Town • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 88% • Retention rate 92% • Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 169

Engineering Majors Offered

Biomedical/Medical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Computer Engineering
Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
Mechanical Engineering


Elizabethtown College logo

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Elizabethtown College is a selective, independent, residential, coeducational college located on 204-acres in south central Pennsylvania. Its approximately 1,600 undergraduates hail from 28 states and 15 countries.

CORE PROGRAM
The structure of the Core Program supports the academic goals expressed in Elizabethtown College’s mission statement and allows students to connect the dots across disciplines as they explore subjects beyond their intended majors. One of the most innovative aspects of the Core is the Interdisciplinary Colloquium pilot program, which features courses that are team-taught across two Core Areas of Understanding by faculty members from two different departments. These courses offer dynamic opportunities for teaching and learning as well as a distinct curricular advantage: students completing an Interdisciplinary Colloquium fulfill the requirements for two Areas of Understanding at once and thereby make room for a Core elective.

The Engineering major at Elizabethtown College, located in south-central Pennsylvania, is a rigorous program designed to lead students to a technical career in the workforce or to a graduate school to study engineering. The school produces well-rounded generalist engineers who understand the mechanical and electrical systems of a design and how those systems interact with the environment and with industry. ETown challenges students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills, pushing them to become innovators of the future. Students receive personal attention from our faculty members and gain hands-on experience in design and fabrication. 

Acceptance rate 86% • Net price $25,767 • SAT Range 1080-1280 • Students submitting SAT scores 85%
Total Undergrad Population 1,881 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 72% • Retention rate 89% • Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 43

Engineering Majors Offered

Engineering, General
Computer Engineering


Geneva College logo

Geneva College

Beaver Falls, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Geneva College is a Christ-centered academic community that provides a comprehensive education to equip students for faithful and fruitful service to God and neighbor. Geneva offers over 80 traditional undergraduate majors and programs, including nursing, management, marketing, and cybersecurity, an array of fully online bachelor’s programs designed to be attainable for busy adults, and five high-demand graduate degrees in both classroom and online formats. The ABET-accredited engineering program is a Top 100 Best Undergraduate Engineering Program in the nation.

Engineering makes our world better. Geneva engineers understand their work as essential to a well-functioning society. Through Geneva’s ABET-accredited engineering program, students can learn to create, design, and build a better tomorrow while actively growing in their faith and exploring the relationship between faith and the built environment.

Employers of Geneva graduates say students demonstrate subject matter excellence and professional preparation; dependability and strong work ethic; and an exceptional ability to engage others constructively in workplace contexts.

Acceptance rate 73% • Net price $19,967
Total Undergrad Population 1,349 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 72% • Retention rate 78% • Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 50

Engineering Majors Offered

Engineering, General
Chemical Engineering


Grove City College

Grove City, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Faculty and staff equip students to discover and pursue their unique callings through an academically excellent and Christ-centered learning and living experience. Students flourish at Grove City College because faith is the foundation of everything they do. From the classroom to the practice fields, from the dining halls to the dormitories, the entire College community seeks to understand how they might bring God’s glory into all daily activities. Such a campus-wide commitment encourages and supports students as they develop into leaders with these core values: faithfulness, excellence, community, stewardship, and independence.

Grove City’s STEM programs are taught by dedicated faculty who mentor you and help you identify the right professional career to make a difference in the world. Faculty are involved in a variety of applied research activities and have partnerships with many top tier corporations.

Learning by doing is a key part of the curriculum, and many students participate in internships and industry-sponsored projects which give you an opportunity to apply your knowledge towards solving some of society’s greatest challenges. You will be industry ready on day one or ensure you are ready to pursue a doctoral degree in your chosen field of study.

Acceptance rate 73%      •      Tuition $19,990      •      SAT Range 1137-1368
Total Undergrad Population 2,317      •      Christian 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 87%      •      Retention rate 89%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

Engineering Majors Offered

Computer Engineering
Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
Mechanical Engineering


Lafayette College

Easton, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Lafayette wants its students to be in a constant state of learning—a process that involves participation in class, engagement in subject matters, and challenging one’s surroundings. The student that takes control of their educational experience has the freedom to explore their potential, while learning to adapt to the changing needs of society. And that makes for one marketable individual.

AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
Lafayette gives its students several opportunities to learn outside of the traditional classroom setting. Study abroad is embraced by Lafayette as an integral part of an undergraduate experience. Students that study abroad gain cross-cultural communication skills, as well as an appreciation for another culture. Other non-traditional opportunities include: undergraduate research, first-year seminars, and community outreach.

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR (FYS)
First-year seminar courses are limited to 16 students per class. These courses cover special topics and are vital for improving writing and communication skills. Students are taught to participate and actively engage with other peers. Students will also learn the basics of research, a valuable skill that can be used throughout all four years of college.

The Engineering Division emphasizes close interaction between students and faculty, and offers a wide range of opportunities to conduct research, complete hands-on design projects and study abroad.

Engineering at Lafayette not only provides an outstanding technical education, but also prepares students with the ability to think creatively, imagine broadly, communicate effectively and influence change.

FACULTY ADVISER
Every incoming student is assigned a faculty adviser that assists with academic and career related questions. Faculty advisers work with students through their sophomore year. Once a student has declared their major, they are re-directed to the chair or adviser of their chosen department. Students are encouraged to maintain contact with faculty advisers. Communication can be highly beneficial as advisers are highly knowledgeable on academic and personal opportunities.

Acceptance rate 36% • Net price $28,735 • SAT Range 1250-1440 • Students submitting SAT scores 75%
Total Undergrad Population 2,514 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 90% • Retention rate 87% • Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 159

Engineering Majors Offered

Engineering, General
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
Mechanical Engineering


Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Lehigh’s engineering program has a long track record of ingenuity and success reaching all corners of the world.

That all began with Lehigh’s founding in 1865, when its multidisciplinary approach to education and research first started. Lehigh’s engineers have embraced our entrepreneurial culture for well over 150 years, establishing a heritage of leadership and collaboration that still thrives today.

Lehigh’s engineering students are encouraged to think holistically about societal challenges. It’s a matter of perspective: Lehigh engineers work with their peers to understand issues from a wide viewpoint rather than one niche discipline. And they learn to think flexibly in an evolving marketplace of ideas.

Today, Lehigh among the most research-intensive engineering programs in the United States.

At Lehigh today, engineering students are leaders on campus—in theater and music groups, in athletics and student government, and in fraternities and sororities. They are prepared to succeed generations of Lehigh engineers who have earned renown for their contributions not just to engineering, but also to business, law, medicine and education.

Acceptance rate 50% • Net price $29,098 • SAT Range 1260-1433 • Students submitting SAT scores 70%
Total Undergrad Population 7,067 • Setting City: Small • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 88% • Retention rate 91% • Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 348

Engineering Majors Offered

Engineering, General
Biomedical/Medical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Computer Engineering
Electrical, Electronics, and Communications EngineeringEngineering Physics
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
Materials Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Industrial Engineering


Messiah College is now Messiah University logo

Messiah University

Mechanicsburg, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Messiah University is nationally recognized for bringing together top-tier academics and Christian faith. The University’s motto, “Christ Preeminent,” shapes every experience its students have at school. Lifelong friendships. Support from faculty mentors. Outstanding preparation for life and career. Championship athletics. Celebrated arts programs. Transformational service and ministry. Eye-opening study abroad. At Messiah, one’s life, faith, world, and possibilities open up. Students come to see anew.

Messiah University is a liberal arts and applied sciences University founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church. Though it is no longer legally owned by the Brethren in Christ Church, the University continues to emphasize its Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan theological heritage. Now the University’s faith base is broadly evangelical and includes students and employees from a variety of denominations and Christian faith traditions.

The mission of the Engineering Department comprises three elements: technical competency, breadth of education, and consistency with Christian faith commitments.  The following program educational objectives drive the development and delivery of our programs:

  • Graduates will be technically competent in their engineering specialty area and able to perform essential engineering functions in their career of choice.
    • Furthermore, graduates will continue to learn and hone competencies necessary to their career through graduate education, participation in professional activities/societies, or other means relevant to their work.
  • Graduates will be broadly educated, prepared to:
    • Work effectively in an interdisciplinary, diverse, and team-based environment,
    • Generate creative solutions,
    • Lead others in bringing ideas to reality, and
    • Communicate clearly in both technical and lay settings.
  • Graduates will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Christian faith, pursuing their work with a servant’s heart and a keen awareness of social responsibility.

Acceptance rate 78% • Net price $27,641 • SAT Range 1080-1310 • Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 3,370 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 79% • Retention rate 86% • Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 55

Engineering Majors Offered

Engineering, General
Biomedical/Medical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
Mechanical Engineering


PennWest University

California, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

PennWest California was founded in 1852 to prepare teachers for Pennsylvania’s classrooms. Today, Cal U has grown to a mid-size public university that offers over 100 undergraduate and more than 95 graduate programs of study in education, human services, the liberal arts, business, science, and technology. 

The University focuses on applied learning, which positions students of all ages and backgrounds for career success, whether they choose to study on campus or online. Located south of Pittsburgh, PennWest is a proud member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
PennWest undergraduate students don’t just learn about what others have done—they make discoveries and contributions of their own, unlocking a world of possibility.

Working closely with professors in subjects that range from biology to theatre, they engage in research, scholarship, and creative projects through PennWest’s Center for Undergraduate Research, which may even provide funding for their work. Students who have done research at the undergraduate level stand out when applying for jobs or graduate school.

Of course, research needs to be shared. To that end, PennWest’s Center for Undergraduate Research hosts an annual research showcase on campus and supports travel to conferences throughout the United States. There, undergraduates present their projects, engage with others working in the field, and build their professional network.

Acceptance rate 94% • Net price $19,116 • SAT Range 920-1120 • Students submitting SAT scores 79%
Total Undergrad Population 6,885 • Setting Suburb • Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 50% • Retention rate 70% • Student-to-faculty ratio 19:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 44

Engineering Majors Offered

Mechatronics Robotics and Automation Engineering
Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technologies/Technicians
Industrial Production Technologies/Technicians
Computer Engineering Technologies/Technicians


Saint Francis University logo

Saint Francis University

Loretto, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Saint Francis University offers academic study within the Franciscan tradition of using one’s talents to serve others. The more than 60 offerings include highly targeted, career-focused majors grounded in the liberal arts tradition of inquiry and self-discovery. Highly regarded programs in health science, education, business, and science attract a diverse student body to the beautiful campus setting. The values of respect, faith, generosity, and joy run deep in the University culture and help to prepare ethical, knowledgeable professionals with a passion to shape the world. This holistic approach to career preparation is supported by respected faculty who work closely with students in small settings to meet individual goals.

Robust engineering programs offered in a small liberal arts setting in Loretto, Pennsylvania. No matter which discipline you choose, you’ll work on authentic projects that make a difference both in Pennsylvania and abroad.  

The SFU Advantage:

  • wide-ranging studies filled with exploration time
  • Ph.D.-level faculty mentors who know your name
  • in-depth time to use lab equipment and industry software
  • real-world projects and service opportunities 
  • emphasis on communication skills 
  • guidance on internships and job placements

Acceptance rate 59% • Net price $29,393 • SAT Range 1010-1220 • Students submitting SAT scores 89%
Total Undergrad Population 2,769 • Setting Town • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 63% • Retention rate 96% • Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 15

Engineering Majors Offered

Computer Engineering
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Petroleum Engineering


University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Johnstown, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

The first regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh system—and one of the first regional campuses of a leading university in the United States—University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown supports inquisitive minds across 70 programs of study. Its founding in 1927 sparked an impressive development in higher education, providing the world-class University of Pittsburgh education to a comfortable residential campus within the lush Laurel Highlands.

Pitt-Johnstown is proud to support its community of Mountain Cats with a curriculum that is up to date with the world’s demands. No matter the discipline, the University has continually evolved its programs to ensure that every student gets the most out of their education. This kind of responsive educational framework creates leaders who are prepared for careers in nursing, engineering, the humanities, and more.

PARTNERS IN RESEARCH
Even in the lush, natural landscape of the Laurel Highlands, Pitt-Johnstown acts as a beacon of and launchpad for cutting-edge inquiry. The Symposium for the Promotion of Academic and Creative Inquiry, or SPACE, is a greatly anticipated event in which students from all disciplines showcase their innovative work. Because students from all fields are involved, the entire campus community is only further immersed in Pitt-Johnstown’s well-rounded ideals of education. Those who participate can both share what inspires them and learn about what inspires their peers.

What’s more, Pitt-Johnstown’s partnership with the Windber Research Institute (WRI) has gotten the University in touch with pioneering research in the health sciences. This collaboration puts students first in line for internship opportunities and other projects related to breast cancer and disease prevention.

From health and engineering to literature and the arts, Mountain Cats are sinking their teeth into groundbreaking work.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown offers Bachelor of Science degrees in engineering and computer science. 

Pitt-Johnstown graduates have a greater-than-90% employment rate within three months of graduation and are aggressively recruited by engineering firms. 

Acceptance rate 87% • Net price $17,574 • SAT Range 1010-1190 • Students submitting SAT scores 93%
Total Undergrad Population 2,356 • Setting Suburb • Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 54% • Retention rate 78% • Student-to-faculty ratio 17:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 130

Engineering Majors Offered

Chemical Engineering Civil Engineering Computer Engineering Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Civil Engineering Technologies/Technicians Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technologies/Technicians
Mechanical Engineering Related Technologies/Technicians


Villanova University

Villanova, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Villanova University was founded in 1842 by the Order of St. Augustine. To this day, Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition is the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s six colleges.

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
Undergraduate research is alive and well at Villanova. For many years now, the university has excelled at research, with many works going on to be published or presented. Many like to believe that research is limited to the laboratory. This is simply not true. Each and every discipline has opportunities to engage in research, and Villanova encourages all of its students to take part.

There are incredible benefits to research. Students that participate gain valuable skills in inquiry, citation, critical thinking, and higher level conceptualization. Externally, undergraduate research looks impressive to both graduate schools and employers.

FALVEY SCHOLARS
The Falvey Scholars program awards superior work in undergraduate research. Each year, a group of students is nominated for their exceptional work. A committee then selects the recipients from the group of nominated students. Awards are given in five areas: Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, and Business. Selected students are given the opportunity to share their findings with the campus community.

Acceptance rate 31% • Net price $38,303 • SAT Range 1320-1460 • Students submitting SAT scores 60%
Total Undergrad Population 11,032 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 92% • Retention rate 96% • Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 251

Engineering Majors Offered

Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Computer Engineering
Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
Mechanical Engineering


York College in York, PA

York College of Pennsylvania

York, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Students come to York College of Pennsylvania because they want to take action. They want internships and paid cooperative learning. They want to conduct research with faculty and meet with their professors one-on-one. They want to get engaged right away, joining the school’s award-winning radio station or entering in the Elevator Pitch Competition. And, most of all, they want to pay half of what other top private colleges are asking without sacrificing a solid education. From day one, York College does all that and more.

HANDS-ON DEVELOPMENT
Career readiness is a priority at York College. Students can conduct research alongside their professors and present their findings at national conferences. They can also develop their leadership skills by participating in group projects and planning such student-run events as the popular Spartapalooza. Further professional development comes naturally with all of York’s access to internships. In fact, engineering students are required to take paid cooperative learning assignments, and many other academic programs require capstone projects. These all give students the ability to display tangible proof of their acquired skills to potential employers.

Acceptance rate 71% • Net price $22,876 • SAT Range 990-1190 • Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 4,039 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 65% • Retention rate 77% • Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1
Total undergrad engineering degrees granted last year 87

Engineering Majors Offered

Engineering, General
Civil Engineering
Computer Engineering
Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
Mechanical Engineering


What it’s like to attend engineering school in Pennsylvania and other FAQ:

What are average tuition costs in Pennsylvania?

The average tuition of Pennsylvania colleges is $11,694 for Pennsylvania residents and $18,884 for students from other states.

What are average salaries for engineering majors in Pennsylvania?

The average salary for business graduates in entry-level positions is $50,000, with top earners earning around $61,339 annually.

Most popular engineering degree programs in Pennsylvania

Mechanical Engineering – 1,119 degrees awarded in 2020
Electrical Electronics and Communications Engineering – 557 graduates
Chemical Engineering – 480 graduates
Civil Engineering – 459
Biomedical/Medical Engineering – 360

Cheapest engineering degree program in Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown has an average net price of $17,574 making it the least expensive engineering degree program in Pennsylvania that made our list.

Easiest engineering degree program to get into in Pennsylvania

PennWest University has an acceptance rate of 94%, with an SAT range of 920-1120, making it the least exclusive college with a business program on our list.

Engineering degree program with lowest student debt in Pennsylvania

Lafayette College has a median total debt after graduation of $17,500 This is the typical debt for a student who completed their undergraduate degree.

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