Engineering – the application of science and math to solving real-world problems – is one of the most popular, rigorous, and potentially lucrative college majors today. Engineers build, tinker, design, invent, re-think, develop, test, and modify countless fixtures of our daily lives. An education in engineering prepares students to apply mathematical and scientific principles to nearly every problem under the sun.
Speaking of sun, the state of Florida is home to some incredible engineering programs for undergrads. Where better to study engineering than the Sunshine State, a powerhouse in the fields of engineering (especially aerospace) and technology?
The possibilities for engineering in Florida schools are nearly endless, and the job market is exceptionally favorable; engineers consistently rank among the highest-paid college graduates and are expected to remain in high demand in the years to come.
So, how do Florida’s engineering schools stack up? What are the top engineering schools in Florida? Before we dive in, here’s a quick note about the rankings: they’re based on each school’s appearance in the US News National Engineering Schools Ranking. In the US News rankings, #4 and #5 are tied, and so are #8 and #9. Because only 9 Florida schools are listed in the US News list, the College Gazette editorial team has awarded a tenth place ranking.
Ready, set, let’s tinker.
10. University of North Florida School of Engineering (Jacksonville, FL)
UNF’s School of Engineering is housed within the College of Computing, Engineering & Construction. The School offers Bachelor of Science degrees in a variety of engineering disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, among others.
In addition to hands-on research opportunities and K-12 outreach efforts, UNF engineering students benefit from a robust Career Development Center that features resume and interview help, networking events and mixers, and an annual Employer Showcase, Internship & Career Fair.
Students can also elect to participate in a number of engineering-related clubs and extracurriculars, ranging from the Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society to the Florida Engineering Society to Osprey Robotics.
The unique UNF Taylor Engineering Research Institute specializing in coastal cngineering makes ample use of the state’s expansive coastlines, promoting scholarship that is powerfully relevant to Florida.
9. Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, FL)
Florida Tech’s College of Engineering and Science (COES) is the University’s largest and most research-oriented branch, and is the reason Florida Tech is dubbed “Florida’s STEM University.” COES consists of nearly every major engineering department available at a top-tier engineering university
COES offers dozens of potential specializations within these departments – everything from traditional fields like civil engineering and software engineering to more niche areas like earth remote sensing, biological oceanography, information assurance, cybersecurity, and conservation technology.
Recently named a “Green College” by the Princeton Review, Florida Tech offers engineering students research opportunities in sites like the Indian River Lagoon, a stone’s throw from campus. Additionally, Florida Tech boasts a new 61,000 square-foot Health Sciences Research Center, providing students state-of-the-art resources, classrooms, and labs for STEM students.
8. Florida Atlantic University College of Engineering (Boca Raton, FL)
FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science cultivates students’ “unbridled ambition” and supports diverse research objectives. Of the many projects FAU has sponsored, recent ones include intrauterine malaria treatments for babies and a groundbreaking bioengineered robotic hand. FAU seeks to direct the power of engineering toward solving real-world problems.
One exciting program at FAU is in Ocean Engineering! In fact, when founded in 1965, the Ocean Engineering program was the first of its kind in the country; to this day, it remains on the cutting edge of the field.
Supporting the ocean engineering program are two key research centers at the university, the Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology and the Center for Ocean Energy Technology, both of which enhance FAU’s long record of strong scholarship, innovation, and training in these domains. In fact, the US Department of Energy named FAU one of only three national centers for ocean energy research and development!
7. Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing (Miami, FL)
Florida International University’s College of Engineering prides itself on innovation and cutting-edge research. In 2020, engineering and computing researchers at the College were awarded 41 patents, and the College’s roster of 117 faculty members includes experts in nearly every imaginable domain of engineering.
FIU’s engineering program, and FIU as a whole, are committed to diversity when it comes to their student body. According to Wikipedia, FIU is ranked the #1 school in the continental United States for conferring degrees to Hispanic students in science and engineering.
In a competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy, the Solar Decathlon, FIU has placed highly in the Energy Balance Competition.
6. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL)
Embry-Riddle is the largest university system, with locations in Florida and Arizona, specializing in aerospace and aviation. This is the kind of school for the curious mind interested in state-of-the-art technology, where students can pursue projects as varied as aircraft, green vehicles, energy-saving biofuels, and more.
As a research powerhouse, Embry-Riddle’s engineering students benefit from the university’s strong commitment to undergraduate research, with 90% of students working directly with faculty and/or industry partners on a research project or internship.
US News has ranked Embry-Riddle among the top schools in a number of categories, including #5 Best Colleges for Veterans, #4 Best Colleges for Aerospace Engineering, and #20 Best Colleges for Undergraduate Teaching.
5. University of Miami College of Engineering (Coral Gables, FL)
The University of Miami College of Engineering is located minutes from downtown Miami. Housed in the school’s McArthur Engineering building, an impressive structure home to state-of-the-art STEM facilities, Miami is not only among the best engineering schools in Florida, but also throughout the country.
Miami’s College of Engineering boasts over two dozen engineering student groups and organizations, with seniors each year completing a Capstone Project and presenting their work at the school’s Senior Design Expo.
Working closely with faculty members, students pitch their design to judges, guests, peers, media, and even potential investors who may want to develop further and commercialize the technology. Student projects for the Capstone have included predicting power failures, developing LEED Gold sustainable edifices, and health care productivity tools.
4. Florida A&M & Florida State University (FAMU-FSU) College of Engineering (Tallahassee, FL)
At the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, students get the best of not one but two universities. In fact, this is the only partnered engineering institution in the country!
Here’s how it works: first, students apply to – and get admitted to – either FAMU or FSU. Once admitted, students take classes at the College of Engineering where they’re mixed with peers from both schools through several departments.
Through the unique Undergrad in the Lab live lecture series, students hear from researchers at the pinnacle of their fields. This new lecture series started in June of 2020 and has included discussions in superconductors, special fluids, and using bacteria to remove contaminants from water.
Here’s another interesting innovation of the engineering program at FAMU-FSU: the Engineering Living Learning Community. In this unique endeavor, first-year students can live, research, train, and socialize with fellow engineering students. It is an application-based program, so students who are interested will have to apply for this special initiative.
3. University of South Florida College of Engineering (Tampa, FL)
Ranked among the top three engineering colleges in the entire state of Florida, USF’s College of Engineering is home to 7,000 undergraduate students pursuing nearly every major form of engineering.
One unique program at the University of South Florida is the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP), endorsed by the prestigious National Academy of Engineering. In GCSP, students conduct interdisciplinary research and training with an emphasis on entrepreneurship, global awareness, and social consciousness. The GCSP program includes annual symposiums, seminars, and experiential pursuits, including internships.
What distinguishes USF from many other engineering programs is its commitment to shaping the real world outside the classroom. One example of USF strategically changing the world is in its impact on Florida’s coral reef restoration. Through USF’s Strong Coasts program, doctoral students at the school have created coral reef monitoring tools, utilizing collected data to benefit this critical plant’s fragile ecosystem.
2. University of Central Florida College of Engineering (Orlando, FL)
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching lists UCF as a university with “very high research activity,” a prestigious honor given to less than 10% of all higher education institutions in the country. UCF Engineering students benefit tremendously from the school’s emphasis on research, as students routinely work with major UCF research partners, including NASA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Siemens, and Walt Disney World.
One of UCF’s many accomplishments is producing more graduates who get jobs in aerospace and defense companies than any other U.S. university.
Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that UCF’s Collegiate Cyber Defense Club, a program in the College of Engineering, has won the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.
Directly south of UCF’s main campus is the Central Florida Research Park, one of the country’s largest research parks and home to countless opportunities for undergraduates and alumni.
1. University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering (Gainesville, FL)
UF defines an important concept, the “New Engineer,” as existing at the intersection of research, innovation, and leadership. With this in mind, many of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering classes emphasize interdisciplinary research and hands-on, experiential learning.
Of all the academic disciplines available at the University of Florida, engineering is the largest professional school at this prestigious university.
Florida’s comprehensive program is abundant with unique and challenging initiatives students can take advantage of in their engineering education. One of these programs, the Florida Engineering Experiment Station, is dedicated to strengthening workforce development in the entire state of Florida. This mission is accomplished through a number of public and private partnerships, including K-12 initiatives, sending their own students through a pipeline towards professional careers upon graduation, and professional development opportunities.
Herbert Wertheim’s initiatives span five major areas: health, energy, enabling technologies, security, and sustainability. To this end, the school is home to several prominent research centers emphasizing these core disciplines, including the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research as well as the Institute for Cell & Tissue Science and Engineering.