Engineers are dedicated to making systems work better and meeting the needs of different groups of people. They design new products for public use and fix problems with existing technology. These professionals apply their skills in a variety of settings including offices, construction sites, laboratories, and government agencies.
Engineering is an interdisciplinary study of math, science, and business. In order to learn this foundational knowledge and more advanced skills, engineers attend engineering school. General courses teach students how to design experiments, solve problems, understand professional responsibility, and communicate with a team.
While in engineering school, students begin by taking foundational courses in core subjects, such as calculus, statistics, physics, chemistry, biology, and systems engineering. Afterwards, engineering students choose an area of engineering to focus on. Upperclassmen will study more advanced topics relevant to their interests.
Strong engineering programs will have plenty of opportunities for students to develop critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. Lab courses help students gain practical experience that can be applied to a wide variety of fields. The engineering curriculum also includes group projects and capstone courses to practice problem-solving and design.
Outside of the classroom, student organizations and other resources allow students to develop a professional network and find their community. Internships and co-ops are valuable to see how classroom lectures are applied to the real world. Research allows students to work with faculty members to affect change in their field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia has over 60,000 engineers. These professionals earn an average salary of $65,000. With five institutions to choose from, here are five of the best engineering schools in Georgia.
Kennesaw State University Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (Kennesaw, GA)
Kennesaw State University is the second-largest engineering school in the state, enrolling over 4,500 students across more than 20 degree programs. Students can study unique engineering specialties such as mechatronics engineering and manufacturing operations. The university also offers a variety of minors, including aerospace engineering, engineering design graphics, manufacturing technology, naval science, and nuclear engineering.
The Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering CLUE Center is a dedicated facility for academic support for undergraduate engineers. Students have access to a wide range of tutoring services and can interact with other members of the community. Engineers who have already earned an A or B in the course can sign up to be a tutor.
Kennesaw State partners with companies in the industry to develop their best-in-class curriculum for graduating engineers. Along with current partners ATP and Surface Mount Technology Association, the university promotes high-quality STEM education in the community.
While at Kennesaw State, engineering students can join a variety of student organizations to apply their classroom knowledge. The Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge team tasks students with designing a hydraulic system for powering a vehicle. The Kennesaw State team used their engineering abilities to place #2 overall against a competitive lineup of teams.
Engineering undergraduates at Kennesaw State studying electrical or mechanical engineering can spend their summer in Italy taking required courses. The university recognizes that engineering is a global field that values international experiences. Students will learn about Italian language and culture while also making progress on their degrees.
Georgia Southern University College of Engineering and Computing (Atlanta, GA)
Students at Georgia Southern are encouraged to conduct research under the supervision of a faculty member. By doing so, engineering undergraduates develop critical thinking, collaboration, and evidence-based learning abilities. Advanced energy systems, cybersecurity, manufacturing, renewable energy, and robotics are just some of the popular research topics at Georgia Southern.
Each year, students present their work in the Paulson College of Engineering and Computing Student Research Symposium. Along with networking with industry professionals and faculty members, students compete for awards. In 2021, the engineering department presented nearly 100 posters in 13 categories.
Along with research, engineering undergraduates at Georgia Southern gain at least a year of work experience through the co-op program. This experience allows students to apply their foundational knowledge to real-world companies and projects. Many engineering students are offered interviews or full-time positions with their co-op employer.
Through the Industrial Relations Partner Projects, Georgia Southern provides a variety of events to facilitate networking between students and business partners. These opportunities range from career fairs to speaking with student organizations on campus. Some industry partners include Georgia Iron Works, Millennium Group, Robins Air Force Base, and Daniel Defense.
Students can explore their professional and personal interests through student organizations. Georgia Southern is home to over 20 organizations specifically dedicated to engineering students. These groups cover a variety of interests including academic, social, and cultural.
First-year engineers have the opportunity to live among their peers in the Innovation Living-Learning Community. This develops a sense of community and allows students to increase their academic performance. Benefits of this opportunity include upperclassmen mentors, faculty chats, and site visits to local engineering companies.
University of Georgia College of Engineering (Athens, GA)
In addition to technical knowledge, UGA prepares students to understand the impact of their work and the ability to communicate ideas. The 2,600 engineering students gain hands-on experience through design-based classroom and field opportunities. In addition, there are many dual and combined degree programs to meet each student’s needs.
As a result of the comprehensive curriculum, 97% of engineering graduates from UGA find employment within six months of graduation. The median starting salary for BS graduates is $62,000. Graduates work throughout the industry at startups, big corporations, government agencies, and more.
The faculty in the College of Engineering are dedicated to educating the next generation of engineers. In addition, they are recognized as leaders in the field, as members of international and national societies. Nine faculty members in the engineering department have won NSF CAREER Awards.
Students in the UGA engineering programs have access to world-class facilities, such as experiential learning workspaces, fabrication labs, and a machine shop. The instructional labs span 23,000 square feet and are available for students in all programs. These facilities allow students to gain valuable hands-on skills necessary for design and construction.
At UGA, research breaks down traditional academic boundaries by drawing from multiple disciplines. The school uses three innovation and discovery challenge clusters to allow engineering students to work with their peers from physics, chemistry, public health, and computer science. As a result of the interdisciplinary approach, UGA research funded has increased by 300% in the past five years.
Mercer University School of Engineering (Atlanta, GA)
At Mercer University, students gain the necessary research and work experience that future employers are actively looking for. Alumni of the engineering department go on to work at impressive industry leaders, such as AT&T, General Electric, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, and Lockheed Martin. Others continue their education in the top graduate schools across the nation.
Mercer Engineering is recognized for its strong partnerships that allow engineers to solve real-world challenges. In 2020, the university and Robins Air Force Base collaborated to open a new software development center for the US Air Force. This innovative facility sparks collaboration and creates a pipeline between the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex and computer engineering department at Mercer.
To best serve their community, Mercer Engineering promotes Engineering for Development education. Engineering faculty have worked in more than 35 countries to implement sustainable solutions and improve the lives of underserved populations. Through these programs, engineering students gain valuable skills necessary in humanitarian and development sectors.
Before graduating, engineering students complete senior design projects to apply their knowledge in the real world. Small teams of engineers collaborate to design, construct, and evaluate an engineering system under professional supervision. These projects are completed for a client in industry, exposing students to the challenges that real-world engineers face.
Mercer Engineering students have access to state-of-the-art 3D printing equipment. Along with personal projects, this technology is used to improve the lives of local communities and beyond. In 2018, engineering students and faculty created Touch 3D Yearbooks for students at the Georgia Academy for the Blind.
Georgia Institute of Technology College of Engineering (Atlanta, GA)
Georgia Tech is world-renowned for high academic quality, constantly ranking among the top schools in the nation. In 2020, the university was ranked as the #2 for public engineering schools and #4 overall. In addition, the school’s programs placed among the top four in their respective areas.
Engineering students at Georgia Tech have plenty of opportunities for international travel through co-ops, service trips, exchange programs, and faculty-led trips. More than 1,200 students each year participate in these programs to earn work experience and foreign language abilities that will make them stand out. Furthermore, Georgia Tech has joint degree programs with partner universities created specifically for engineers.
Georgia Tech has a variety of high-tech machinery available to use for academic and personal projects. The Flowers Invention Studio is intended for students to develop unconventional ideas with a supportive community. Students in aerospace engineering can complete prototyping, woodworking, and metal construction activities in the Aero Maker Space.
In order to make the most significant impact, Georgia Tech Engineering partners with many national laboratories. Engineering students collaborate with big names like Sandia Laboratories and Oak Ridge National Laboratory during and after their time at Georgia Tech. In addition, the school’s partnership with Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta empowers students to make an impact on human health.
The co-op program is a five-year course of study that provides practical work experiences related to each student’s professional goals. Engineering students can develop their abilities and apply the theory learned in class. These positions are the result of over 100 years of partnerships between the university and industry.