Top Mechanical Engineering Schools in 2021

Top Mechanical Engineering Schools in 2021

By H. Young

Updated April 9, 2024 Updated April 09

The recently released QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 features 500 of the top higher education institutions to study mechanical engineering.

The QS University Rankings by Subject are based on four indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and published work of a scientist or scholar). You can find more details about the methodology behind the subject rankings here.

Read on to learn more about the best mechanical engineering schools in each region. Alternatively, if you would like to explore the mechanical engineering schools in further detail, click here to view the full table.

Top 10 Universities for Mechanical Engineering in the World

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021


Name of Institution



Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

United States


Stanford University

United States


University of Cambridge

United Kingdom


Harvard University

United States


Nanyang Technological University (NTU)



University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

United States


Delft University of Technology



Imperial College London

United Kingdom


National University of Singapore (NUS)



University of Oxford

United Kingdom

See the full ranking for mechanical engineering schools >

Top universities for mechanical engineering in the US and Canada

The US has 91 universities offering programs in mechanical engineering this year, with five schools featuring in the global top ten and 11 more in the top 50.

The US’ Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the world’s best mechanical engineering university for the sixth consecutive year. MIT’s mechanical engineering programs combine analysis and theoretical teaching with hands-on learning. It earns perfect scores for both academic and employer reputation.

Significant changes in the rankings for US universities this year include Cornell University, down nine places to joint 45th and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 48th after dropping 10 places.

Canada has 20 of the world’s top universities for mechanical engineering. Two of these can be found in the global top 50, including the highest-ranking Canadian university for mechanical engineering, University of Toronto (34th). At the University of Toronto, engineering students are required to complete 600 hours of practical work before graduation. This enhances their resume and makes them more attractive to graduate employers.

Top universities for mechanical engineering in Europe

173 top mechanical engineering schools are found in Europe. Of these, 38 are in the United Kingdom: the most of any European country. Three UK-based mechanical engineering schools feature in the world top 10, with two more in the top 50. Outside the top 10, notable universities in the UK include the University of Manchester in 29th and Cranfield University in joint 45th, both falling two places this year.

Europe’s top ranked university for mechanical engineering this year is the University of Cambridge (third). Across its research, teaching and graduate study, the University of Cambridge’s engineering department encourages students to take advantage of its highly networked community and brings its latest research and development into its teaching.

Ireland is home to seven of Europe’s top mechanical engineering universities, including Trinity College Dublin (TCD, joint 138th). Germany has 18 top mechanical engineering universities, including its top ranking Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen in 18th place.

France performs well this year with 19 mechanical engineering universities featured. France’s highest ranked university for mechanical engineering is Ecole Polytechnique, which remains in the top 50 despite dropping three places. Earning a high score in the employer reputation indicator, Ecole Polytechnique’s curriculum prepares students for a variety of engineering careers by covering a wide range of topics, including civil engineering, aeronautics and biomechanics.

Amongst Spain’s 10 featured universities Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (joint 68th) falls 19 places this year, but is still the country’s top ranked university for mechanical engineering. Seven of the top universities for mechanical engineering are found in Belgium, including Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 27th place, rising four places this year.

Denmark boasts four universities in the subject rankings this year and the Netherlands is home to four, including Delft University of Technology in 7th place: the best continental European mechanical engineering program in the rankings this year. Sweden also offers four mechanical engineering programs, including at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (25th place).

The Czech Republic has three universities in the ranking this year and Austria has two. Portugal’s University of Porto ranks amongst the top 150 in the world this year in 128th place.

Of Switzerland’s three universities featured this year, two place in the global top 20: : ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 13th) and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, 16th).

Top universities for mechanical engineering in Australia and New Zealand

Australia is home to 19 of the top universities for mechanical engineering. These include one new entry this year: University of Southern Queensland (451-500).

The University of New South Wales (UNSW, 54th) is Australia’s highest-ranking university this year, earning a high score in employer reputation. Students are taught by experts in mechanical engineering and have access to state-of-the-art facilities for laboratory and research work.

Significant movers in Australia this year include the University of Melbourne (60th), which drops 10 spots in the 2021 mechanical engineering rankings and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT, 151-200) which climbs 50 places.

In New Zealand, four universities feature in the mechanical engineering rankings with the University of Auckland performing the best in 119th place. The university earns a high score for the research citations per paper; a reflection of the high standard of research by the university’s faculty members.

Top universities for mechanical engineering in Asia 

128 top Asian universities are featured in this year’s mechanical engineering ranking. An impressive 35 of these entries are in Mainland China - the most of any other Asian country.

Of these, nine are in the world top 100, with top ranking Tsinghua University rising three places to 11th. Tsinghua University earns a perfect score in the H-Index this year, which measures the productivity and impact of the university’s published work.

Also performing well in the rankings is Japan with 19 universities featured. Notable Japanese universities include the top-ranking University of Tokyo, falling three places this year to 21st, and Tokyo Institute of Technology, dropping four places to 31st.

Singapore’s two entries both reach the global top 10. Its highest ranking, Nanyang Technological University (NTU, fifth) earns its best score in the employer reputation indicator. NTU’s mechanical engineering course offers a flexible curriculum that has been specially developed to meet dynamic industry needs and helps students acquire specialist skills and knowledge.

All of Hong Kong SAR’s five ranked universities can be found in the global top 150, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST, 28th).

South Korea has an admirable 18 mechanical engineering universities in this year’s rankings, with top 50 entries including KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (22nd), Seoul National University (SNU, 26th).

Top universities for mechanical engineering in Latin America  

In Latin America, there are currently 23 top mechanical engineering universities featured in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021.

Brazil has the most Latin American universities in the world rankings this year, with nine institutions featured. These include Universidade de São Paulo (USP) in 61st place. USP has strong links with industry, which may contribute for its high score in the employer reputation indicator.

Mexico has four entrants this year, with its top ranked Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) placing 100th. ITESM has 26 campuses around the country and is widely known for its state-of-the-art facilities and the high quality of its faculty’s research.

Colombia also has four mechanical engineering schools in this year’s rankings and Argentina has two.

Top universities for mechanical engineering in Africa and the Middle East 

In the Middle East there are 21 universities offering programs in mechanical engineering this year. Israel is home to three of these universities, and Saudi Arabia has four, including King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), which ranks 122nd in the world.

The United Arab Emirates has three top universities in the mechanical engineering subject rankings, with Khalifa University falling from 151-200th to 201-250 this year.

Iran is home to seven mechanical engineering schools - the most of any other Middle Eastern country this year. Its top-ranking school, Sharif University of Technology, places in the global top 200. The university’s mechanical engineering program focuses on educating and training engineers to start their career with strong leadership and management skills.

In Africa there are nine universities featuring in the mechanical engineering subject rankings this year, including five in South Africa and four in Egypt, where Cairo University is the top ranking in 201-250.


This article was originally published in March 2021 . It was last updated in April 2024

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