Leading engineering schools for Asian students

FROM designing aerospace vehicles to testing explosives and propellants, engineering is a field that is as broad as it is exciting. As technology develops, so too do our expectations: we want to travel faster; communicate more efficiently; take bigger risks; all the while being more environmentally conscious. And that means engineers are now more wanted and needed than ever. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2010 and 2018, there will be an 11 per cent increase in demand for engineers overall, with sectors like chemical engineering seeing up to 72 per cent predicted growth.

HKU Electrical Engineering

Pic: The University of Hong Kong.

As far as engineering students go, graduate job opportunities are also growing. Most quality universities’ statistics show that their engineering graduates are being snapped up in the jobs market. 53 per cent of participants in the National Association of Colleges and Employer Job Outlook 2011 survey said that they would like to hire graduates from electrical and mechanical engineering degrees.

The high demand for engineers means that they are paid very well, too. The average American income in 2010 was just over $40,000, while engineers there earned anything between $80,000 and $125,000 (depending on specialization) on average, in the same year.

Graduate salaries are high, too. NACE’s Summer 2010 Salary Survey shows that the average salary offer to first year graduates is almost US$60,000. These figures are reflected all over the world – engineers are highly sought after, well-respected members of the professional community.

Studying engineering overseas, as an Asian international student, can be quite beneficial, too. Many students are naturally exposed to the very best in numerous fields of engineering, in their day-to-day lives back home. Countries such as Japan, China and Singapore have developed a reputation for world-class high-speed railways, high-density, “earthquake-proof” buildings and have a strong focus on cutting edge robotic technology.

Deakin University Engineering

Pic: Deakin University.

But with so many advantages to studying engineering, the task of choosing a good university, especially away from home, can be a daunting one. Engineering is a notoriously difficult and labor-intensive degree: it is not uncommon for students to spend 30 – 40 hours a week in classes alone, not including studying and researching outside class hours. So before throwing yourself into the deep end, there are a few things you should consider.

First, students have to have a fairly clear idea as to what field of engineering they want to pursue. It is no good enrolling in a civil engineering degree, only to decide later on that your passion actually lies in nuclear or nanoengineering. A good university should help you decide what branch of engineering suits you best, so it is important to speak to as many universities and advisers as possible before making your decision

Traditionally, the most popular engineering branches have been civil (jobs include: designing, constructing and maintaining structures like roads, dams, bridges and buildings), mechanical (jobs include: aerospace, biomedical, and robotic mechanics), electrical (jobs include: working in various power stations, working with medical equipment like MRIs, create products for cars, robots, mobile, phones etc.) and chemical engineering (jobs include: research and development into new processes and designs). Recently, other fields, like environmental, mechatronic and nuclear engineering have also become quite popular as our wants, needs and technologies evolve. These interdisciplinary branches of engineering will require students to study basic elements of more traditional engineering fields, too.

When deciding on a university, students should also consider what kind of extra-curricular societies and opportunities the university offers. Engineering is a very hands-on field, and while there will be practical class work, joining clubs or organizations are excellent ways to network and hone your skills. Be it designing and building a race car or traveling to developing nations to make solar-powered ovens and bike-wheel water wells, engineering students should always keep an eye out for how their university can help them have fun while becoming a better engineer.

NC State Engineering

Pic: North Carolina State University.

Although it is an intimidating degree, a Bachelor of Engineering is a baptism of fire that is well worthwhile. Engineering is an industry that touches people in more ways than they could imagine: it is the silent but powerful force that pushes people, industries and technologies into the future more than any other.

Below we have compiled a list of 15 of the best engineering schools for aspiring Asian engineers:

With over 34,000 students and nearly 8,000 faculty and staff, North Carolina State University is a comprehensive university known for its leadership in education and research, and globally recognized for its science, technology, engineering and mathematics leadership. The College of Engineering has over 8,700 students and 800 faculty and staff. NC State students, faculty and staff are focused, and committed to playing an active and vital role in improving the global quality of life. And the Wall Street Journal reports that recruiters place graduates from the NC State College of Engineering as some of the most attractive job prospects in the country. Read the full profile…

Founded in 1850, Australia’s oldest university The University of Sydney is admired as one of the most prestigious universities in Asia and beyond. Its Engineering and Information Technology faculty is ranked in the top 10 in the Asia Pacific region; and as one of the world’s top 40. Since its foundation, The University of Sydney has produced prime ministers, Nobel laureates, Oscar winners, business leaders, medical pioneers, intellectuals and activists. The roll call in the fields of science and engineering is no less impressive with the likes of Nobel Laureate Dr. Edward Appleton for Physics in 1947 and Nobel Laureate Sir John Cornforth for Chemistry in 1975 having graced the halls of the University of Sydney. Read the full profile…

Small class sizes, classroom settings tailored to student needs, hands-on laboratory training and a dedicated faculty all play crucial roles in the academic experience at Ferris. The Ferris College of Engineering Technology is the largest engineering technology college in the country. Focused more on the application of technology than the research behind it, the College is ideal for those looking to get a job in today’s market. Ferris State University’s College of Engineering Technology has, for the fourth consecutive year, been recognized for the highest enrollment in the US for full- and part-time engineering technology bachelor’s degree seekers. The College is not just popular among students but also commands international prestige for its excellent quality of education, and holds the top spot for the past four years for the most bachelor’s degrees awarded. Read the full profile…

Ferris State University Engineering

Pic: Ferris College of Engineering Technology.

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) celebrates its centenary in 2011-12. It is the oldest university in Hong Kong, and it remains a respected leader of higher education across Asia.  In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2010-2011, HKU’s engineering program was ranked 19th. As one of the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) founding faculties, the mission of the Faculty of Engineering is to provide a well-rounded curriculum and high quality engineering education in the global knowledge-based economy, and to engage in innovative, high impact basic and applied research within and across disciplines.  The emphasis is on the balance between technical and non-technical subjects, theoretical foundation and practical design and applications, and the education of the mind as well as the whole person. Read the full profile…

Scholastic excellence, industry networks and cutting-edge research are hallmarks of Deakin University. This Australian university – with four campuses across Victoria in Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool – provides internationally recognized education designed to create job-ready graduates. Of the many undergraduate and postgraduate fields of study on offer at this university, its School of Engineering – part of Deakin’s Faculty of Science and Technology – is a significant leader in both teaching and learning and applied research. The School is proud of offering what it describes as a boutique style of education delivery that brings together small class sizes, tailored programs with industry exposure and up-to-date facilities. Deakin is a significant leader in a number of engineering-focussed research areas, most notably in materials engineering, advanced manufacturing and intelligent systems. Read the full profile…

This Malaysian university has found international repute in the education sector. The University’s School of Engineering offers comprehensive engineering programs that are affordable but boast highly innovative training methods that rival some of the most prestigious foreign degrees. All these factors work towards enhancing the School’s reputation not just among Asian students but across the world. Programs at the School of Engineering implement a curriculum that combines both theory and practice, focusing on a project-based learning. Students are prepared for the job market by following an academic module that concentrates on research and applications. Read the full profile…

Aspiring engineers looking for a US education are becoming more aware of their choices. High quality education at affordable rates and a high return on investment are key points on a student’s checklist when deciding to study abroad. Working relentlessly to fulfill student expectations, the University of Utah College of Engineering (also known as the U) offers an unparalleled combination of educational excellence, business opportunity and an exhilarating lifestyle. The School’s dedicated mission to prepare students for leadership positions and professional practices in academia, industry and government has earned it laurels in several rankings, including the latest report by the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Read the full profile…

Deakin University Victoria, Australia

Pic: Deakin University.

A recognized College among British and international students alike, the University of Swansea College of Engineering boasts strong rankings – first in Wales and 8th in the UK, according to the Research Assessment Exercise 2008. The College is also recognized for its high standards of teaching along with excellent industry networks and collaborations, praised for the same by THES and Guardian league tables in 2008. It provides a cutting-edge learning environment and pioneers technological progress in both traditional and emerging disciplines in the field of engineering. The College works in partnership with major industrial companies, with more than 70% of the research conducted there recognized as “internationally leading” (4*) or “internationally excellent” (3*). Read the full profile…

Leading Chinese taught and research institute Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) has been ranked consistently at the top in international league tables for its engineering programs. The university hosts a wide range of schools to cater to this industry: School of Mechanical Engineering, School of Electronic Information and Electrical Engineering, School of Materials Science and Engineering, School of Environmental Science and Engineering. It is also home to the UM-SJTU Joint Institute which, in association with the University of Michigan in the US, offers a vast range of exciting programs on undergraduate and graduate levels.

The Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne is a prestigious institute for higher learning in the subject. Bringing together the brightest minds from across the world, students and staff at this School create an atmosphere of intellectual excellence, both academic and extracurricular. This dynamic institute is home to 4,500 students, including 1,400 international students from 40 different countries. The School hosts several departments – Biomedical, Chemical & Bimolecular, Computer Science & Software, Electric & Electronic, Infrastructure, and Mechanical. The School further boasts 13 major research centres of international repute, including two ARC Special Research Centres funded by the Australian Research Council

Leading US university UC Berkeley is home to more than 35,000 students from across the world. Its College of Engineering offers some of the most sought-after courses, fostering a community dedicated to creating the leaders of tomorrow. The College, following in the footsteps of the university, boasts an outstanding reputation both for its academic training and the research that it conducts. With a mission towards leadership and innovation, this engineering College hosts several departments: Bioengineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, Materials Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering.

Taylor's University

Pic: Taylor's University.

One of Britain’s premier institutes of higher learning, the University of Bristol is recognized for its excellent teaching and research. Home to a superb faculty and a rich academic environment, the university brings together the brightest minds from across the globe. Its Faculty of Engineering is considered one of the best in the world, having established the equation for the wing design on the Spitfire in the 1930s, to inventing the technology that led to the first mobile phone in the late 1970s. Its three schools – Graduate, Merchant Venturers, and Queens – are home to six excellent departments and offer several interdisciplinary programs in the field.

Canadian institute Laurentian University is home to the prestigious Bharti School of Engineering, offering undergraduate programs in Chemical, Mechanical, and Mining Engineering. Undergraduate students can avail of a Co-op option that allows them to work in the industry and apply their academic learning on the job, all the while earning money and building a solid network of professional contacts. Postgraduate qualifications are available in Master of Engineering, Master of Applied Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Synonymous with excellence in education, MIT’s School of Engineering believes in the future. The School has established for itself an international reputation of producing the best minds in the industry, going on to influence the world through technological leadership and research education. Studies here are rigorous, research cutting-edge and student life is diverse. Living up to this diversity is the availability of a wide range of programs on undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. Undergraduate programs include Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Nuclear Science and Engineering; graduate programs include Aeronautics and Astronautics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.

Australia’s Queensland University of Technology, also known as QUT, commands international recognition for its innovative teaching and high-quality research. Its School of Engineering Systems is recognized for its continued efforts to enhance education in the field through professional associations and consultancy work. Home to about 2,500 students, 60 staff and a host of guest lecturers drawn from across institutions and the industry itself, QUT Engineering creates a niche for itself in higher education in the field. Undergraduate engineering programmes include Aerospace Avionics, Infomechatronics and Medical Engineering; postgraduate programmes include Engineering (Systems), Engineering Management, Engineering (Railway Infrastructure), and Engineering (Power Generation).