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Top Engineering Schools in the UK in 2020

[Top Engineering Schools in the UK in 2020] main image

The recent QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020 covers the best universities for 48 different subjects, including 502 top engineering and technology schools around the world – 37 of which can be found in the United Kingdom.

The ranking covers five different branches of engineering – chemical, civil and structural, electrical, mechanical, and mineral and mining.

The rankings are compiled using four indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and impact of published work). You can find out more about the methodology used here.

Top 10 universities for the Engineering and Technology subject area in the UK

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

UK Ranking

World Ranking

Institution

Location

1

3

Cambridge

2

6

Oxford

3

7

4

39=

London

5

45=

6

66

7

103=

Southampton

8

106=

9

117=

10

122


Of the 37 engineering and technology schools ranked in the UK, the University of Cambridge comes out on top, in third place globally after climbing one place in the subject rankings this year.

Notable movements in the engineering and technology index top 10 in the UK this year include The University of Nottingham, which rises 24 places this year to 122nd in the world, alongside the University of Bristol, which rises 22 places this year. Also, cracking the world top 50 this year, the University of Manchester rises 10 places to joint 45th globally.

Outside of the top 10, the University of Surrey has the biggest drop this year, falling 20 places to joint 224th. The biggest rise is achieved by the University of Exeter, which leaps 53 places this year to rank joint 272nd in the world.

See the full engineering and technology subject ranking here.

Top Universities for Chemical Engineering

Top Five Universities for Chemical Engineering in the UK

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

UK Ranking 

World Ranking

Institution

Location

1

3

University of Cambridge

Cambridge

2

6

University of Oxford

Oxford

3

10

Imperial College London

London

4

18

University College London (UCL)

London

5

22

The University of Manchester

Manchester


There are currently 401 chemical engineering schools in the rankings, with 21 of these located in the UK. The UK’s top school for chemical engineering is the University of Cambridge, in third place globally. The university achieves a near perfect score in the employer reputation ranking indicator (99.9 out of 100). UCL moves up 10 places this year to break into the world top 20 in 18th place.

Three UK universities move up an impressive 50 places this year: The University of Nottingham (from 101-150 to 51-100), the University of Sheffield (from 151-200 to 101-150) and Loughborough University (from 201-250 to 151-200). The biggest fall this year comes from the University of Surrey, which drops from 151-200 to 201-250.

View the full chemical engineering ranking here.

Top Universities for Civil and Structural Engineering

Top Five Universities for Civil and Structural Engineering in the UK

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

UK Ranking 

World Ranking

Institution

Location

1

3

University of Cambridge

Cambridge

2

5

Imperial College London

London

3

15 =

University of Oxford

Oxford

4

42 =

The University of Manchester

Manchester

5

45

Leeds

There are 203 schools featured in the civil and structural engineering rankings this year, including 23 universities in the UK. The highest ranked program in the UK can be found at the University of Cambridge, which places third worldwide and receives particularly high scores for the academic reputation and employer reputation ranking indicators.

The University of Leeds climbs into the global top 50 this year, rising 6 places to 45th in the world (and fifth in the UK). The University of Birmingham is not so fortunate, dropping from 51-100 to 101-150 this year. Conversely, Cardiff University rises 50 places this year from 101-150 to 51-100.

See the full civil and structural engineering ranking here 

Top Universities for Electrical Engineering

Top Five Universities for Electrical Engineering in the UK

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

UK Ranking

World Ranking

Institution

Location

1

4

University of Cambridge

Cambridge

2

7

Imperial College London

London

3

8

University of Oxford

Oxford

4

31

The University of Manchester

Manchester

5

48

UCL (University College London)

London


The UK is home to 37 of the 507 top electrical engineering programs in the world this year, with the University of Cambridge once again taking the top spot, in fourth place worldwide. The biggest movement in the world top 50 for a UK school is achieved by the University of Manchester, which moves up eight places to rank 31st globally.

Elsewhere in the table, notable movements are achieved by the University of Nottingham, the University of Glasgow, the University of Leeds, Lancaster University and the University of Exeter, who all move up 50 places this year. Unfortunately, five UK schools go the other way, dropping 50 places this year. The biggest drop is seen by the University of Reading who fall 100 places this year from 301-350 to 401-450.

See the full electrical engineering ranking here.

Top Universities for Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering

Top Five Universities for Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering in the UK

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

UK Ranking

World Ranking 

Institution

Location

1

3

University of Cambridge

Cambridge

2=

7=

Imperial College London

London

2=

7=

University of Oxford

Oxford

4

27=

The University of Manchester

Manchester

5

43=

Cranfield


There are 501 universities featured in the mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering ranking this year, including 38 schools in the UK. The University of Cambridge takes the top spot in the UK (and third worldwide), achieving high scores across all ranking indicators. Second place in the UK is shared this year between Imperial College London and the University of Oxford, who rank joint seventh globally.

The University of Manchester achieves the biggest jump in the world top 50, climbing eight places from last year to rank joint 27th globally. Elsewhere in the table, a whopping 13 UK schools climb 50 places in the rankings this year, with only one school (City University London) dropping 50 places. There is one new entrant in Oxford Brookes University, ranked 401-450.

See the full mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering rankings here. 

Top Universities for Mineral and Mining Engineering 

Top Three Universities for Mineral and Mining Engineering in the UK

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

UK Ranking

World Ranking

Institution

Location

1

14

Penryn

2

40

University of Southampton

Southampton

3

49

Cardiff University

Cardiff 


There are only three mineral and mining engineering universities located in the UK in 2020, out of the 50 top mineral and mining engineering universities worldwide.

Top of the pile is the Camborne School of Mines of the University of Exeter, which is based at the university’s Penryn campus near Falmouth, Cornwall. The university retains their 14th place worldwide finish, scoring particularly highly in the citations per paper index.

The University of Southampton saw an unfortunate 10 place drop this year to 40th worldwide, whilst Cardiff University falls six places to rank 49th in the world.

See the full mineral and mining engineering rankings here.

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Written by Julia Gilmore
Julia is the Assistant Editor for TopUniversities, publishing articles for students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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