Best CSU Schools for Engineering • 18 CSU Colleges Ranked

best csu schools for engineering - cal tech, cal poly, sdsu and more

The best CSU schools for engineering prepare students for successful careers in engineering fields, including the following major branches of engineering:

  • Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

When it comes to engineering programs, the gold standard is ABET accreditation. The good news is that many (but not all) CSU schools have ABET-accredited engineering programs.

If you’re open to attending a UC school, we’ve ranked the best UC schools for engineering right here.

We’ve also ranked CSU schools in other majors, such as business.

In our rankings, we look at the admission rates for each campus, freshmen GPA and test scores, external college rankings, and the school’s reputation in particular programs.

While rankings are valuable, it’s good to remember that any ABET-accredited engineering program can do a fine job of launching your engineering career.

When it’s time to get your first engineering job, it’s the ABET accreditation and your internship experience that will stand out.

Other factors to consider include the school’s tuition and financial aid package, the location, and how you like the feel of the campus.

With that said, let’s dive into the best CSU schools for engineering!

Best CSU Schools for Engineering

Out of the 23 CSU schools, not every campus offers engineering degrees at all. The following four schools did not have any ABET-accredited engineering programs at the time of writing:

  • California State University Stanislaus
  • California State University Channel Islands
  • California State University San Marcos
  • California State University Monterey Bay

Then there’s Cal Maritime, which offers three ABET-accredited degrees:

  • Facilities Engineering Technology
  • Marine Engineering Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cal Maritime’s mechanical engineering is good enough to land in the top-five in our rankings. Their marine-related degrees will also be top-quality.

However, this is a college focused on maritime careers, and maritime colleges have a very different vibe and college experience.

If you’re interested in mechanical engineering, you’ll want to do your own research on the Cal Maritime student experience before making a decision.

Thankfully, the educational quality at Cal Maritime is one thing you don’t have to worry about.

That leaves 18 contenders for our rankings of the best CSU schools for engineering, so let’s get to it.

18. California State University Dominguez Hills

The only ABET-accredited degree at CSUDH is computer science, which isn’t really an engineering major.

17. California State University East Bay

CSUEB’s ABET majors are Computer Engineering and Industrial Engineering. CSU East Bay isn’t the most prestigious Cal State university, with an acceptance rate over 80%.

16. Cal Poly Humboldt

Cal Poly Humboldt is a respected Cal State school, but the only ABET option at Humboldt is a B.S. in Environmental Resources Engineering.

The program does have a lot of history to it, with accreditation since 1981.

15. California State University San Bernardino

CSUSB is another Cal State campus with limited engineering offerings, with only computer science and computer engineering.

14. California State University Bakersfield

CSU Bakersfield isn’t one of the most exclusive Cal State schools, but they do offer three engineering degrees accredited by ABET,

  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering sciences

As the first school on this list with an accredited electrical engineering school, CSU Bakersfield could be a good choice.

13. Sonoma State University

Boasting small class sizes and student-centered projects, Sonoma State University has a good electrical engineering program that is accredited by ABET.

Sonoma State also has a good job placement record for electrical engineering graduates, with 85% of BSEE graduates working in engineering jobs within half a year of graduation.

They also boast that by March 1st, “more than half of the seniors graduating in May 2022 have job offers or are employed in their field of study.”

12. San Francisco State University

With San Francisco State, we arrive at the Cal Tech schools with broader and more developed engineering departments.

They offer four ABET-accredited degrees:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Over 1,600 students are enrolled in these engineering programs, giving the school a large footprint in the San Francisco area.

11. California State University Northridge

CSU Northridge offers an even broader array of engineering majors:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Construction Management Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Systems Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

With a broad and well-developed engineering department, you’ll know that engineering isn’t an afterthought at CSU Northridge.

10. California State University Los Angeles

Cal State LA leverages its strengths in engineering, which are size and (you guessed it) location. As a larger CSU campus, CSULA’s engineering department offers a lot of undergraduate programs:

  • Aviation Administration
  • Biomedical Engineering (Minor Only)
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Engineering Technology
  • Fire Protection Administration and technology
  • Industrial Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering

While Cal State is known more for its location than its exclusivity, the big-school resources can set you on a great career path as long as you take advantage of them.

9. California State University Sacramento

Sacramento State placed well in U.S. News latest rankings of undergraduate engineering programs at schools not offering engineering doctorates. Out of 239 schools, Sacramento State placed:

  • 8th: Civil Engineering
  • 12th: Computer Engineering
  • 15th: Mechanical Engineering
  • 16th: Electrical & Electronic Engineering

If you’re interested in studying one of these engineering majors at Sacramento State, we won’t try to dissuade you.

8. California State University Fresno

The Lyles College at Fresno State is among the best CSU schools for engineering, and offers 7 majors at the undergraduate level:

  • Architectural Studies
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Geomatics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Construction Management

Their accelerated programs also allow students to earn a M.S. degree in engineering in less than the usual 6 years.

7. San José State University

SJSU has a good all-around reputation among CSU schools, and engineering is one of their strengths. In the category of public universities that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but not doctoral degrees, SJSU placed 3rd in America in engineering (U.S. News).

While that is an admittedly broad ranking category, it still says something good about San Jose State’s engineering degrees.

Their undergraduate programs are:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Aviation and Technology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical and Materials Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Interdisciplinary Engineering
  • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Offering less-common engineering degrees such as aerospace engineering and biomedical engineering, SJSU is a great choice for engineering students.

5. California State University Fullerton

With Cal State Fullerton we enter the more prestigious CSU schools. Fullerton was also just approved to spend 67.5 million for their Engineering and Computer Science Innovation Hub, so they’re not planning to fall out of this top-five ranking anytime soon.

At the undergraduate level, CSUF sticks to the big five:

  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

If you’re looking for a more specialized major within engineering, Cal State Fullerton might not have what you need.

If you are interested in one of their majors, however, you can count on an academically rigorous and respected education at Cal State Fullerton.

4. California State University Long Beach

Washington Monthly ranked CSU Long Beach as the 2nd best master’s-level institution in America, so this is a great Cal State college in general.

More specifically in engineering, CSULB graduates over a thousand engineering majors each year, across a dozen undergraduate majors:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering Technology
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Construction Management 
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering Technology
  • Environmental Engineering (starting Fall 2022!)
  • Mechanical Engineering

As one of the more selective Cal State campuses with a huge engineering program, you can expect a great education at CSULB.

3. Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly Pomona is one of the most selective and highly regarded schools in the Cal State network.

As a California Polytechnic university, you can also expect that engineering will be among their strongest majors.

Marketing their degree as “Affordable and Excellent”, Cal Poly Pomona graduates over 1,200 engineers every year, and describes their engineering majors this way:

“CPP College of Engineering’s one of the largest, top-ranking and affordable engineering colleges in the nation. With 11 undergraduate and 7 graduate programs to choose from, we get you hands-on with industry-standard hardware, software and practices. You’ll be ahead of peers in other colleges who operate in the theoretical but rarely in the practical.”

Cal Poly Pomona marks another step up even from CSU Fullerton and CSU Long Beach, and stands proud among the best CSU colleges for engineering.

2. San Diego State University

The prestigious San Diego State University is good at educating students in pretty much everything, with engineering being no exception.

SDSU has taught engineering since 1961, and awards the following undergraduate degrees:

  • B.S. in Aerospace Engineering
  • B.S. in Civil Engineering
  • B.S. in Construction Engineering
  • B.S. in Environmental Engineering
  • B.S. in Computer Engineering
  • B.S. in Electrical Engineering
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

With an acceptance rate of only 38%, the hard part will be getting accepted, but you can count on a great education to launch your engineering career.

What is the best CSU for engineering majors?

Among the best CSU schools for engineering, one of the strongest overall Cal State campuses also happens to specialize in engineering.

There are lots of good Cal State schools, but in engineering, this one stands above the rest.

1. California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly’s College of Engineering puts up some impressive numbers:

  • 14 undergraduate engineering degrees
  • More than 80 state-of-the-art laboratories
  • Enrollment of over 6,100
  • Graduates median salary average of $72,000

Of those, it’s the median salary average that we’re the most excited about. Cal Poly trains engineers well, and California’s engineering employers have recognized that fact.

The ABET-accredited programs at Cal Poly are:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Software Engineering

From the classroom to student clubs, senior projects, and career fairs, Cal Poly delivers it all. We rank them a clear first among the best CSU schools for engineering.


Cal State schools aren’t the only public colleges in California, and we’ve also ranked the best UC engineering schools here.

We know that financing your education can be a difficult barrier. Scholarships can go a long way, and we have useful strategies to find local scholarships with less competition.

Once you find them, you still have to write an essay, and we’ve broken down the scholarship essay-writing process into clear, simple steps.

Thanks for visiting College Guidepost, and we wish you the best in your engineering education and career!