SAT Scores For Engineering Majors

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

So you’ve been wondering what it takes to get into a top university as an engineering student. I wanted to know too, so I set out to answer this question by visiting hundreds of university websites and gathering data. I’ve compiled what I found into a searchable table that will let you estimate what the average SAT is for engineering students at the majority of schools that do not share this information.

Before you look at that, here’s what you should know. It’ll probably come as no surprise that colleges and universities have higher standards for engineering students. On average, the schools I was able to get data for had about 100 point gap on the SAT between their average engineering student and the university as a whole. On the other hand, that gap is a bit smaller at the most competitive universities. That’s because there is less room for a gap as the standards become very high for all students and scores creep ever closer to 1600. The top quartile of schools I looked at had only a 70 point gap between engineering students and the general population, and it continued to shrink as you moved to the very elite schools. Keep reading to get all the information on SAT Scores For Engineering Majors, average sat score for Virginia tech engineering, sat score for biomedical engineering, sat subjects for engineering.

How to Use This Table
The idea behind this table is very simple.

Find the median general admission score for a university you are interested in. Most schools make this available on their website.
Plug that number into the table’s search bar or sort through until you find the score in the general admission column.
In the engineering column, you’ll find the equivalent estimated median engineering score.
Only SAT scores between 1050 and 1500 are available to look up. Outside that range, I didn’t have the right data to render a realistic score.

Estimate a School’s Average Engineering Score:

What Schools Were Used to Build This Table?
I visited the web sites of all schools in US News and World Reports latest Best Colleges guide and looked at every school in the top 200 for their “Best National Universities” category. For the schools that posted their average SAT scores for their latest class for both engineering and general admission, I recorded their scores.

How Reliable is the Score Table?
Don’t take this table as gospel. It’s a rough estimate, not a policy that an admissions office would follow. Here are some reasons you would not want to not read too much into it:

The small sample size. There were only 31 schools where I could obtain scores for both engineering and their general admission.
This table is an attempt to map the median general admission to the median engineering admission. Most experts will point out that the median is not a safe place to be for admission, and you are much better off in the 75th percentile.
Not every school admits engineering students separately from other students. I saw several schools during this research that explained that all students are admitted through the same process.
Still, given the incredibly simple model here and the limited data, a single variable linear regression, the relationship between the average engineering SAT score and the average SAT score for the whole school is pretty strong. This indicates the table itself is, in fact, fairly reliable. For you AP Stats students, this model returned an R2=.6.

What SAT Score is Required for Computer Science Majors?
I really wanted to answer this one. In fact, it was the original question I was interested in answering. Unfortunately, almost no schools post their admission data for computer science independently of engineering since computer science is typically part of the the engineering school. Anecdotally, I can tell you for the handful of so schools that did post these numbers, they were slightly higher (think 20-50 points) than the engineering school as a whole.

What ACT Score is Required for Engineering Majors?
I also had hoped to answer the question of ACT scores for engineering. What I found was this:

It is true what they say that virtually every school is now accepting both tests.
It is not true that schools make this data equally available for both tests. Typically, the schools that made the ACT available made the SAT available too, but the reverse was not true. That is why I chose to use the SAT.
What Can We Conclude About the SAT for Engineering Students?
It is hard to get into college as an engineering student, really hard. The scores required for engineering students are measurably higher than for general admission students. However, there is also a wide range of engineering schools with wide ranging requirements. As you can see from the table, not every school requires a 1500 on SAT.

What SAT Score is Required for Engineering Majors?

It’s also true that there’s a payoff that goes with being a STEM major. Studies have consistently shown that STEM graduates will find:

More job opportunities
Better salaries and benefits
Higher job satisfaction
These are all big wins for STEM grads in a day when the job market is changing faster than it has at any point since the industrial revolution.

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what sat score is required for engineering

  • Only SAT scores between 1050 and 1500 are available to look up. Outside that range, I didn’t have the right data to render a realistic score.

Estimate a School’s Average Engineering Score:

General Admission SATEstimated Engineering SAT Admission


Here's the Average SAT Score for Every College Major

sat scores for engineering majors

Comparison of SAT Scores for Admission to Top Engineering Schools

Reading 25%Reading 75%Math 25%Math 75%
Berkeley (general admissions)670750650790
Carnegie Mellon (CIT)660750720800
Cornell (engineering)650750680780
Georgia Tech640730680770
Illinois (engineering)580690705790
Michigan (general admissions)640730670770
Purdue (engineering)520630550690

*Note: Writing scores are not included in this data

When the data is available, the table above represents SAT scores for the middle 50% of engineering students who enroll. Michigan and Berkeley do not post specific data for engineers, so the numbers above reflect university-wide general admissions. Engineering numbers are likely higher, especially for math. In general, if your SAT scores fall within or above the ranges listed above, you are on track for admission to these schools.

Universities with a largely technological focus—Caltech, MIT, and Georgia Tech—do not have separate admissions for engineers. Also, Stanford believes that engineers should still have a broad general education and does not have a separate application for their engineering school. Nevertheless, universities will look for strong math skills from engineering applicants.

average sat score for virginia tech engineering

Average SAT: 1285

The average SAT score composite at Virginia Tech is a 1285.

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Virginia Tech SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1180, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1390.

In other words, a 1180 places you below average, while a 1390 will move you up to above average. There’s no absolute SAT requirement at Virginia Tech, but they really want to see at least a 1180 to have a chance at being considered.

Here’s the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Reading + Writing635590680

sat subjects for engineering

The top colleges for engineering require the SAT subject tests such as Chemistry or Physics and Math Level II tests. These tests are used by top-notch universities and colleges and present a way for the students to depict the applicant’s prowess in the particular subjects and their interests. Colleges like Harvard, MIIT, NYU, etc., require or recommend these subject tests along with the general SAT.

The Math Level II tests measure the applicants’ ability in topics such as Algebra, Permutations, Combinations, Coordinate Geometry, etc. While the Chemistry SAT subject test measures the applicants’ ability to conclude using experimentation data, and the physics SAT subject test is used to test the individual test-takers ability to use and apply the principles of Physics.

The scores on the Subject Tests range from 200-800, and while all the colleges or universities for engineering do not require these tests, the top colleges and universities do require them along with the general SAT.

For more information about admission requirements, check out this article: Tips for a Good College Admission Application

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