UVA vs. UMD for Engineering

Which school is better for engineering and which one is more of a “weed-out” program? Child is deciding between both for Mech Eng. And if neither is a “weed-out” program, what are the resources/support for students in the major?

Have heard positive things about UMD Clark.

Edited to add: but there are large classses for frosh and sophs. Some required classes do grade on a curve.

In general, one must avoid falling behind. One must ask for help, show up to class.


There is a FB run by UMD parents where you may find more info.

Terp Planet has ratings by students about instructors.
A C average is needed to earn degree, in general one must watch GPA to continue into upper level reqs.

Can see four year plan and ask Clark ambassadors ( students).

Will you attend Admitted Student events?

Has own Eng Career Services, lots of recruiting

It does not look from the web sites that either school’s engineering division or majors has any high GPA or competitive admission needed to get into any of the majors for students who start as engineering undeclared.

Have you visited both campuses? Been on admitted student tours?

I haven’t seen the UVA engineering facilities but the UMD engineering building and facilities are fairly new and look great. I think they have a stronger reputation too, than UVA.

Best to visit both schools in person, talk to students, view sample 4-year schedules, read course descriptions, etc.

Thank you all for your responses!

We’ve visited UMD but not UVA yet…hoping to get there early next month. And then there are only a few weeks to commit.

Any additional thoughts on the culture of each campus? Thanks!

For what it’s worth, my daughter visited both when applying for Engineering and much preferred UMD. She chose to not even apply to UVA after visiting. It had a very elite, snobby environment.

Interestingly, I had a recent UVA working for me at the time and mentioned this to him. He just looked down at his shoes and said “yeah, that’s not surprising”.

I don’t remember hearing anything particularly different from either school in terms of retention, other than the reality that Engineering is challenging and a certain percentage drop out of any program after Freshman year. Each school should be willing to share the Engineering-specific Freshman retention rate, as an indicator.


Glad you are visiting UVA so you can see for yourself if it might be a good fit. Both great schools. Enjoy your visit and good luck with the decision.

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Since you are asking for opinions, D/we say UVA Engineering is better! Better peer fit, campus feel, higher 4yr grad rate for engineering, and the culture seemed to focus more on early undergrad research opportunities. Again, just our overall assessment for our specific engineering kid.