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The electrical engineering field provides many incentives for students looking for a high-paying career with strong projected growth. For aspiring engineers, a master's in electrical engineering can prepare graduates for jobs that pay a median annual salary of more than $100,000, a choice of industries to work within, and management opportunities.
Before taking advantage of these career opportunities, however, students need to find a good program. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, engineering ranks fourth on the list of most popular master's degrees, and degree-seekers have many online master's in electrical engineering programs to choose from.
To make your decision easier, this page explores the top online master's in electrical engineering programs. It also explains common program requirements and study options, along with the career opportunities that learners can pursue after graduation.
What Are the Best Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 5:
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|1||Stanford University||Stanford, CA|
|2||University of Florida||Gainesville, FL|
|3||Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD|
|4||Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA|
|5||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
- How We Rank Schools
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2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Programs
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|Stanford, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 94%||
Stanford is a renowned private research institution that serves over 17,000 students each year. The school powers distance education with the Canvas platform, offering an online master of science in electrical engineering that part-time learners can earn in 3-5 years. Although candidates can complete the majority of coursework online, their choice of focus and electives may require on-campus attendance.
Coursework covers topics in high-frequency circuit design, digital systems engineering, and introduction to VLSI systems. Master's in electrical engineering students personalize the curriculum with electives, picking from options like mining massive data sets and networked wireless systems. With the guidance of a faculty advisor, candidates can pursue an independent research project leading to academic distinction.
Stanford does not maintain concrete admission requirements. However, competitive applicants should display a high GPA and standardized test scores in the top 90th percentile.
University of Florida
|Gainesville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 90%||
Based in Gainesville, UF delivers affordable remote learning opportunities through Canvas. The graduate catalog contains an online master of science and a master of engineering in electrical and computer engineering. These 30-credit programs allow students to choose coursework that aligns with their distinct research interests and career objectives.
Master's in electrical engineering candidates pursue either a thesis or non-thesis track. Course topics comprise foundations of digital signals and processing, hands-on hardware security, and neural networks and deep learning. Students can also explore emerging trends in the field, like state-of-the-art microelectronics technology.
UF provides fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also score at least 140 on the verbal and 3.5 on the analytical writing portions of the GRE.
Johns Hopkins University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 93%||
As one of the top private research institutions in the world, Johns Hopkins serves 26,000 students each year. The institution powers distance education with Blackboard Learn and delivers an online master of science in electrical and computer engineering. Candidates can complete a fully remote curriculum or engage in hybrid learning by taking some classes at the Baltimore, Maryland, campus.
Required coursework covers topics like signals/systems and circuits, devices, and fields. Students choose from a concentration in either photonics or communications and networking. Learners may further personalize their degree plan through one of seven focus tracks, with options for communications and networking, electronics and the solid state, and RF and microwave engineering.
To enroll in this online master's in electrical engineering program, applicants need a relevant bachelor's degree accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. They must also display a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Georgia Institute of Technology
|Atlanta, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
Georgia Tech maintains its flagship campus in Atlanta and enrolls more than 27,000 students annually. The school offers 13 online degrees, which include a master of science in electrical and computer engineering. Through a non-thesis curriculum, candidates gain the technical and leadership skills to succeed as radio frequency specialists, control engineers, and postsecondary instructors.
Students choose three classes from an area of interest and fulfill remaining credit requirements with guided and open electives. Course options include energy technology and policy, wind engineering, and spatial array processing. Candidates can also focus their studies on the aerospace industry by delving into aircraft design and rocket propulsion.
The online master's in electrical engineering program requires applicants to submit GRE/GMAT scores, three references, and a current resume. They also must send in a personal statement detailing research interests and career goals.
University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 92%||
USC opened its doors in 1880 to a class of 53 students. Today, the institution serves more than 44,000 students and delivers career-focused degrees like an online master of science in electrical engineering. This flexible program allows full-time candidates to graduate in 18 months, while students who enroll part time typically earn their credentials in about three years.
The curriculum contains classes like high-speed switching architectures, quantum information processing, and antenna networks. Candidates can take advanced courses in the aerospace control emphasis area, including orbital mechanics and flight vehicle stability and control. Through an innovative web-based delivery system, this master's in electrical engineering program enables distance learners to access classes in real time or on demand.
Applicants need a regionally accredited engineering bachelor's degree. Admission materials include GRE scores, a resume, and a personal statement.
Columbia University in the City of New York
|New York, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 96%||
As a long-time leader in distance education, Columbia has offered remote classes and degrees since 1986. Today, the university provides a comprehensive array of online programming, including a master of science in electrical engineering. By completing this 30-credit program, graduates can design technologies that meet the need for faster and more complex methods of handling information.
Students work with an advisor to pick coursework that meets general breadth requirements. They can personalize their degree plan through one of seven concentrations. Options comprise systems biology, multimedia networking, wireless and mobile communications, and lightwave engineering.
To enroll in this master's in electrical engineering program, prospective learners need a minimum 3.0 GPA and adequate GRE scores. They must submit a statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, and an up-do-date resume.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
|Raleigh, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
NCSU uses the Moodle platform to provide more than 100 remote academic programs. Graduate students can enroll in an online master of science in electrical engineering program if they hold a bachelor's degree in computer or electrical engineering. Candidates gain the research and technical competencies to pursue careers in consumer electronics and mobile/deep space communications.
The 31-credit curriculum covers topics like signal processing and machine learning. Students take advanced classes based on their concentration, with options like microwave circuits and applied electromagnetics; robotics, mechatronics, control, and instrumentation; and nanoelectronics and photonics. This master's in electrical engineering program does not require campus residencies, a thesis, or an oral exam.
Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and stellar GRE scores. They must submit three recommendation letters and a personal statement detailing research experience and career objectives.
University of Virginia
|Charlottesville, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 94%||
Through its School of Engineering and Applied Science, UVA delivers an online master of engineering in electrical engineering. This 30-credit program emphasizes interdisciplinary research and problem-solving skills, which prepare candidates for leadership roles in governmental agencies and global corporations.
Students work with an advisor to fully customize their course of study. They benefit from diverse faculty research strengths, which cover areas like lower-power digital systems, advanced controls, and terahertz and photonic devices. On top of a transfer policy that accepts up to 15 credits, this master's in electrical engineering program allows candidates to take half of their classes at partnering institutions.
UVA requires applicants to hold a bachelor of engineering with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Admission documents comprise a personal statement, GRE scores, a resume/CV, and three recommendation letters.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
|Worcester, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
Founded in 1865, WPI stands at the forefront of science and engineering education. The school powers distance education with Canvas, offering an online master of science in electrical and computer engineering. Candidates may pursue a fully remote degree plan or engage in flexible, hybrid learning.
Students can choose to take classes in one technical area or create a curriculum that covers several specializations. Course options include power electronics, computer and network security, and modern digital communications. Learners can also focus their online master's degree in electrical engineering on areas like power systems and systems engineering.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree in electrical/computer engineering accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. WPI also requires a major GPA above 3.0. Graduate students can apply for a variety of scholarships and fellowships.
University of Wisconsin - Madison
|Madison, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
UW delivers 34 remote professional certificates and degrees through Canvas. The graduate catalog contains an online master of science in electrical engineering: power. This 30-credit program operates asynchronous classes but requires candidates to attend a three-week intensive on-campus lab course over the summer.
Students choose from either a thesis, applied project, or all-course curriculum. Courses cover topics like solid state power conversion, theory and control of synchronous machines, and advanced automatons and robotics. Master's in electrical engineering candidates can conduct independent research with the help of faculty who lead the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium.
In addition to a minimum 3.0 GPA, UW requires applicants to hold a bachelor of science accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The university does not require GRE scores.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Program?
Typically, a research-based MS prepares graduates to pursue further study and careers in academia, whereas a more practical M.Eng. readies students to enter the professional workforce.
Electrical engineers often lean on mathematics, project management, analytical, and communication skillsin their professional lives. Students should possess these skills or work toward developing them to ensure professional success. When choosing a master's in electrical engineering program, learners should consider the different degree types and concentrations that are available and choose a path that matches their career goals.
A master's in electrical engineering typically comes in two forms: a master of science (MS) in electrical engineering and a master of engineering (M.Eng.) in electrical engineering. Typically, a research-based MS allows graduates to pursue further study and careers in academia, whereas a more practical M.Eng. prepares students for entry into the professional workforce. These degree types may also differ in terms of their curriculum and format. However, employers value both degrees.
Degree-seekers can often choose a concentration, as well, which can have an enormous impact on their eventual career. Learners may specialize in areas like communications, computer engineering, bioengineering, and energy systems, increasing their employability in those fields.
Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Programs
For admission into an online master's in electrical engineering program, applicants typically need a bachelor's degree. Schools often require candidates to have a background in engineering, as well. For example, many programs have a list of prerequisites with courses in basic engineering and mathematics.
Some programs may set minimum requirements for standardized test scores, professional experience, and grades. For example, many require a minimum 3.0 GPA. For more information on the application process and requirements, check out our graduate admissions guide.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Program?
The courses you will take in a master's in electrical engineering program vary by school, program, and degree type. M.Eng. curricula may focus more on practical applications, while MS courses may feature more theory and research. The following classes represent common options found in MS and M.Eng. programs.
- Digital Signal Processing
Digital signal processing courses teach students about the many applications of digital signal systems and the algorithms used in the field. Students learn about discrete-time systems and major transforms. They may also explore the specific industries or contexts where these signals are prominent.
- Computer Hardware Design
Computer hardware design courses delve into the practical aspects of the field, familiarizing students with tools, applications, and testing methods used in hardware design. Learners examine the design processes for digital systems, observe circuit-related problems, and learn the jargon used by professionals.
- Electric Power Systems
These courses examine the components and operating mechanics of electric power systems. The curriculum may cover transmission lines and systems and three-phase transformers, along with their limitations and economic impact. Topics may also include modern and alternative power systems and power conversion systems.
- Electromagnetic Theory
Electromagnetic theory courses cover a variety of topics, including Maxwell's equations, electromagnetism formulations, and how electromagnetic fields interact with the world. Students also look at various electromagnetic applications, such as inductors, power forces and losses, and capacitors.
- Semiconductor Devices
Courses on semiconductor devices delve into the physics of semiconductors, their physical properties, and their application in modern devices. Participants learn about energy bands, semiconductor junctions, carriers, and state densities. Students also learn how to design and properly analyze semiconductors.
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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Degree?
A master's degree in electrical engineering qualifies graduates for various careers, many of which boast strong wages and high projected growth rates. The growth in technology, infrastructure, and renewable energy looks positive for new electrical engineering graduates, and their advanced training should help keep them in demand.
In addition to electrical engineering, graduates can pursue roles in computer, aerospace, and biomedical engineering disciplines. A master's-level education can also prepare graduates to work as engineering managers.
Learn more about electrical engineering careers to find out what you can do with a master's in electrical engineering.
- Electrical Engineer
Electrical engineers design and develop electrical equipment, applications, and devices. They may think up new ways of using power and electronics, ensure devices are created efficiently and safely, and oversee the production of devices. According to BLS data, 20% of these engineers work in engineering services, while 9% work in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.
- Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical engineers design and create healthcare devices and equipment using their engineering skills and biomedical expertise. They attempt to improve medical outcomes, medical instruments, and rehabilitation technologies. According to BLS occupational data, 17% work in medical equipment and supplies manufacturing and 14% work in research and development.
- Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineers design and develop computer hardware and components. Often, these professionals improve other manufactured products by adding computer technology to them. According to BLS employment data, 22% of these engineers work in computer systems design and 12% work in semiconductor manufacturing.
- Aerospace Engineer
This occupational group includes aeronautical engineers — who design products for aircrafts, satellites, and military equipment — and aerospace engineers — who work with spacecraft. These professionals may assess the feasibility and logistics of product development, ensure safety protocols are followed, and test safety measures. The BLS reports that 36% of these engineers work in aerospace product manufacturing, 16% work for the federal government, and 15% work in engineering services.
- Engineering Manager
Engineering managers oversee engineering teams and manage engineering-related activities within organizations. They plan projects, handle finances and budgets, and work with other departments to ensure the development process runs smoothly. According to the BLS, 35% of these managers work in manufacturing, while 26% work in architectural and engineering services.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Electrical Engineering Programs
- Is a master's in electrical engineering worth it?
The exact value of a master's in electrical engineering depends on the student, but this degree can generate a significant return on investment. According to BLS employment data, engineering and architecture occupations boast median annual wages of $81,440, and master's degree-holders typically earn more than professionals who only have a bachelor's.
- What can I do with a master's in electrical engineering?
After completing a master's in electrical engineering, graduates can qualify for many engineering careers, including electrical, computer, aerospace, and biomedical engineering positions. They may also pursue management careers and interdisciplinary roles, depending on their training and experience.
- Are electrical engineers in demand?
The BLS projects a 3% growth in employment for engineering and architectural careers between 2019-2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations in the U.S. Professionals pursuing careers in digital technology and renewable energy developments may enjoy stronger employment opportunities as these fields continue to grow.
- How much money can I make with a master's in electrical engineering?
In terms of all engineering and architecture occupations, the median annual salary comes in at $81,440. Electrical and electronics engineers, however, make median annual salaries of $101,250, with the top 10% of electrical engineers making more than $155,880. Location plays a big role in a worker's salary, as well. Electrical engineers in several states, including New Jersey and New Mexico, earn median annual wages over $115,000.
- What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a master's in electrical engineering?
The highest-paying jobs for graduates with a master's in electrical engineering depends on many factors, including a worker's location and experience. In general, engineering managers make the highest median annual wages ($144,830 annually). The top 10% of these professionals make more than $208,000 annually.