If you have a technical mind for all things electric, electromagnetic, and electronic, earning an online master's in electrical engineering can help you turn your passion into a lucrative career. Professionals in electrical engineering are in increasingly high demand, especially within the fields of power, manufacturing, telecommunications, and renewable energy. The median salary for electrical engineers is well above the national average, at $94,000 per year, and electrical engineering jobs exist in nearly every industry, from the federal government to navigational instruments and semiconductor manufacturing. Completing an electrical engineering master's program is the first step toward advanced standing in the field.

What are the best electrical engineering programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
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
6 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY
7 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC
8 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
9 Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA
10 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI

The Best Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Programs of 2019

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Stanford University

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

6

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.

7

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.

8

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.

9

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.

10

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 Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Program?

With hundreds of concentration options, some electrical engineering master's programs are more focused than others. Most electrical engineering master's programs expect candidates to have previous education and experience in the field, though students are not required to have majored in electrical engineering. Master's in electrical engineering programs emphasize leadership skills through coursework that folds entrepreneurship and technology management into core course requirements. Participation in a seminar or culminating capstone course is typically required of graduate students in online electrical engineering programs.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

While each school's electrical engineering curriculum differs, typical coursework includes a combination of broad engineering concepts and in-depth concentration study in an area such as computer hardware, communication systems, or electronic devices and technology. Countless specializations allow students to tailor their online master's in electrical engineering to their goals. Common courses include:

  • Digital systems: This course centers on the study of processor-based digital systems. Students explore the architecture and design of these systems and structures, as well as hardware and software alternatives. The course culminates in a lab in which students design their own processor on a FPGA prototyping system.
  • Statistical signal processing: This course introduces students to probability and signal processing through a variety of mathematical approaches. Other topics include random vectors and processes, convergence and limit theorems, and mean square error estimation.
  • Advanced integrated circuits technology: Students study the evolution of MOS devices, circuit technology, and process technology for silicon manufacturing. Students get exclusive first looks at future IC devices and interconnects technology. Topics include circuit and device fabrication, device isolation, and shallow junction.
  • Wireless communications: This course in wireless technology explores the design, performance, and limitations of wireless communication systems, as well as various channel models and future wireless system prospects.
  • The entrepreneurial engineer: This seminar provides electrical engineering students and aspiring entrepreneurs insight into the careers of business owners with similar engineering backgrounds.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING?

The completion time for an online master's in electrical engineering depends on a variety of factors. While choosing an accelerated option can shorten completion time, studying part-time increases the time necessary to graduate. Additionally, some concentrations require more extracurricular time. An online community college is ideal for students who want to meet the minimum requirements for career-oriented training in engineering. However, those aspiring to a senior position in a niche area of electrical engineering may need to complete an internship or research project. Some programs offer both thesis and non-thesis options.

Electrical engineering master's programs are most commonly offered in individually paced or cohort-based formats. While some schools use one method for all programs, others tailor delivery methods to the specific program. While credit requirements vary, a typical online master's degree in electrical engineering can be completed in one to two years of full-time study.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Degrees

When choosing a school, begin by validating accreditation. Schools will be regionally or nationally accredited. Though either is acceptable, regionally accredited institutions endure a more rigorous evaluation process. Credits earned from regionally accredited schools transfer easily to any institution, whereas regionally accredited schools typically do not accept credits from nationally accredited institutions. Some engineering programs hold accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, in addition to institutional accreditation. Be sure to check your school's status on the ED and CHEA websites.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Electrical Engineering Graduates

Constant innovations in technology create plenty of opportunities to advance within the field of electrical engineering. Graduates of electrical engineering master's online programs pursue senior positions in the field and use subfield specializations and industry skills to explore other areas of engineering. Below are common occupations for graduates of electrical engineering online master's programs.

Electrical and Electronics Engineer

Electrical and electronics engineers design and develop electrical and electronic equipment, including electric motors, navigation systems, portable music players, and GPS systems. Graduates with a master's degree pursue college instructor positions or careers in engineering research and development. A professional engineer license may increase employment opportunities.

Electro-Mechanical Technician

Electro-mechanical technicians work with mechanical technology and electric and electronic circuits. They test, operate, and maintain automated and robotic electromechanical equipment. While entry-level employment requires only an associate degree, many students use a position as an electro-mechanical technician as a stepping stone to further their education and career prospects.

Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or electrical engineering, however an advanced degree is required for specialized positions or positions at large firms. Computer hardware engineers research, design, and develop computer systems and components, such as processors, circuit boards, and routers.

Industrial Engineer

Following the principles of efficient industry practices, industrial engineers increase efficiency and reduce wastefulness in the production process. They organize new systems of efficiency for workers, machines, materials, information, and energy. Master's degree holders often become college professors or work in research and development.

Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Network and computer systems administrators have at least a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering. Some employers require administrators to earn a master's degree once hired. These professionals oversee day-to-day operations of computer networks for IT, administrative, financial, and educational organizations.

MASTER'S IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING SALARY

Salaries and career opportunities vary among electrical engineers. However, even in the potentially oversaturated field of engineering, those with education and professional experience earn salaries that are higher than the national average. Salaries for electrical engineers are wide-ranging compared to similar occupations, potentially increasing $38,000 over the course of a career. The table below shows four popular electrical engineering careers and their median salaries by experience level.

Median Salary by Experience Level

Occupation Entry Level Mid-Level Late Career
Instrumentation engineer $70,000 $86,000 $101,000
Electrical engineer $67,000 $82,000 $105,000
Applications engineer, electrical $72,000 $86,000 $100,000
Electronics design engineer $73,000 $86,000 $92,000

Source: Payscale

Financing Your Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Program

Federal and state scholarships, loans, and grants offer a variety of options for financing an online master's in electrical engineering. Begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps students and families understand funding opportunities and is usually required by schools to determine financing eligibility. Aspiring electrical engineers may find funding opportunities to be more abundant in areas of high industrial need, such as communities in which electrical engineering is in high demand. Minority, low-income, or first-in-the-family college students may find further funding opportunities.


AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

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FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

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FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.