Electronics engineers design and construct the technologies we use in nearly every aspect of life. From local access computer networks to fiber optics and circuit boards, electrical engineering plays an integral role in how we work, communicate, and interact with the world around us. As technological innovations continue to drive the development of new products and services, the demand for electronics and electrical engineers will accelerate.
While engineering is known to be a financially rewarding field, it is also highly competitive. Increasingly, electronics engineering professionals are seeking graduate degrees to distinguish themselves on the job market and to enhance their earning power. The payoff for pursuing higher education is significant, with master's degree holders earning up to 13% more annually than engineers who hold only a bachelor's degree. Along with higher salaries, a master's program helps students develop new skills and specialties, and opens a range of exciting job opportunities.
What are the best electronics engineering programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of Florida||Gainesville, FL|
|2||Stanford University||Stanford, CA|
|3||Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD|
|4||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
|5||Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA|
|6||Columbia University in the City of New York||New York, NY|
|7||University of California, Los Angeles||Pittsburgh, PA|
|8||North Carolina State University||Los Angeles, CA|
|9||University of Virginia||Raleigh, NC|
|10||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Charlottesville, VA|
2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Electronics Engineering Programs
University of Florida
|Gainesville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 90%||
Based in Gainesville, UF's online programs boast a 90% retention rate to the second year of study.
The 30-credit online master's in electrical and computer engineering allows students to take up to three courses each semester. Students may pursue this degree as a master of science or engineering.
Students enrolled in the online master's in electronics engineering take courses in noise in linear systems, image processing and computer vision, advanced systems programming, and hands-on hardware security.
Applicants must submit GRE scores. UF allows students to transfer in up to 15 credits of graduate-level work with a minimum "B" grade. Florida residents receive a discounted tuition rate.
The University of Florida holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
|Stanford, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 94%||
Located in Stanford, California, Stanford enrolls over 16,000 students, more than 9,000 of which pursue graduate studies.
The 45-credit online master's in electrical engineering takes part-time students about 3-5 years to complete. Students can complete the majority of this degree online but may need to take some on-campus classes depending on course availability each semester.
Students enrolled in the master's in electronics engineering take core classes in high-frequency circuit design, digital systems engineering, battery systems for transportation and grid services, and semiconductor memory devices and technology.
Applicants must submit GRE scores. Stanford charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students.
Stanford University holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Johns Hopkins University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 93%||
Based in Baltimore, Maryland, 98% of students at Johns Hopkins earn pre-professional experience at the university.
The online master's in electrical and computer engineering requires 10 courses, seven of which must come from the electrical and computer engineering class list. Students must complete their degree within five years.
The program offers two concentrations: photonics or communications and networking. Some core classes include satellite communication systems, software radio for wireless communications, and information theory.
Applicants to the online master's degree in electronics engineering must hold a bachelor's in electrical and/or computer engineering from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Johns Hopkins does not require GRE scores.
Johns Hopkins University holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 92%||
Located in Los Angeles, California, USC enrolls over 48,000 students and touts a 91% six-year graduation rate.
The 28-credit online master's in electrical engineering takes a full-time student about two years to complete. USC offers both asynchronous and synchronous online classes, with three methods of course delivery: live, on demand, or by download.
Graduates of the master's in electronics engineering program pursue careers in industrial and power electronics, professional communications, or systems design. Students must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution. USC charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students.
The University of Southern California holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Georgia Institute of Technology
|Atlanta, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
Based in Atlanta, Georgia Tech enrolls over 32,000 students and awards over 3,000 master's degrees each year.
The online master's in electrical and computer engineering includes courses in power systems protection, advanced computer architecture, spatial array processing, and digital systems testing.
Students enrolled in the online master's degree in electronics engineering complete classes asynchronously, viewing recorded lectures on demand. Georgia Tech recommends spending three hours of study per credit each week for competitive grades.
Applicants should submit standardized test scores. The university accepts transfer credit from accredited postsecondary institutions. Georgia residents receive a discounted tuition rate.
The Georgia Institute of Technology holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Columbia University in the City of New York
|New York, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 96%||
Columbia features a 30-credit online master's in electrical engineering which offers seven optional concentrations including wireless and mobile communications, integrated circuits and systems, lightwave (photonics) engineering, and microelectronic devices.
Students enrolled in the master's in electronics engineering must take at least 6 research credits and complete their degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Online learners must finish their degree within five years.
Applicants must submit GRE scores. Columbia requires students to hold a bachelor's in engineering, mathematics, science, or a related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Columbia charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students.
Columbia holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
University of California, Los Angeles
|Pittsburgh, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 89%||
UCLA features more than 150 graduate degree programs, including online master's degrees in electrical engineering and electronic materials engineering.
Both degrees require the completion of a capstone, consisting of either a self-designed project or three comprehensive exams. Students enrolled in either master's in electronics engineering programs can complete their degree in around nine academic quarters.
Applicants must submit GRE scores and need several letters of recommendation, including one from an employer. The master's in electrical engineering accepts around 73% of applicants, while the master's in electronic materials accepts around 50% of applicants.
UCLA holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
North Carolina State University
|Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 91%||
Located in Raleigh, NC State enrolls over 35,000 students across 12 academic colleges.
The 30-credit online master's in electrical engineering prepares students for careers such as computer circuit design engineers, programmable logic controller programmers, radio frequency engineer managers, and utilities and power distribution engineers.
Students enrolled in the master's in electronics engineering must finish their degree within six years. Online learners take courses in areas like electronics and power systems or nonelectronics and photonics.
Applicants must submit GRE scores. NC State requires a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from an accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 3.25 GPA. North Carolina residents receive a discounted tuition rate.
North Carolina State University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
University of Virginia
|Raleigh, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
Located in Charlottesville, UVA enrolls over 2,000 students and features an 89% four-year graduation rate.
The 30-credit online master's in electrical engineering requires a maximum of five years to complete. Some core courses include linear automatic control systems, tensors for data science, communication systems engineering, and solid state devices.
Students enrolled in the online master's degree in electronics engineering must complete three comprehensive exams — oral communication, technical writing, and analysis assessment — to graduate.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or a related field from an accredited postsecondary institution and GRE scores. Virginia residents receive a discounted tuition rate.
The University of Virginia holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Charlottesville, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 94%||
U of I enrolls over 16,000 graduate students and awards over 3,000 master's degrees annually.
The 32-credit online master's in electrical and computer engineering requires the completion of a capstone project under faculty supervision. This program does not offer a thesis option for the master of engineering.
Students enrolled in the online master's degree in electronics engineering take core classes in advanced semiconductor nanotech, EM waves and radiating systems, analysis of nonlinear systems, and random processes.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The university does not require GRE scores. Illinois residents receive a discounted tuition rate.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Electronics Engineering Program?
Every online master's program includes distinct course offerings, concentrations, and requirements. Some engineering concepts, however, are addressed in nearly every curriculum. The information below is only a brief summary of some of the topics you may encounter while earning a master's in electronics engineering online.
Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Electronics Engineering
- Digital Systems: Building off concepts introduced in undergraduate study, coursework presents a detailed look at digital systems architecture and related concepts in statistics and probability. In addition to modes, data types, and low-level data structures, learners examine various system design implementation alternatives and tradeoffs between hardware and software.
- Computer Architecture: Prospective computer engineers receive a broad introduction to the fundamentals of digital hardware design and systems architecture. Topics address pipelining and hazard control, addition and subtraction circuits, memory systems, and digital-to-analog conversion. Students may be required to complete a hands-on design project demonstrating their acquired knowledge.
- Introduction to Wireless Technology: Lectures and software-based exercises explore the technologies and systems behind cellular and wireless computer networks, personal communications systems, satellite networks, and speech and video coding. Learners develop proficiency in fading and interference reduction techniques commonly used by electrical and sound engineers, including adaptive modulation, MIMO, and equalization.
- Fourier Transform and Techniques: Introducing the Fourier transform theory and its many applications in imaging and optics, this course examines the ways in which this mathematical principle can help solve practical engineering problems. Topics covered include continuous and discrete signals, scalar diffraction theory, spatial filtering and processing, and convolution and correlations.
- Integrated Circuits Technology: Understanding semiconductor design and construction is a crucial aspect of both electrical and materials engineering. This class presents the critical concepts in microwave design, silicon wafer fabrication, and CMOS technology needed to conduct research and complete simple CAD design projects. Prerequisite coursework in microwave circuitry is typically required.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master's in Electronics Engineering?
How long it takes to earn a master's in electronics engineering online depends on several factors, including program structure, pacing, and delivery method. Typically, an electronics engineering curriculum consists of 30-40 credits, with full-time students earning their degree in around two years. However, some programs may be as long as five years or as short as 12 months.
Asynchronous, self-paced courses allow students to complete assignments more quickly than other formats. While asynchronous programs provide a greater deal of scheduling flexibility, they also require self-discipline and commitment. In contrast, cohort-based programs emphasize collaborative learning and faculty support. More closely resembling traditional on-campus courses, they are highly structured and take longer to complete than their asynchronous counterparts.
Other aspects that influence degree length include internships or practicum requirements, pursuing an area of concentration, transferring credits from another institution, and any unfulfilled prerequisites a student may need to complete before pursuing major coursework.
Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Electronics Engineering Prepares For
- Fundamentals of Engineering (FE): Recent graduates and students enrolled in ABET-accredited programs qualify to take the 110-question FE exam, which is typically the first step towards becoming a professional licensed engineer. The test, which takes approximately six hours to complete, measures understanding of fundamental concepts in math, ethics, economics, and electrical and computer engineering.
- Professional Licensed Engineer (PE): Engineers with four or more years of post-college work experience may sit for the PE exam, which measures a candidate's competency in their chosen engineering subfield. The eight-hour, 80-question electrical and computer engineering exam covers topics ranging from data encryption to power systems analysis and modulation techniques.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Electronics Engineering Degrees
Accreditation is a quality control process conducted by regional and national agencies. Known as accrediting bodies, they assess colleges and universities to ensure they adhere to the highest academic and ethical standards. Most for-profit vocational institutions receive national accreditation, while academically-focused, nonprofit universities are typically regionally accredited. Regional accreditation is usually preferable, as it allows for easier credit transfer between institutions, and is generally seen as more prestigious than national accreditation.
Additionally, some organizations specialize in programmatic accreditation and assess individual schools or academic programs within a particular field. Programmatic accreditation plays a stronger part in engineering employment and education than in most other sectors. ABET is the most well-known and respected engineering accreditor, and many employers prefer or exclusively hire graduates of ABET-accredited programs. Certain credentials, such as FE and PE licenses, are also restricted to candidates who have completed an ABET-accredited program.
Accreditation also helps the U.S. Department of Education (ED) determine which institutions are eligible to receive federal financial aid. While the ED does not accredit schools itself, it relies on accrediting bodies to ensure that government-financed colleges and universities are operating according to standards and appropriately utilizing funds. Accrediting bodies, in turn, are monitored by external organizations such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Made up of representatives from over 3,000 schools, CHEA advocates for accreditation awareness and fights degree mills by maintaining a comprehensive database of accredited schools and programs around the world.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Electronics Engineering Graduates
Master's in Electronics Engineering Salary
Individuals with a master's degree in electronics engineering consistently out-earn those who hold only a bachelor's. As the table below demonstrates, this phenomenon extends to many different careers and specialties in electrical engineering and related fields. Using data gleaned from PayScale, the following chart displays the sharp contrast in earning power between professionals with a bachelor's degree and master's degree holders in the same role.
|Job Title||Median Salary, Bachelor's Degree||Median Salary, Master's Degree|
Master's in Electronics Engineering Careers
There are many paths available to individuals who earn an electronic engineering master's degree online. Electrical equipment and computer systems are used in nearly every sphere of modern life, and graduates find work in an array of industries and settings. Requiring an eye for detail and strong computer skills, careers such as the ones below are often as lucrative as they are fulfilling. From flight systems to fiber optics, the field holds something for everyone.
- Electrical/Electronics Engineer
Tasked with the design and development of electronic devices and equipment, these engineers are employed in a range of industries. Some work for the federal government, constructing satellites, aeronautic systems, and radar communication devices, while others develop new products for companies or specialize in product and system maintenance.
Median Annual Salary $96,270
Projected Growth Rate 7%
- Computer Hardware Engineer
Like electronics engineers, computer hardware specialists design, test, and repair equipment. Often working alongside software developers, they build processors, networks, circuit boards, and other devices used in conjunction with cutting-edge computer software. Computer hardware engineers are expected to have some programming experience, and often need a master's degree to qualify for specialized roles.
Median Annual Salary $115,080
Projected Growth Rate 7%
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator
These specialists manage and maintain an organization's computer systems, addressing security issues and optimizing procedures as required. Working with systems such as local area and wide access networks, they ensure that all data communications networks are secure and run efficiently. To stay up-to-date on new technologies, they must periodically seek continuing education programs.
Median Annual Salary $79,700
Projected Growth Rate 6%
- Computer Network Architect
Network architects design and build data communication networks according to their organization's specifications and needs. They work alongside other IT employees to approach network construction and database design from multiple angles. Because the job is closely tied to business practices, some employers prefer candidates with an MBA or related degree.
Median Annual Salary $101,210
Projected Growth Rate 6%
- Sales Engineer
Combining marketing principles with engineering know-how, this position requires extensive knowledge of the scientific processes behind electronic devices and systems. Charged with selling complex technologies to businesses and organizations, sales engineers work for firms and companies. They may be required to research, develop, or modify products to better fit consumer needs.
Median Annual Salary $100,000
Projected Growth Rate 7%
Professional engineering organizations hold a variety of valuable resources for students and recent graduates alike. From career services to networking opportunities like conferences and seminars, the benefits of joining one of these professional interest groups are almost limitless. Many offer skill-building continuing education (CE) and certification programs, exclusive scholarship opportunities, and mentoring programs. Membership also looks great on a resume or CV. Below are several major engineering associations that one may be interested in exploring further.
The world's largest professional organization dedicated to technology, IEEE has expanded beyond its electrical engineering roots to welcome all tech experts. Student members receive extensive career and academic assistance resources.
- Institution of Engineering Technology (IET)
Made up of engineers and engineering students from 150 countries, the IET is home to a large database of CE programs, webinars, and digital research publications. It awards over one million dollars in scholarships annually.
- Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
Serving as an advocate for female engineers worldwide, SWE is committed to building leadership and technical skills through affinity groups, networking opportunities, and professional development programs.
- National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
Setting the standard for professional engineering credentialing, NSPE is home to the FE and PE certification programs, as well as a variety of on-demand CE courses and exam preparation materials.
- The Optical Society
This association provides engineers, scientists, and other professionals specializing in optics and photonics with a place to share research, knowledge, and resources. Its digital library is among the largest of its kind.
Financing Your Online Master's in Electronics Engineering Program
Students pursuing an electronics engineering master's degree online have a variety of funding options. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) helps the government determine how much federal financial aid you may be eligible for, including grants, scholarships, and student loans. Many nonprofit organizations, special interest groups, and businesses also sponsor scholarships and grants. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs as an incentive for employees to gain new skills and stay up to date on new technologies.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
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.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
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.