If you have a background in the sciences but want to take your knowledge to the next level, a graduate program may be the way to get there.
Students interested in pursuing graduate-level engineering degrees should have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or in another related science, like physics or chemistry. If you’re interested in engineering and computer science, electrical engineering could be a perfect way to bring your two interests together into a rewarding, specialized engineering career.
There are many graduate degree programs out there in electrical engineering, including both master’s degree and PhD programs.
Engineering is a diverse field with many specializations to choose from. Before we delve into a list of the best electrical engineering graduate schools, let’s go over the nuts and bolts of
What Is Electrical Engineering?
Electrical engineering is the study of technology and electricity. Because humans didn’t discover electricity until the eighteenth century, this is a relatively new and evolving field of engineering. Electrical engineers work on the electrical components of all types of devices, from tiny microchips to huge power plants.
Electrical engineering can be divided up into sub-specializations, including power generation and transmission systems, motors, batteries, control systems, and the wide field of electronics.
Electronic devices, large to small, are the brainchildren of electrical engineers. The computer or phone screen you are currently reading from was worked on by an electrical and computer engineer.
The Internet that is powering your device has many electrical engineers working on its maintenance. The electricity that is powering your device most certainly was wired by an electrical engineer.
Electrical engineers design an electrical system or electrical equipment. They design, maintain, and repair electrical devices by dealing with conductors, batteries, inductors, transistors, and more.
Electrical engineering is a very flexible field and you can work in a variety of industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical engineers work in manufacturing, telecommunications, research and communications, and government. Though design and modeling work does involve working at a computer, a lot of an electrical engineer’s work also involves on-site work. The work is constantly changing and would not get boring quickly.
Electrical engineering may not be the highest-paying engineering specialization, but median pay is still pretty high. The average salary for electrical engineers is almost $100,000 per year.
Understanding what electrical engineering is and what jobs you can land with your degree are important first steps. If you think you want to pursue a graduate degree in electrical engineering, it’s important to do your research on the best engineering schools out there. Read on to learn more.
Types of Electrical Engineering Graduate Degrees
Below we will break down your options for electrical engineering graduate studies and what requirements you must meet to gain admission to such programs.
Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
A master’s degree in electrical engineering is typically a Master of Science degree. If full-time, these programs usually run two years and include coursework in physics, electrical circuits, design, and electrical systems. A master’s degree is a good option for someone with a science or engineering background who wants to specialize in the electrical space of the field.
Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering
PhD students in any subject, including electrical engineering, are typically students interested in research and academia within their field. In addition to getting a master’s degree, a doctoral student in electrical engineering would also conduct extensive research in the field, including a doctoral thesis.
This means students specialize in a specific niche in the field of electrical engineering. Some electrical engineering graduate programs offer both master’s degree and PhD programs. However, some like MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) do not offer terminal master programs.
Exact admissions requirements and application materials vary from college to college, but all institutions require you to have a bachelor’s degree, either in engineering or in another scientific or technical field like physics, chemistry, or even math. One of the top engineering schools in the country at Stanford University, for example, does not strictly require a bachelor’s in electronic engineering.
Minimum GPA and GRE test scores
The requirements around these two elements also vary by school. While Stanford doesn’t have a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement, its website states that successful applicants typically have a GPA that put them at the top of their undergraduate class. The University of California, Berkeley has a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 while MIT does not list an official minimum requirement. Of those three top institutions, only UC Berkeley requires GRE scores.
Best Electrical Engineering Graduate Schools
Graduate degrees in electrical engineering come in many shapes and sizes. You can pursue your degree full-time or part-time, online or in-person. But, when it comes to the best electrical engineering graduate schools out there, only a handful make the list.
As with most other competitive graduate programs, there are many different ranking lists for engineering degrees. Electrical engineering is a specialized field within engineering so degree programs are definitely competitive. The Princeton Review, The College Board, and US News and World Report are some of the most common and well-regarded ranking systems.
US News and World Report has been an authoritative source on college and university rankings since the 1980s. Starting with a basic list of the top colleges and universities in the country, the publication eventually created more specialized program rankings as well. Here are the electrical engineering schools that made the top 10 list for graduate programs in electrical engineering.
Below is our breakdown the best electrical engineering graduate schools in the US.
Princeton offers three different graduate programs in engineering. You can get a Master of Engineering, a Master of Science in Engineering while specializing in electrical engineering, or you can pursue a PhD program.
Purdue has a well-regarded school of engineering, ranking #7 overall in US News and World Report’s overall ranking of engineering schools. Its Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering is very flexible and offers several different tracks with the same course requirements and professors. They even offer an online option.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon is a top overall engineering school with a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a PhD program. Though most students pursue the degree full-time, master students based in the US may enroll in the program part-time.
Cornell offers two different graduate programs in electrical engineering: the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Master of Engineering and the ECE PhD program. The ECE master’s program culminates in an independent design thesis project.
University of Texas-Austin
The Electrical and Computer Engineering program at UT Austin’s college of engineering offers two program options. The Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, in which students have access to nine different academic tracks, and a PhD program, which is the most popular of the two offerings.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
According to the University of Michigan’s Electrical and Computer Engineering division, it is one of the oldest and most respected programs in the world. This division has more options than most. In addition to a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a PhD in ECE, the computer engineering division also offers Master of Engineering in Data Science, Machine Learning, or Autonomous Systems.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech is one of the most respected institutes of technology in the country. It is also all about options. It offers a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a thesis as well as an MSECE non-thesis option. It also offers a doctoral program.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
As one of the only public universities on this list, Urbana-Champagne has a top electrical engineering program. It offers a Master of Engineering degree program in-person, another online, and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering program option.
California Institute of Technology
Cal Tech is the most prestigious institute of technology on the West coast. It offers a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering as well as a PhD program.
University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley’s master program option is a Master in Engineering in Electrical and Computer Engineering. It is a full-time only program. Students may also apply directly to the PhD program or the combined MS/PhD program.
What better place to study engineering than in the heart of Silicon Valley? Stanford’s electrical engineering school sticks to electrical engineering while the computer science division is separate. It offers a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering as well as a PhD degree program. It is regarded as one of the strongest programs in the world.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT, easily the most famous institute of technology in the world, is serious about electrical engineering. Students interested in a graduate degree in electrical engineering at MIT have to opt for the PhD program because it’s the only option. Doctoral students will earn a master’s degree on their way to earning the PhD.
The Best Graduate Electrical Engineering Program for You
At the end of the day, all of these top school options are producing the most talented electrical engineers in the field today. Consider the different degree programs available, admission requirements, location, online availability, cost, and financial aid as you make your final decision on a school.
If you are interested in research and academia but are nervous about committing to a PhD program right away, apply to a master’s degree program at an engineering school with both degrees so you can keep your options open.