Best Online Master’s Electrical Engineering Degree Programs

Earn an online master’s electrical engineering degree and get a credential that commands attention. See top programs, necessary accreditation, common courses you’ll take, and where this program can take you after graduation.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is a complex field requiring a high level of expertise from professionals interested in making changes to the gadgets, technology, and the way we live today. If you’re looking to advance in this engineering subfield, earning an online master’s electrical engineering degree from an ABET-accredited university can be a smart choice. These programs give you the study flexibility you need as you increase your knowledge of circuits, information systems, and digital signal processing that can help you qualify for senior-level roles and command a higher salary.

This guide to earning your online master’s electrical engineering degree will help you identify the top accredited programs and know what to expect when it comes to the curriculum, cost and financial aid, admissions requirements, and potential careers.

College Spotlights: Best Online Electrical Engineering Master’s Degree Programs in 2021

The universities below have online electrical engineering master’s degrees that we’ve deemed best-in-class. Their accredited programs meet high quality standards while allowing for flexibility so students from all walks of life can participate. These are a preview of our fully ranked list that will go live later in 2021, so be sure to check back to take a look at the other top masters of electrical engineering programs.

Purdue University

purdue-university-logo

Purdue’s online master’s in electrical engineering degree has been top-ranked multiple times and is clear-cut and straightforward. The MSECE program comprises 30 credits, with 15 of those being electrical and computer engineering classes, 6 in graduate math coursework, and up to 9 others from outside the electrical engineering program (ME, STATS, CS, etc.).

Students have a lot of flexibility in the program to focus on a specific area of interest, such as automatic control, communications, networking, signal & image processing, computer engineering, fields and optics, microelectronics and nanotechnology, Schweitzer power and energy systems, or VLSI and circuit design.

Students will develop innovative thinking approaches to address practical and complex problems in the program and are all automatically considered for a new financial fellowship now available to online students. Full-time students can complete this degree in as little as one year.

Stanford University

Stanford University

The Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree at Stanford is made up of 45 credits and is typically finished in three to five years as a part-time student. The majority of courses can be completed online. However, the school says that “this depends heavily on your program plan, area of focus, and the course offerings for any given academic quarter.” The program accepts no transfer credits, but students may apply up to 18 units of applicable coursework from Stanford’s non-degree option.

Students will take a variety of “depth” and “breadth” classes throughout the program in areas such as circuits, software, and hardware systems; communications and networking; physical technology and science; and signal processing, control, and optimization.

Admission to this program requires a bachelor’s degree with a strong technical background in engineering, physical sciences, or mathematics; unofficial transcripts; your statement of purpose; three letters of recommendation; and completed prerequisite coursework. No minimum GPA or GRE test scores are required.

Texas A&M University

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There are two degree options at Texas A&M—a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Electrical Engineering or a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. The MEng program does not require a thesis but does include two written reports. The Master of Science option has a thesis, or non-thesis track students may choose from.

Also, students can choose one of seven focus areas which are 1) Analog and Mixed Signal, 2) Biomedical Imaging, Sensing and Genomic Signal Processing, 3) Device Science and Nanotechnology, 4) Energy and Power, 5) Electromagnetics and Microwaves, 6) Information Science and Systems, and 7) Computer Engineering Systems.

The MEng and MS non-thesis options require completion of 30 semester credit hours, whereas the MS-thesis option requires 32. The MEng does not require a final project, though the MS non-thesis option does, and the MS-thesis option requires a final on-campus defense and final exam.

Key Benefits of Earning an Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering

Earning an electrical engineering master’s degree online will allow you to study where and when you want. After graduation, it will enable you to participate in more in-depth projects, get a promotion, participate in research, and teach at an institution of higher education. Below we’ve talked about a few benefits in more detail.

  1. Teaching and Research

    Getting an online master’s electrical engineering degree will open the door to research and higher education institutions. If you want to be at the forefront of creating and discovering new technology, or if you want to pass your skills onto the next generation, a master’s degree is your ticket to ride.

  2. Convenience and Flexibility

    Pursuing an online master’s in electrical engineering is perfect for anyone who is already working and has found their skills or knowledge lacking. Online programs give you the flexibility of doing coursework when you have time and the convenience of doing it wherever you want. This will let you keep your job and apply what you learn along the way.

  3. Specialization

    Most online electrical engineering master’s degrees are flexible, with few classes considered core classes and the rest being electives to let you specialize in your area of interest. This lets you gain a broader knowledge of the electrical engineering field or dive deep into a particular concentration that may make you more marketable as an expert.

What You’ll Learn in an Online Master’s Electrical Engineering Program

Online master’s degrees in electrical engineering typically cover topics like energy systems, circuits, electrical devices, digital signal processing, hardware platforms, quantum software and programming, information theory, computer-aided design, and so much more. Most if not all courses can be completed 100% online. Even so, it’s not uncommon for students to take part in projects and have comprehensive exams at the end of their degrees. Students wishing to participate in research and teaching may want to find one of the few programs that offer a thesis option.

Common Courses

  • Semiconductor Technologies and Systems

    This course introduces the physics, chemistry, and materials science behind semiconductors. Students will learn about measurement techniques for semiconductor materials and will be provided with the necessary background to understand the operation of devices such as transistors and solar cells. Topics could include bandgap, band structure, effective masses, electrons and holes, the Fermi function, intrinsic carrier density, doping, carrier transport, and generation-recombination.

  • Applied Quantum Mechanics

    This course covers aspects from fundamentals to present-day hardware platforms to quantum software and programming. Students will gain the essential foundation to understand computing models built from the principles of quantum mechanics.

  • Nuclear Power Engineering

    This course is a common elective across online electrical engineering master’s degrees and covers nuclear structure and radiation, biological effects, and radiation medical applications. Students will learn about neutron and reactor physics, neutron diffusion and reactor criticality, and learn about nuclear materials and waste. The topics of reactor systems and safety will also be covered.

  • Solid State Devices

    This course may overlap lightly with the semiconductor class above due to the discussion of semiconductor fundamentals required in the operational analysis of solid-state devices. Students will examine the PN junction diode and devices and treat heterojunction surface devices, including the Schottky diode, the MOS capacitor,[ and the MOSFET.

  • Digital Signal Processing

    This class covers topics like sampling theory, digital filtering, spectrum estimation, autoregressive modeling, transmultiplexers, and more. Throughout the course, applications emphasized will include CD/DVD players, radar, 5G cellular communications, audio compression, wireless routers, and GPS signal processing for geolocation.

Specialization and Concentration Options

Specialization is a huge part of online master’s in electrical engineering programs. There are so many different ways you could go it’s difficult to pin down just a few similar example concentrations. Whether you’re into renewable energy, communication systems, electronic circuits, and their design, microwaves and antennas, microelectronics and nanotechnology, machine learning, or anything else, there’s a program just for you. Delving into your interests will make you more marketable as an expert and make you a more dedicated employee.

  • Communications and Information Systems

    This concentration focuses on information theory and application, societal networks, and signal processing, and multimedia. Students will be exposed to the latest research in these areas. They will cover similar topics such as information forensics, machine learning, computational imaging, video analytics, 5G, millimeter waves, and smart grid networking.

  • Electronic Circuits and Systems

    This concentration covers material in analog and digital electronics such as VLSI, solid-state devices, power electronics, RFID, and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) based systems. Students will research and study computer-aided design, building blocks for new circuit technology, integrated circuit testing and fault diagnosis, digital signal processing, and the design of low-power circuits.

  • Microwave, Antenna, and Photonic Systems

    This concentration will provide students with the tools to understand, design, and implement telecommunication systems for various terrestrial and space applications. The increased reliance on high-frequency systems ensures that this field will grow since it is expected to play an important role in future technologies such as 5G, quantum information, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, videophones, and portable medical sensors.

  • Electric Energy Systems

    This concentration offers courses in renewable energy, power systems, electric machines, and power electronics. The recent focus on clean energy and energy efficiency has led to a renewed interest in power, energy, and energy conversion systems. Students will learn about solar cell development, battery testing, modeling and simulation of microgrids, power train electronics for electric vehicles, and the application of wide-bandgap devices in power electronic converters.

Accreditation for Online Electrical Engineering Master’s Degree Programs

The best electrical engineering master’s degrees online are accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET’s seal of approval means a program is of high caliber and is equipped to prepare competent electrical engineers for the working field. ABET has years of experience accrediting engineering and technology programs worldwide and is a good place to start looking for acceptable programs.

What You Can Do with a Master’s in Electrical Engineering

A master’s degree in electrical engineering will help people in current engineering jobs specialize and deepen their knowledge in an area they are passionate about. Though most engineering jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree will open the doors to leadership, teaching, and research positions.

The engineering field typically pays well and is growing at a steady, average rate of 3%. However, like nuclear engineers listed below, some kinds of engineers may have a hard time finding a job since their particular specialty field is slowing way down (-13%).

Electrical Engineer

These engineers supervise and manufacture electrical equipment like motors, radar and navigation systems, communication systems, or power generation equipment. They are also responsible for designing, developing, testing, and supervising the electrical systems in automobiles and aircraft.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$63,020

$98,530

$155,880

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear engineers focus on extracting nuclear energy and radiation benefits by researching and developing specific processes, instruments, and systems. These engineers have found industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials (like equipment used in medical diagnosis and treatment). Others may specialize in developing nuclear power sources for ships or spacecraft.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$71,860

$113,460

$179,430

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Engineering Manager

An engineering manager typically plans, directs, and coordinates activities in engineering companies and usually needs quite a bit of experience to rise to the position. Most work in an office, though you will find some that work in research laboratories or industrial production plants. Most work 40 hours per week or more.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$92,510

$144,830

$208,000

Source: PayScale, 2019

Computer Hardware Engineer

Electrical engineers can specialize in computers, leading them to the design, development, and testing of computer systems and components. They usually work in research laboratories that build and test different types of computer models.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$68,460

$117,220

$185,240

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Test Engineer

A test engineer identifies and conducts processes to determine whether a product meets all relevant specifications. Electrical engineers will check the systems in electronic products and report their findings. They need skills in analysis, problem-solving, and presenting results to non-specialist audiences.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$63,020

$98,530

$155,880

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering

Since graduate courses are often more expensive than undergraduate courses, it’s important to know all of the financial aid options you have before committing to anything. As you research schools, take some time to look into available fellowships, government aid, work-study opportunities, scholarships, and employer tuition assistance. Then, create a financial study plan.

What Your Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Purdue University

30

$750

$22,500

Stanford University

45

$1,352

$60,840

Texas A&M University

30

$710.30

$21,309

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Electrical Engineering Master’s Degrees

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in electrical engineering?

Though every electrical engineering master’s degree program will have different requirements, you’ll find that many overlaps, such as:

  • Educational transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree (typically with technical backgrounds like engineering, physical sciences, or math)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three professional references

How long will it take to finish my master’s in electrical engineering online?

The length of a master’s degree in electrical engineering ultimately depends on the school and the number of credits required for graduation. A master’s degree typically takes two years of full-time study to complete, though the program at Purdue University can be completed in one year by a full-time student. A part-time student can expect to earn their degree in three to five years. With that in mind, be aware that most universities require students to complete their degree within five years of their start date.

Can I earn a master’s in electrical engineering completely online?

Most online master’s in electrical engineering programs can be completed 100% online, including classes, tests, and term papers. Some schools offer a thesis option or research opportunities that may require on-campus visits, but that is completely up to the student.