As its name suggests, electrical engineering involves the study and application of electricity, electrical systems, and electronics. Electrical engineers are the professionals who design, develop, test, and maintain electrical devices, including motors, communication systems, electronic equipment and a never-ending (and growing) list of devices who operation is based on electricity.
In the early 19th century, electrical engineering was unheard of. It wasn’t until the invention of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and people using electricity that electrical engineering became a recognized field. With the mass proliferation of electrical devices, especially portable communication devices. Today electrical engineering is one of the most recognized fields of engineering in the world. Within electrical engineering, there are several subfields including digital signal processing, electricity distribution, digital electronics, embedded systems, power electronics, control systems, computer engineering, RF engineering, and telecommunications, to name a few.
Many people do not distinguish between electrical engineering and electronics engineering, but they are slightly different. Electrical engineering primarily addresses transfer or transmission of electricity, as well as electrical machinery. Electronic engineering deals with electronic systems, including communication systems, integrated circuits, and computer devices. In short, electrical engineers concern themselves with the transmission of electric power, while electronic engineers focus on using electricity to process information. Notwithstanding the distinction, in the United States, electrical engineering, and electronics engineering are almost synonymous, and both include many of the same subfields.
Almost all electrical engineers today have an advanced degree – either a bachelor’s or master’s degree – in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or a degree that combines both disciplines. At the undergraduate level designations awarded included Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Technology and Bachelor of Engineering. Although names and titles vary from university to university, most electrical or electronics engineering programs will cover the same fundamentals of electricity, with slight variations depending on focus and specialty. Most bachelor’s degree programs in electrical engineering cover topics including computer science, mathematics, physics, statistics, and various other related subjects. Courses and subject matter studies will begin to vary as students select a subdiscipline toward the end of their bachelor’s degree.
More and more electrical engineers are opting to earn a graduate degree in engineering. Some of the more popular post-graduate degree choices for aspiring electrical engineers in the United States include Master of Science (MSc), Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Engineering Management, Engineering Doctorate (EngD), or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Engineering.
If you’re planning on working in Europe you may consider earning the Engineer’s Degree, the equivalent of a master’s degree in engineering in the United States. Unlike bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering, most post-graduate degrees incorporate a fair amount of research along with traditional coursework (especially if pursuing a doctorate).
Earning a bachelor’s degree is just the first step to becoming an electrical engineer. In most countries, professional certification is required in order to qualify for certain types of engineering work. In most of North America, once a student become certified they are designated as a “Professional Engineer”. In other countries certification leads to the title of European Engineer, Chartered Professional Engineer, Incorporated Engineer, or Chartered Engineer. A few of the professional organizations that informally regulate the practice of electrical engineering include the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). These same institutions also produce the majority of the world’s literature in electrical engineering and sponsor thousands of annual electrical engineering conferences.
Below you can access a comprehensive database of accredited colleges and universities offering campus-based and online associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degree programs in electrical and electronics engineering.
Electrical Engineering and Electronics Degree Programs
Southern New Hampshire University
You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs. Learn More >