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Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering | Context - Context
Online Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering
Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering In Context

A Master of Electrical Engineering provides advanced insights into concepts such as circuit design, electronic communications, signal processing, and other rapidly advancing and in-demand technologies. These advancements drive similar demand for electrical engineer services, particularly from outside contractors, which has become a major preference for many businesses.

The degree advances your practical skills to help you specialize as an electrical engineer. With a master’s in electrical engineering, you can prepare for leadership positions, education roles, and Professional Engineer licensure. As one of engineering’s standout sectors, electrical engineering can provide a lucrative pathway for professionals seeking to advance or technicians seeking to shift sectors, with average earnings reported in 2016 at $94,210, and top engineers reporting salaries above $150,000. [1]

What is a Master of Electrical Engineering degree?

The Master of Electrical Engineering degree can equip students with the skills, knowledge, and technical tools needed for a career in electricity and electronics.

Whether you are interested in learning more about electric drives, medical electronics, software development, electromechanical systems, or other electrical engineering services, the master’s degree can prepare you to further specialize your skills and advance within your chosen niche. Through specializations, you can leverage a master’s in electrical engineering to work with: [2] [44] [45] [46]

  • Electronics
  • Network systems
  • Power engineering
  • Digital computers
  • Telecommunications
  • Control systems
  • Signal processing
  • Microelectronics
Who is this degree for?

The master’s in electrical engineering is geared towards equipping students with the technical skills and knowledge needed for many careers in the field, such as: [3]

  • Electrical engineer
  • Software engineer
  • Senior systems engineer
  • Operations manager
  • Project manager
  • IT manager

Of those graduating with an engineering degree, 32.2% of all degrees (1.27 million) in 2015 awarded were at master’s level, and 58.9% (2.33 million) at bachelor’s level. [4]

In the field of electrical engineering in 2015, there were 12,028 master’s degrees awarded (40.6%) and 15,021 (50.7% share) were bachelor’s degrees. In the electrical engineering workforce, 2.33 million – or 58.9% – hold a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, while 1.27 million (32.2%) hold a master’s degree. [5]

Of all those who work within engineering (3.95 million in the U.S.), 3.3% are electrical and electronics managers. That’s 130,199 people with reported average earnings of $109,906. [6]

Why earn an electrical engineering master's degree?

Earning an electrical engineering graduate degree gives you the opportunity to:

  • Acquire new skills
  • Develop technical knowledge
  • Improve your career prospects
  • Increase your salary expectations
  • Switch careers from an outside sector

More benefits of earning a Master of Electrical Engineering include:

Tap into diverse industries. Electrical engineering prepares you to work in diverse fields such as telecommunications, electronics, automotive, aerospace, energy, or IT, in roles in project management, IT consulting, technical writing and more.

Keep up with technology. Electrical engineers work with electric motors, communications systems, radar and navigation systems, and power generation equipment – all of which are impacted by technological advancements. They also design the electrical systems for aircraft and cars, which are constantly evolving. [7] As a result of technology being so fast-paced, it is important for electrical engineers to stay on the cusp of new knowledge, always looking to improve their skills.

Potential for increased earnings. A Master of Electrical Engineering degree is one of the highest paying M.Eng concentrations, with electrical engineers earning a median pay of $95,230 per year [8] compared with civil engineers who earned $82,220 on average, [9] mechanical engineers, who earned $83,590, [10] and environmental engineers, who earned $84,560 per year. [11]

Salary varies depending on your industry. Consider how average earnings differ across these sectors: [12]

  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing – $107,940
  • Federal government, excluding postal service – $105,960
  • Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing – $101,940
  • Engineering services – $98,250
  • Telecommunications – $90,520

Personal satisfaction of earning an advanced degree. Earning a Master of Electrical Engineering can be beneficial to your own personal and professional development. It can help boost your confidence when competing for jobs.

Improve your employability. Although many jobs within electrical engineering require a bachelor’s degree, [13] holding a master’s degree can help expand your career prospects.

Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Career Advancement

With a master’s degree in electrical engineering, you may be able to advance your career. The median wage for electrical engineers is $93,010, [14] which is more than double the median wage of $36,200 for all other workers. [15] Beyond improving your earning potential, your master’s in electrical engineering can help you qualify for senior roles leading teams of engineers and technicians. Many graduates move into management positions as engineering or program managers. [16]

What are common careers and salaries for Master of Electrical Engineering graduates?
  • Integrated Circuit Designer – median annual salary of $95,332 [17]
  • Electrical Engineer – median annual salary of $72,489 [18]
  • Power Systems Engineer – median annual salary of $72,666 [19]
  • Design Engineer – median annual salary of $65,015 [20]
Where do engineers work?

An electrical engineer master’s degree can prepare you to work in a variety of jobs within both public and private sectors. Popular industries include: [21]

  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Chemical
  • Construction
  • Electronics
  • Defense
  • Marine
  • Consumer Goods
  • Oil and Gas
  • Materials and Metals
  • Power Generation
  • Rail
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecoms
  • Utilities
Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Curriculum
When researching Master of Electrical Engineering programs, it is important to compare the curriculum with your career aspirations. Examine core courses, electives and specializations offered to choose the right fit for you. It is also crucial to choose an accredited degree program that employers will recognize.
Common Master of Electrical Engineering core courses

Based on an analysis of several Master of Electrical Engineering curricula, core courses you will likely be required to complete will cover subjects such as:

  • Biometrics
  • Communications Systems
  • Computer Hardware
  • Computer Software
  • Control and System Engineering
  • Cybersecurity
  • Dynamic Systems
  • Electronic Circuits
  • Electronic Devices
  • Electrophysics
  • Networking
  • Radio, Fields, and Waves
  • Signal Processing
  • Sensors
Typical Master of Electrical Engineering elective courses

Most programs give you the option to customize your studies through elective courses. Common electives you might encounter include:

  • Adaptive Signal Processing
  • Antenna Theory
  • Biometrics
  • Cloud Systems
  • Communication and Signal Processing
  • Data Communications and Networks
  • Detection/Estimation Theory
  • Digital Circuits
  • Digital Design
  • Electromagnetics
  • Energy Conversion Modeling
  • Linear Control Systems
  • Power Conversion
  • Wireless Sensor Networks
Popular Master of Electrical Engineering specializations/concentrations

You can specialize your master’s in electrical engineering to tailor your studies to a specific area within electrical engineering to help further your career. Some of popular specializations include:

  • Advanced Computer Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Automatic Controls
  • Communication and Signal Processing
  • Computer Communications
  • Digital Systems
  • Electrical Power
  • Electrical Systems
  • Electromagnetics
  • Information Systems
Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Program Length

The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.

Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.

You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.

Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Admissions

While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.

In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.

For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.

Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Alternative Degrees

Undertaking your master’s degree is a big commitment, both academically and financially. It’s important to do your research to make sure your educational plan is a good match for your desired outcome.

The following master’s degrees touch on the same topics and learning outcomes as the Master of Electrical Engineering, but they offer a different focus or specialization. As you do your research, consider learning more about these degrees to see whether they might be a better fit for your goals and interests.

  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Master of Engineering Management
  • Master of Business Administration and Engineering
  • Master of Business Engineering
  • Master of Engineering
  • Master of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
  • Master of Computer Science
Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Relevant Industry Associations/Organizations

A sample of key organizations and associations in the field of electrical engineering include:

  • Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
  • National Society of Professional Engineerings (NSPE)
  • American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES)
  • National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
  • National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • International Association of Engineers (IAENG)
Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Accreditation

Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. It is granted only after careful consideration by private, not-for-profit organizations tasked with evaluating educational quality.

Regional accreditation is particularly important if you anticipate that you might want to transfer credits from one online degree program to another or use those credits to pursue another degree. Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.

You can learn more on this topic at our regional accreditation page.

Specialized accrediting bodies

The key accreditation you need to look out for is from ABET. In a nutshell, ABET accreditation indicates that a master’s in electrical engineering meets a nationwide, recognized set of high-quality standards and that graduates have received proper training for fieldwork.

In many cases, employers will specifically look for ABET accreditation when considering your qualifications to ensure that you will be able to qualify for your Professional Engineer (PE) license. [46] This will be crucial if you wish to advance to management and leadership roles.

There are two accreditation commissions for engineering:

  • Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) [28]
  • Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) [29]
Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Licensure

State licensure to become a Professional Engineer requires a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited program and four years of progressive engineering experience under the supervision of a licensed Professional Engineer. [24]

Holding a Master of Electrical Engineering qualification enables students to prepare and qualify for the Professional Engineer (PE) Exam – although you do not necessarily need PE licensure to practice as an electrical engineer. Licensure requirements vary state-to-state. However, it is a symbol that you have obtained the engineering industry’s highest standard of competence, achievement, and quality. [25]

Benefits of licensure include: [26] [27]

  • Qualify to prepare, sign, seal and submit engineering plans to a public authority, or for public and private clients.
  • It signifies to employers that you hold the highest ethical standards.
  • Licensure is a legal requirement to oversee certain projects and staff.
History of the Master of Electrical Engineering Overview

Electrical engineering first made headway as a discipline during the 19th century. One of the key inventors was Thomas Edison, who invented the lightbulb and phonograph. [22]

In 1882, having made such crucial breakthroughs in his own work, and also as a result of the new central electric station in Manhattan that he had established, Edison decided to write to the President of Columbia University, Frederick A.P. Barnard, to suggest that there should be a degree program specifically dedicated to electrical engineering.

Edison had identified how valuable it would be to have young engineers trained in electrical science who could understand how it worked and how it could be applied to machinery, transportation, and lighting. [23] In 1889, Columbia University decided it was time to establish their own electrical engineering department, launching the first master’s program. [23]

Electrical engineering is now offered as a degree program across America, with class sizes growing far beyond what Edison could have predicted. Electrical engineering departments and electrical engineering programs continue to make important contributions to communications, networking, circuits, electromagnetics, photonics, and signal processing, amongst other areas.

Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Tuition and Fees

There are a number of factors that can greatly affect how much your education will cost. These include whether you attend a public or private institution; whether you attend as an in-state or out-of-state student; and whether you qualify for financial aid like grants or scholarships.

For a more detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other financial issues, please visit our tuition and fees page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Electrical engineering courses at the postgraduate level allow students to develop specialist knowledge in a particular area. Electrical engineers who hold a master’s degree can take jobs in telecommunications, the federal government, engineering services, and electronic component manufacturing. [30]

Consider the following factors:

  • Accreditation: Is the program accredited?
  • Flexibility: Is the program on campus or online? If online, does the institution require synchronous sessions? Or if online, is the program asynchronous?
  • Student support: What support systems are in place for your success?
  • Travel requirements: Will you need to pay for additional travel arrangements to meet degree requirements?
  • Interactive learning: What type of learning management system is used?
  • Faculty expertise: Do the faculty have a strong theoretical and practical knowledge base in the field?
  • Fees: Are there any additional fees outside of tuition?

To be eligible for any electrical engineering master’s program you will likely need an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, another engineering discipline, or a program deemed equivalent by the institution.

Prospective electrical engineering master’s students must complete a bachelor’s degree. Admission requirements will vary by program, but typical requirements include transcripts, a minimum GPA, and letters of recommendation.

Completion time usually ranges from 18 to 24 months depending on the program and whether you attend part time or full time.

Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE for acceptance. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.

Online synchronous learning happens in real-time or live. There is a required time that you would need to log in or be present to participate. For example, you would log in to watch a faculty presentation at a specific time for a live question and answer session. In an asynchronous online format, you are not required to be online at a certain time, allowing you to participate according to your schedule. There will still be due dates, but students are solely responsible for their own time management in an asynchronous environment.

No — attaining management/senior positions is not guaranteed through the completion of a master’s degree. These positions often require many years of experience and a significant level of career achievement. However, an advanced degree can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for these positions and also prove your dedication to the field.

Employment of electrical and electronics engineers is projected to show little or no change from 2014 to 2024. Change in employment is expected to be tempered by slow growth or decline in most manufacturing sectors in which electrical and electronics engineers are employed. [32]

Common coursework delivers much more than a solid foundation in math and physical science. It is designed to impart the advanced engineering skills and professional development tools to build your expertise.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology is a nonprofit organization that accredits computing, engineering, and applied science programs. A college or university should also have regional accreditation. [31]

ABET accreditation ensures that an accredited degree provides the skills and education necessary for employment in the industry.

Accreditations are a strong indication of quality, but are also a requirement for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation ensures that your degree is recognized by employers, professional associations, and other accredited institutions of higher education.

SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) applies only to distance education programs in the United States that cross state lines. This agreement is made between member states and establishes comparable postsecondary national standards for distance education courses. [33]

Not every state is a SARA member. Through SARA, member states only have to receive authorization in their home state. Without SARA, non-member states would have to receive authorization in their home state and the state of each of their online students. [33]

Every school has a department or team responsible for online education. This department will be able to answer questions regarding compliance for your home state. Additionally, you can locate the school through CCNE or SARA (if it is a SARA institution) to confirm compliance.