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An online master’s in electrical engineering prepares students for a range of careers in the engineering field. While you do not need a graduate degree to enter the workforce, it can elevate your career opportunities, especially for leadership and supervisory positions. Most online graduate degrees in electrical engineering require 30 to 33 credit hours; in some cases, a full-time attendee could finish in just one year.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition for a graduate degree is $20,513 per year. Upon finishing their program, graduates would be eligible to apply for senior-level or managerial positions in electrical engineering and can expect an average annual salary of over $100,000.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Program

Choose your area of study

Your first decision when pursuing an online master’s in electrical engineering will be whether to obtain a Master of Science or a Master of Engineering. The requirements for these programs are typically the same, but they prioritize different overall goals.

A Master of Science in engineering tends to skew more toward research and theory, so those seeking Ph.D. programs and possible teaching positions will likely choose this option. Applicants pursuing a more practical application of engineering principles might opt for a Master of Engineering. Some institutions also offer dual-degree programs, such as an engineering degree combined with an MBA — though these programs demand a longer academic commitment.

Your next consideration is your concentration. Institutions offer different focus areas, and not all universities provide the same concentrations. Some common options include:

  • Wireless and mobile communications
  • Circuits and systems
  • Computer engineering
  • Robotics
  • Bioengineering

If you already know what you would like to do after you graduate, look for programs that match these career goals.

Research schools and programs

You should only apply to institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

You should also look for programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), as this is essential for professional engineering licensure.

Some other questions to consider include:

  • Do online students have access to support resources like tutoring, counseling, and career coaching?
  • How is professional experience integrated into the program?
  • What accommodations are available to those with disabilities?

It’s important to ensure your degree meets your personal and professional needs. To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. Some may have rolling admissions, whereas others have a firm date by which you must submit your materials. Most programs set thresholds for a minimum undergraduate GPA and GRE/GMAT scores. If you struggle with standardized testing, consider enrolling in a GRE or GMAT prep course or setting aside additional preparation time. However, only some schools require admissions testing, so plan and do your research.

You may also need to submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Select your program

Once you’ve identified the programs that match your goals, it’s time to compile your application materials and submit them. You might apply for just one program or want to give yourself options. Most schools post their acceptance rate so that you can get a sense of a specific program’s competitiveness. When you receive your acceptance notices, you’ll want to compare the pros and cons of each choice, factoring in cost, professional opportunities, schedule flexibility, and other variables that matter to you.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Generally, you can find the per-credit cost for your program online. Some programs offer scholarships, fellowships, or other funding opportunities, but these are less common at the graduate level and can be very competitive. To help you plan for payment, contact the school’s financial aid office. You may qualify for federal assistance or affordable loans by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Veterans may be able to apply for certain tuition benefits. Those who already work in the field should see if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits as well.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Degree Programs

Best Online Master's in Electrical Engineering Degree Programs

Georgia Tech Professional Education

Purdue University College of Engineering

University of Arizona

Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals

NC State University

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Penn State World Campus

University of California Los Angeles

Texas A&M University College of Engineering

Columbia University Engineering

Virginia Tech

Drexel University

New Mexico State University

Auburn University

University of Utah

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Missouri

University of Wisconsin at Madison

University of North Dakota

University of Idaho

University of Maryland Graduate School

University of Florida

Villanova University

University of Virginia

Colorado State University

Oklahoma State University

Ohio University

Mississippi State University

Iowa State University

University of Cincinnati

University of Houston

Saint Cloud State University

Florida Atlantic University

Kansas State University

George Washington University

Michigan State University

University of Michigan at Dearborn

Oklahoma Christian University

Michigan Technological University

Arizona State University

New Jersey Institute of Technology

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How We Rank Schools

We focused our research on master’s degrees in electrical engineering. The most common graduate degree in this field is a Master of Science (MS).

We also specifically sought degree programs that can be completed fully or partially online. Many programs give students the option to complete their degree through a combination of online and on-campus coursework, while others are delivered totally online.

All of the schools on our list have regional accreditation, which means they meet high standards of quality for postsecondary education. Many programs are also accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, a specialized program accrediting body.

Once we found the programs that fit our criteria, we evaluated them on their outcomes, reputation, cost, flexibility, and faculty. We then assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering?

Career outlook

A master’s in electrical engineering degree prepares students for a career in any industry that uses electrical components or electronic products.

Those who wish to focus strictly on electrical engineering can work with utility companies and power systems businesses. Those who want to use their knowledge for broader applications can work in the aerospace or marine industries. Electrical engineers are also necessary for healthcare operations and transportation. Here are a few common electrical engineering career paths:

  • Electrical or electronics engineer — Design, develop, and test electrical and electronic equipment, such as electric motors, navigation systems, communication systems, and smartphones.
    • Median annual salary: $104,610
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5%
    • New job openings projected: 17,800 annually
  • Aerospace engineer — Develop and test the componants used in aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles.
    • Median annual salary: $126,880
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 3,800 annually
  • Environmental engineer — Develop and test technology for dealing with environmental issues, such as pollution and global warming.
    • Median annual salary: $96,530
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 3,400 annually

Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in electrical engineering degree program?

Some of the more common application materials for an online master’s in electrical engineering degree program include:

  • Personal statement
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Test scores (GRE scores are preferred over GMAT scores for most electrical engineering programs)

You can also ask an admissions counselor if there is any way to waive the application fees.

Official test scores can take several weeks to send, transcripts can take a few days to mail, and your professional references need at least two weeks to craft their recommendation letters.

How much does an online master’s in electrical engineering degree cost?

The total tuition for an online master’s in electrical engineering degree is typically between $15,000 to $49,000. Multiple factors tie into the final cost. For instance, private schools tend to be more expensive than public schools, and public schools usually charge a higher price for out-of-state students. Other associated costs include books, software, and technology, library, and student fees.

To save some money, ask your admissions counselor about relevant transfer credits, as some programs have curricular requirements that you have already completed in undergrad.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in electrical engineering degree?

Most online master’s in electrical engineering degrees require between 30 to 33 credits, or roughly ten classes. If you attend full-time, you can finish in one or two years. However, many engineering professionals choose to earn their master’s degree while continuing to work, requiring part-time attendance.

If you decide to attend part-time, you will likely need three to five years to complete the program. It’s important to note that many programs require you to finish the coursework within five years. Students can sometimes complete online degree programs, especially those with a self-paced, asynchronous model, at a faster rate than traditional in-person degrees.

Is an online master's in electrical engineering degree worth it?

A master’s degree in electrical engineering opens up advanced positions with supervisory responsibilities and higher salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the highest-paying industry for electrical engineers is research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences. Manufacturing of semiconductors and other electronic components is a close second.

Completing your master’s degree opens up valuable research, internship, and networking opportunities. You can assist faculty with projects and gain valuable experience that can make you a more attractive candidate when it’s time to join the workforce. An online master’s degree program can be especially valuable for students already in the field who are trying to further their education because it’s easier to complete coursework around a traditional job.

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