The Best Master’s in Electrical Engineering Programs

If you possess an affinity for math and science, an understanding of how these areas span virtually every industry imaginable, a creative and solution-oriented imagination, and a strong desire to solve the persisting social woes of the world, a master’s in electrical engineering provides an exciting opportunity to define the future you envision. 

Electrical engineers will never experience the same day twice. Interdisciplinary in nature, the field draws upon expertise from areas like public health, journalism, and the law. 

Take a walk through any urban center in the United States, and you’ll find yourself enveloped in modern electrical engineering developments: interactive billboards, wearable technology, and satellite systems are just a few examples.

As an electrical engineer, you have a lot of leeway in building your career trajectory. Electrical engineers specialize in powering devices, creating signals and algorithms for automation, and developing sensory technology. 

The field is ideal for people who crave hands-on experiences, especially those interested in forming their own startup companies.

Admission to one of the best electrical engineering graduate schools in the United States will grant you unparalleled opportunities for creating prototypes, collaborating with global leaders in technology, and even studying abroad to build solutions alongside stakeholders in developing countries. 

Here are 10 of the best master’s in electrical engineering schools in the U.S. These schools were selected because of their top ranking in major publications, such as U.S. News and others.

Tufts University School of Engineering (Medford, MA)

Tufts University School of Engineering
NicholasWoofington, SEC Tufts2019, CC BY-SA 4.0

The possibilities are seemingly endless as a Tufts electrical engineering master’s degree graduate – completers proceed to form their own startup companies, lead top PhD programs, and innovate solutions for contemporary global problems in communication, transportation, and healthcare. 

The option to earn a dual degree sets Tufts apart from other schools. In just two years, degree-seeking candidates can obtain an MS in innovation and management (MSIM) and an MS in engineering with a focus on data science, offshore wind energy, and human factors engineering – these are hardly your only concentration options!

A host of engineering-specific clubs awaits graduate students at Tufts, including a group called EWB: Engineers Without Borders. This club devotes resources to building sustainable engineering designs in developing countries, allowing you to apply your knowledge and skills in authentic study-abroad contexts.

Georgia Tech College of Engineering (Atlanta, GA)

Long operating one of the best electrical engineering graduate programs in the Southeast U.S., Georgia Tech attracts top-notch applicants for its MS in electrical and computer engineering (MSECE) degree. 

In fact, the campus produces more electrical engineers than almost any graduate school in the nation and maintains additional campuses in France and China. 

Many engineering students opt to spend at least one semester at the two satellite schools, and an online MS makes an MSECE more accessible for working professionals. 

As of 2019, the online MS offers a specialization in energy systems with an emphasis on the security of cyber-physical and embedded systems in the energy domain.

Student organizations are a big deal and a source of support for engineering degree candidates. The Hive oversees the ECE Makerspace to provide support for anyone seeking to develop an electronics-based project. 

The use of equipment and services is totally free, making it that much easier to turn your dreams into prototypes!

University of Notre Dame College of Engineering (Notre Dame, IN)

University of Notre Dame College of Engineering
Eccekevin, Stinson Remick hall, CC BY-SA 4.0

At Notre Dame, the Department of Electrical Engineering focuses primarily on research related to electrical circuits and systems (ECS) and electronics, photonics, materials and devices (EPMD). 

The ECS pathway, for example, is more math-focused and connects participants with institutions like the Eck Institute for Global Health, ND Energy, and the Pulte Institute for Global Development.

The MS in electrical engineering includes an optional thesis element, and students tend to complete all of their requirements within a year to a year and a half. 

Particular emphasis is placed on cultivating project management skills. Master’s degree candidates can utilize the university’s IDEA Center – Innovation, De-Risking, and Enterprise Acceleration – to incubate their startups in partnership with other ambitious colleagues.

Another exceptional state-of-the-art facility at Notre Dame includes the Biomedical Photonics Lab, where students can design medical devices used to examine subcutaneous skin tissue for disease identification noninvasively. How cool is that?!

Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering (Evanston, IL)

Northwestern’s MS in electrical engineering stipulates that applicants choose their specialty focus area prior to enrollment: solid-state, photonic and quantum technologies, or signals and systems. 

Bachelor’s/master’s combined degrees are offered in areas as diverse as French and economics to public health or plant biology and conservation – the McCormick SOE is an excellent place for aspiring engineers with multiple passions and interdisciplinary career plans.

There are various dual degree programs formed with a variety of partner institutions, with each one developed around specific milestone achievements. 

In addition to opportunities in China, the University of Copenhagen School of Law in Denmark, for example, encourages Northwestern’s MS graduates to apply for a dual PhD program. 

Northwestern can serve as your dynamic home base from your bachelor’s to your PhD, only a short commute from Chicago.

Cornell University College of Engineering (Ithaca, NY)

Cornell University College of Engineering
Kenneth C. Zirkel, Phillips Hall, Cornell University, CC BY-SA 4.0

The MEng degree at Cornell is designed to provide higher-level training via an intensive design project accompanied by a written report versus a formal research thesis option that defines many other competitors’ programs on this list. 

Graduate students completing electrical engineering projects at Cornell have total autonomy in building their projects from the ground up, typically with the intent to prepare them for their future job interviews.

Affectionately known as C2D2, the Cornell Center for Device Discovery is a popular on-campus hub for students eager to merge research with prototype development. The C2D2 is a place to build and test your innovations until they are ready to be launched in public!

Research is integral to a master’s candidate’s time at Cornell. In the bio-electrical engineering niche, for example, faculty and graduate students collaborate to understand how to infiltrate malignant tumors, create wearable medical devices, and improve the functionality of existing disease diagnostic instruments via artificial intelligence. 

To say your education at Cornell will be hands-on is a massive understatement!

University of Michigan College of Engineering (Ann Arbor, MI)

Home to 33 engineering startups and serving as the home of 31 U.S. patents, the powerhouse that is the University of Michigan’s engineering department specializes in niches like smart electronics, communication, and automation/robotics. 

Nearly 700 graduate students are pursuing one of two master’s degrees in engineering at UofM: the MS/MSE or the MEng. Let’s make some distinctions between the programs.

Those who apply to the MS/MSE in electrical and computer engineering seek advanced-level job opportunities and higher salaries. 

There are 12 areas of emphasis to concentrate in, such as embedded systems, applied electromagnetics, and optics. It takes 30 credits to complete the course sequence within one to two years, and the thesis is optional.

On the other hand, the MEng is designed for students who are just entering the engineering industry. There are three concentrations available to them: autonomous systems, microelectronics and integrated circuits, or data science and machine learning. 

Students in this program can expect significant hands-on learning opportunities, project-based assignments, and training focused on building entrepreneurial skills.

Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering (Pittsburgh, PA)

Carnegie Mellon University
Dllu, Carnegie Mellon Hamerschlag Hall and Scott Hall, CC BY-SA 4.0

Choose among three unique engineering master’s degrees at Carnegie Mellon: electrical and computer engineering (general), software engineering, or artificial intelligence in engineering. Your next choice – where do you want to complete your degree? You can stay at the Pittsburgh campus or travel to campuses in Silicon Valley, Africa, or Thailand.

For example, the MS in ECE in Africa transports master’s students to Rwanda for as short as a semester or as long as their entire degree program. 

Positioned within one of the world’s fastest-developing economies, students focus on emerging information and communication technology creations and applications throughout Rwanda and the  African continent.

Take your passion even further by specializing within your chosen degree program. There are eight creative industry areas – like sound design, learning media, or animation and special effects – where you can integrate your engineering degree.

 These IDeATe concentrations, as they’re named, are tailored for degree-seeking candidates with highly interdisciplinary interests and career ambitions.

University of California at Berkeley College of Engineering (Berkeley, CA)

UC Berkeley College of Engineering
Pillsmarch, UC Berkeley College of Engineering, McLaughlin Hall, CC BY-SA 4.0

You’re at UC Berkeley, and you’ve got options! Pursue an MS, MEng, or MS/PhD in electrical engineering and computer sciences

The MEng is the flagship program with an accelerated timeline of one academic year. Students immerse themselves in an area of technical focus, leadership courses, and a culminating capstone project. 

The MS program is more focused on research and preparation for a PhD.

Let’s explore some areas of technical focus. To be clear, just because you choose one area doesn’t mean you are limited from taking classes in another area. 

The visual computing and computer graphics area prepares students for careers in human-computer interaction methods in education, entertainment, and manufacturing markets. Conversely, the physical electronics and integrated circuits niche may appeal more to those passionate about developing sensor interfaces and A/D converters.

There are a wealth of topics that students can opt to focus on for their capstone projects, should they choose the MEng pathway. Students gravitating toward network design and analysis in the past have carried out exciting developments in peer-to-peer networks, cross-layer optimization, social networking, and simulation tools, for example.

Stanford University School of Engineering (Stanford, CA)

The Department of Electrical Engineering represents the largest department within the total SOE, with approximately 300 master’s candidates earning their electrical engineering degrees annually. 

The school has employed many revolutionaries in the field, including the inventors of microprocessors, public-key cryptography, and MIMO wireless technology. Stanford engineering students will learn from Nobel Prize and Turgin Award-winning faculty members on a daily basis.

The full-time MS degree takes a year and a half to complete; alternatively, you can pursue a joint degree in business or law. 

One-of-a-kind courses like Engineering for Good (Contributing to Saving the World and Having Fun Doing It) compel students to create real-world solutions focused on global health and sustainability alongside representatives from social entrepreneurial organizations and NGOs. 

There are three core areas where Stanford invests time and resources into research endeavors: hardware/software systems, physical technology and science, and information systems and science. In physical tech, students and faculty collaborate to develop neural prosthetics, wireless implants, and smart grids. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Engineering (Cambridge, MA)

You probably saw this one coming. With a global reputation for STEM innovation, the electrical engineering and computer sciences cohort represents the largest faction of MIT’s School of Engineering. Before you graduate, you’ll have played critical roles in conducting groundbreaking research and building novel prototypes with like-minded peers and the most expert faculty in your domain.

MS candidates complete a thesis and 66 units of coursework across a range of four subject areas. On the other hand, MEng students allow undergraduates to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years.

MIT’s emphasis on research has continued to keep the school at the top of electrical engineering master’s program rankings. 

One unique focus is on systems theory, control, and autonomy, where students push the boundaries of feedback systems and develop practical algorithms for making impactful decisions under uncertain circumstances. 

In energy research, master’s students will create new ways of harnessing and harvesting energy on massive scales.

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