Electrical Engineering Education Requirements For Bachelors, Masters & PhD

Are you ready to start a journey into electrical engineering? Understanding the electrical engineering education requirements is vital for anyone aspiring to enter this field of study. Whether you’re a high school student considering your future, an engineering enthusiast looking to make a career change, or someone who simply wants to know more about what it takes to become an electrical engineer, this article is for you.

Suppose you’re getting ready to explore the requirements for an electrical engineering degree. In that case, StudyForFE’s FE electrical exam prep review course guides you through this exciting process, helping you easily achieve your goals.

What Is Electrical Engineering?

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Electrical engineering is a diverse field crucial in shaping modern society. Electrical engineers are responsible for: 

  • Designing
  • Developing
  • Maintaining electronic systems and devices

Electrical engineering encompasses various applications, from smartphones to power plants. 

The Core of Electrical Engineering

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Circuit Design and Power Systems

Circuit design is a fundamental aspect of electrical engineering. Circuits serve as the highways through which electricity flows, enabling the operation of electronic devices. Key responsibilities of electrical engineers include:

  • Design circuits to control the operation of devices
  • Convert power from one form to another
  • Amplify signals 

This essential skill allows engineers to create innovative solutions across various industries.

The Challenge of Power System Design

Power systems are another critical element of electrical engineering. The scope of electrical engineering includes: 

  • Generation
  • Transmission
  • Distribution of electricity 

Electrical engineers develop power systems for buildings, cities, and infrastructure, ensuring efficient energy delivery to meet society’s demands. 

Cutting-Edge Technologies and Future Growth in Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering underpins numerous technological advancements that have transformed our daily lives. From aerospace to healthcare, the impact of electrical engineering is pervasive. The field drives advancements in: 

  • Aircraft electronics
  • Electric vehicle technology
  • Medical diagnostic systems
  • Wireless communication networks
  • Semiconductor chips for computing and artificial intelligence

Electrical Engineering Job Growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5% growth in electrical engineering from 2022 to 2032, exceeding the average for all occupations. This growth reflects the vital role that electrical engineers play in driving innovation and progress in our interconnected world. As society embraces new technologies, the demand for skilled electrical engineers will only increase.

The Impact of Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering drives innovation and growth, shaping the technological landscape of the future through: 

  • Circuit design
  • Power Systems
  • Cutting-edge solutions

Types Of Electrical Engineering

a circuit board - Electrical Engineering Education Requirements

Power System Engineering

Power system engineering is the heart of electrical engineering. Focuses include: 

  • Planning
  • Operation
  • Rehabilitation of power systems for electrical supply 

It encompasses electricity generation, transmission, and distribution and the devices connected to these systems, such as: 

  • Transformers
  • Motors
  • Generators

Control Systems Engineering

Control systems engineering, also known as control engineering, involves applying control theory to design, develop, and implement dynamic systems with predetermined behaviors in control. Control systems are crucial in various applications, including space flight.

Instrumentation Engineering

Instrumentation engineering concentrates on the principles and operation of measuring instruments to design and configure automated electrical systems. It utilizes devices like microcontrollers, microprocessors, and Programmable Logic Controllers to regulate parameters in automated processes.

Telecommunication Engineering

Telecommunication engineering involves designing, developing, implementing, and maintaining telecommunication equipment and facilities. From installing copper telephone facilities to fiber optics, this specialization ensures effective communication systems.

Signal Processing

Signal processing focuses on analyzing, synthesizing, and modifying information embedded in various signals, such as: 

  • Images
  • Sounds
  • Scientific measurements 

It plays a crucial role in enhancing data from these signals for various applications.

Microelectronics Engineering

Microelectronics engineering centers on constructing the following: 

  • Prototypes of electronic chips
  • Semiconductors
  • Circuit boards used in aerospace
  • Electronics
  • Biomedical
  • IT devices and systems 

This specialization is essential for developing cutting-edge technologies.

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Do You Need A Degree To Become A Electrical Engineer?

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A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a closely related discipline has been the standard educational requirement for becoming an electrical engineer. This is largely because the profession demands a deep understanding of complex principles in: 

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Electrical systems

Formal education is designed to provide all of these. The path to becoming an electrical engineer isn’t solely confined to the walls of academia. 

Pathways to Electrical Engineering

While it’s true that a degree can lay the groundwork for technical expertise and is often a prerequisite for licensure and certain positions, the field also values hands-on experience and practical skills. 

Some individuals may find their way into electrical engineering through: 

  • Rigorous self-study
  • Apprenticeships
  • As technicians 

Degrees vs. Alternative Credentials In Engineering

In today’s dynamic job market, specialized certifications and diploma programs are gaining recognition and can substitute traditional degrees with demonstrable experience. Nonetheless, for those aspiring to roles that involve complex engineering responsibilities, a degree remains a significant advantage and is frequently considered essential by employers.

Electrical Engineering Education Requirements For Studying And Becoming An Engineer

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Bachelor’s Electrical Engineering Program Requirements

Students interested in studying for a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at a top-tier university must meet several requirements. These include having a high school GPA of at least 3.0 and a strong background in science and mathematics. 

Physics & Math for a Strong Engineering

Prospective students should excel in physics and mathematics to distinguish themselves in the application process. These students are often required to complete foundational physics, computer science, mathematics, and engineering courses. Once they successfully pass these courses, they are fully integrated into the bachelor’s degree program.

Master’s Electrical Engineering Program Requirements

For those interested in pursuing a Master’s degree in electrical engineering, the requirements can vary across universities. Aspiring master’s students must display exceptional performance in their undergraduate studies in a related field, such as: 

  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Science

Language Requirements & Beyond

A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is not always a mandatory prerequisite. Nevertheless, proficiency in English is crucial for international students, as they must meet the minimum scores required for standardized tests like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). 

Doctoral Electrical Engineering Program Requirements

GPA Requirements for Doctoral Electrical Engineering

The requirements for gaining admission to a doctoral degree program in electrical engineering differ from those of undergraduate and master’s programs. In the U.S., prospective doctoral students must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 in undergraduate coursework and 3.50 in master’s coursework from an ABET-accredited institution.

Doctoral Program Hurdles

Doctoral candidates must earn graduate credits beyond a bachelor’s degree, fulfill residency requirements, and pass a comprehensive Doctoral Qualifying Exam comprising both oral and written components. They must declare a research adviser and pass a thesis proposal examination.

Language Exams & More

International students seeking admission to a doctoral program may need to submit satisfactory scores on the TOEFL and the quantitative section of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

Becoming an electrical engineer demands a solid academic foundation and commitment. Whether starting undergraduate studies or pursuing advanced degrees, meeting requirements ensures a path to success in electrical engineering.

5 Most Common Degrees For Electrical Engineers

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1. Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE)

A Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) is typically the foundational degree for electrical engineers. This degree equips graduates with a comprehensive understanding of:

  • Electricity
  • Electronics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Application of these principles in designing and analyzing electrical systems

Graduates with a BSEE are well-prepared to handle challenges in: 

  • Circuit design
  • Control systems
  • Signal processing
  • Telecommunications

2. Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)

Many electrical engineers pursue a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) to further specialize in: 

  • Power Systems
  • Digital systems design
  • Microelectronics
  • Wireless communications

An MSEE degree provides opportunities for research and in-depth study, preparing graduates for: 

  • Leadership roles
  • Innovative problem-solving
  • Development of cutting-edge technologies

3. Computer Engineering

Since modern electrical engineering is interdisciplinary, degrees in Computer Engineering are common among professionals in the field. This degree focuses on electrical engineering and computer science, offering a solid background in hardware-software integration, computer architecture, and embedded systems. Electrical engineers with this background excel in projects involving complex computing systems and smart devices.

4. Physics or Applied Physics

Physics or Applied Physics degrees are common paths for electrical engineers involved in research and development. This educational background emphasizes a strong understanding of the fundamental physical laws governing: 

  • Electrical phenomena
  • Semiconductor technology
  • Photonics
  • Nanotechnology

5. Systems Engineering

Electrical engineers with degrees in Systems Engineering have a holistic understanding of complex systems integration, ensuring effective electrical systems functioning within broader technological frameworks. This degree emphasizes the design and management of large-scale engineering projects, making it valuable for: 

  • Aerospace
  • Defense
  • Energy professionals

Job seekers exploring these common educational paths can gain insights into the knowledge and skills essential for a successful electrical engineering career, reflecting the field’s diverse and dynamic nature.

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How Long Does It Take To Become An Accredited Electrical Engineer?

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Earning A Bachelor’s Degree In Electrical Engineering

Becoming an electrical engineer starts with pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the field. This stage can take about four years to finish, and the curriculum is rich and prepares students for the technical challenges ahead. 

Coursework typically includes: 

  • Electrical circuit theory
  • Digital systems design
  • Differential equations

This is to ensure that students are well-equipped for the profession’s demands.

Passing The Fundamentals Of Engineering Examination

Upon completing their undergraduate degree, aspiring electrical engineers must sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exams. This six-hour exam is a crucial step in becoming a licensed engineer. Passing this exam qualifies individuals as engineers-in-training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs), enabling them to secure entry-level job positions and gain valuable work experience.

Landing An Entry-Level Job

The next milestone in becoming an accredited electrical engineer is securing an entry-level job. This stage involves gaining practical experience in the field, which is essential for professional advancement. EITs are required to accumulate four years of post-college work experience to successfully proceed to the next phase of the career ladder.

Taking The Professional Engineering Examination

After amassing the requisite work experience, engineers-in-training become eligible to take the Professional Engineer (PE) exam. This examination assesses the minimum competency level in the chosen engineering discipline and is a gateway to becoming a professional, accredited electrical engineer.

Maintaining Your PE License And Staying Ahead Of The Curve

Continuing education and staying abreast of emerging technologies in the field are crucial aspects of maintaining the validity of the PE license. Engaging in further studies, such as pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree, is a viable option for electrical engineers seeking to enhance their expertise and remain competitive in the industry.

Degree Alternatives For An Electrical Engineer

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Professional Certifications

Professional certifications, such as those offered by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), provide focused training and validation of expertise in specific areas of electrical engineering. These certifications can be especially advantageous for individuals with a background in related fields who want to specialize or for those who want to enhance their credentials and marketability.

Technical Training Programs

Technical training programs or vocational schools offer hands-on learning experiences directly applicable to electrical engineering roles. These programs often include: 

  • Circuitry
  • Digital systems
  • Control systems courses

Online Electrical Engineering Courses

Online platforms that offer courses in electrical engineering topics ranging from basic electronics to advanced signal processing: 

  • Coursera
  • edX
  • Udacity

These courses are often created by leading universities or industry experts, and they allow for self-paced learning, which can be ideal for those balancing other commitments.

Apprenticeships and On-the-Job Training

Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction, allowing individuals to earn while they learn. This path is particularly relevant for those who thrive in hands-on environments and wish to gain practical experience under the mentorship of seasoned professionals in the electrical engineering industry.

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Wasim Asghar: Your Mentor In Electrical Engineering Exams

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Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.