Universities with a PhD in Electrical Engineering (EE): How to Choose

Electrical engineering (EE) encompasses a wide range of topics and fields from computer engineering to electrical architecture. Doctoral programs in electrical engineering entail extensive research, hands-on technological work and dissertation projects or final exams. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in EE commonly offer several concentration and minor options.

How to Select an Electrical Engineering School

Electrical engineering doctoral degree programs may be taken through the engineering departments at many 4-year universities. These programs cover several topics integrating computer science with electrical systems.

  • Many advanced students pursue programs that offer a variety of EE research subjects or concentrations, such as computer engineering, control engineering, microelectronics, electromagnetics and electrophysics.
  • Students might want to investigate schools' levels of research funding, as well as visiting the schools to explore their facilities.
  • Successful doctoral programs in engineering offer graduate seminars and classes that give students hands-on experience working in their areas of specialty in electrical engineering.
  • Because most doctoral students work with faculty committees, students are encouraged to survey the departments' faculty accomplishments and research interests before applying to see if they might help them gain practical opportunities.
  • Some doctoral candidates look for programs that offer financial support through teaching assistantships, research assistantships or fellowships.
  • Those interested in completing the degree quickly should search for schools that also provide financial assistance for the summer term.

Electrical Engineering Program Overview

Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering

The doctoral program requires around 40-70 hours of coursework beyond a bachelor's degree. Because the curriculum covers a wide variety of topics within electrical engineering, some programs offer the option to choose a minor. Most programs require a dissertation or thesis project in addition to the required coursework, though some programs offer non-thesis options that instead require final exams. Many programs have residency or full-time requirements.

Program admission requirements often include a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. While many students enter doctoral-level EE programs with master's degrees, several programs allow students to begin the Ph.D. track directly after completing a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Electrical engineers work in a range of fields, including imaging, system architecture, computer electronics, control systems and plasma science. Students in these graduate programs can take courses in:

  • Electronic design
  • Digital circuits
  • Antenna engineering
  • Satellite communications

Top 10 Electrical Engineering Schools

College/University Institution Type
Massachusetts Institute of Technology4-year, private not-for-profit
Stanford University4-year, private not-for-profit
University of California - Berkeley4-year, public
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign4-year, public
California Institute of Technology4-year, private not-for-profit
Georgia Institute of Technology4-year, public
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor4-year, public
Carnegie Mellon University4-year, private not-for-profit
Princeton University4-year, private not-for-profit
Cornell University4-year, private not-for-profit

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