In the field of electrical engineering, fully online bachelor's and master's degree programs are available. Hybrid programs are also available; these programs require students to use the college's on-campus lab facilities for hands-on learning or lab work. Master's degree programs culminating in a thesis may require students to present and defend the thesis in person.
Online bachelor's degree programs in electrical engineering may be degree-completion programs, in which students combine existing college credits with about two years of additional online coursework to earn an undergraduate degree. Online master's degree programs enable working professionals to specialize in a subfield of electrical engineering.
Electrical Engineering Bachelor's Degree
An online bachelor's degree program in electrical engineering prepares students to solve complex problems involving automotive systems, communications devices, power generators and other advanced forms of machinery. Prerequisites for many online bachelor's degree programs include general education, advanced mathematics and computer programming coursework. Related programs include mechanical, electronics and computer engineering.
Program Information and Requirements
Some online programs are offered in a hybrid format, with students completing the majority of their coursework online and the remaining lab requirements on campus. Other programs allow students to complete all degree requirements from home. Some courses may be waived for students with prior engineering-based work experience. Depending on a student's educational background, some online programs can be completed in two years while others may take as long as six years.
A computer with a high-speed Internet connection is required to access program coursework. Lectures are delivered through audio and video plug-ins, such as RealPlayer. This software can be downloaded for free.
General education courses are either required for program admission or may be completed as part of a student's curriculum. About 60 credit hours of core electrical engineering coursework round out degree requirements.
Electronics in Engineering
Students examine the basic principles behind amplifiers, circuits and semiconductors. An on-campus lab session often accompanies this course.
On-site data analysis is a skill set often required of electrical engineers. In this course, students learn how to apply statistical theories to real-world engineering problems.
Electrical Control Systems
Students learn how to use basic electrical control systems. Topics of discussion include motors, signal processing units and programmable logic controllers.
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Electrical Engineering Master's Degree
Online electrical engineering master's degree programs are designed for individuals who possess a bachelor's degree in the field. Students learn how to analyze, design and implement highly advanced technology in a variety of industries, including manufacturing and telecommunications. Most programs encourage students to specialize in sub-fields like signal processing or control devices. Some programs also include related coursework in computer engineering. Industrial engineering is another similar subfield.
Program Information and Requirements
Most programs are offered entirely online. However, students who choose a thesis option may have to appear on campus to present research or complete an oral exam. Students must have a computer with Internet access to view course notes and lectures. Because many online students have full-time obligations, course scheduling is flexible. An online electrical engineering master's degree program may take 4-7 years to complete.
There are no general education requirements for the online master's degree program. Students take core and elective courses in electrical engineering and a specialization sub-field.
Students examine the technical aspects of computer-based communications networks. Topics include local area networks, encryption, web traffic control mechanisms and data security.
Advanced Control Systems Design
Electrical engineers regularly use advanced control systems to monitor and record data or to activate a set of technical processes. System timing, circuit performance and data sampling are discussed.
Students are introduced to the properties and functions of different wireless networks. Topics like antenna placement, cellular technology and signal spread are explored.
Graduates with a bachelor's degree are qualified for entry-level positions in this field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electrical engineers made a median annual salary of $93,010 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). This field was expected to grow 1% from 2014-2024, though engineers who provide design and analysis services for manufacturing firms may find more job opportunities.
Graduates of a master's program can become technical specialists in the sub-field of their choice. They may also take on supervisory roles or focus on product research and development. The highest-earning ten percent of electrical engineers had a salary of $146,820 or higher as of May 2015, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Many schools also offer master's degree programs in electrical engineering. These programs allow students to focus on the specialty area of their choice.
Master's degree program graduates who are interested in administrative or teaching careers may pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Electrical Engineering. Most doctoral programs are campus-based, though some schools offer select courses online.
Both fully online and hybrid bachelor's and master's degree programs are available for electrical engineering. Common courses include topics related to design, systems, and communication.