Telecommunications Engineering Colleges, Schools and Universities

Telecommunications engineering programs offer education in the design of communications systems. Read on to learn more about educational opportunities in this field.

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Telecommunications engineering programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Public and private institutions around the country offer education in this field.

Top 10 Telecommunications Engineering Schools

According to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report ranking, the below schools offer the best programs in electrical/electronic/communications engineering:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees, Undergraduate (2015-2016)*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $46,704
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $46,320
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate In-state: $13,431 Out-of-state: $38,139
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate In-state: $15,054 Out-of-state: $30,214
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $45,390
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate In-state: $12,204 Out-of-state: $32,396
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate In-state: $13,856 Out-of-state: $43,476
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $50,665
Purdue University - West Lafayette West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate In-state: $10,002 Out-of-state: $28,804
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $49,116

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in telecommunications engineering programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:

  • Prospective student may want to look into the lab facilities at the school in order to ensure that they will gain experience with the latest telecommunications technologies and software programs.
  • Students who hope to pursue careers in industry may want to look for programs that include business and project management coursework.
  • Prospective graduate students who are considering research-focused programs may want to make sure that there are faculty members at the school with whom they share research interests who may act as thesis or dissertation advisors.
  • Experienced engineers who want to advance their careers through master's-level studies may want to look for non-thesis programs that are offered in part-time or online formats in order to accommodate the needs of working professionals.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in telecommunications engineering are highly interdisciplinary, combining studies in electrical engineering, computer science and systems analysis. Students begin by taking foundational coursework in math, chemistry, physics and computer programming. From there, they can explore more advanced concepts related to communications systems and apply their knowledge to telecommunications engineering problems. Prior to graduation, students are usually required to complete a senior design project. It is important to note that while some schools allow students to earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Telecommunications Engineering, others offer the subject as a concentration within a broader electrical engineering program.

Master's Degree Programs

Master of Science (MS) in Telecommunications Engineering programs are available in both thesis and non-thesis formats. In both types of programs, students take advanced courses in topics such as parallel processing, wireless communications, network optimization and quality control processes. However, in two-year thesis programs, students also conduct publishable research in a particular topic of interest within the field. Non-thesis programs may be completed in as few as three semesters, but they may also be available in part-time formats in order to meet the needs of working professionals.

Doctoral Degree Programs

PhD in programs in telecommunications engineering emphasize high-level research in the field. In addition to taking a core set of advanced engineering courses, students design a curriculum tailored to their particular area of interest within the field and ultimately submit and defend a publishable dissertation. PhD candidates also gain teaching experience and are prepared for careers as university professor or leaders in the engineering industry. In total, PhD programs usually take six years or less to complete.

Aspiring telecommunications engineers typically can earn a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in the field. It is important to consider research opportunities and school facilities when choosing between programs.

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