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.