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Grad Program: Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering

Basic Information

As workers in the largest division of engineering, computer and electrical engineers deal with electronics, digital systems, communications, controls, and the basics for system design. Computer and electrical engineering are so closely related that most schools often place them in the same program.

What separates computer engineers from electrical engineers is their area of concentration. While the basic training is similar across the board, schools offer a variety of concentrations including Integrated Circuits, Design and Fabrication, Semiconductor Materials and Processing, Semiconductor Devices, Wireless Communication, Digital Image Processing, Power Systems/Electronics, Digital & Analog Conversion and High-speed I/O Interfaces, to name just a few.

Students learn the fundamentals of electrical and computer engineering and prepare to deal with all aspects of computer and electrical engineering through laboratory and design experience. Grad students also learn to solve various problems using instrumentation and software tools. In some programs, you will be able to design most of your own curriculum, working closely with faculty to choose which courses will best suit your interests.

The world is changing rapidly; therefore, electrical and computer engineers must learn to adapt to new technologies. Since technology is constantly growing and changing, a broad-based understanding of engineering is vital for success in the field.

Qualified female applicants take note: women are particularly needed in engineering in general, and electrical engineering is no exception.

Degree Information

Students in engineering graduate programs work toward a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in an area of their choosing. A sampling of M.S. programs includes: Telecommunications Engineering; New Media Engineering; Lightwave (Photonics) Engineering; Wireless and Mobile Communications; and Electromagnetics and Optics. It usually takes students with an undergraduate engineering degree one year to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering, and several more years for a doctorate, depending on your field of research.

Students wishing to pursue a higher degree can enter a doctorate program. Doctoral students work toward either a Ph.D. or a Doctor of Engineering Science (Eng.Sc.D.). A degree at this level is typically meant for individuals interested in pursuing a career in research or academics.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Do I want a more structured program, or one that allows me to choose my own research focus from the start?
  • What innovations/inventions/discoveries have been made at each potential school?
  • How much funding does each program get?
  • Am I willing to work in an academic environment where much of the funding is from corporate sources?
  • How will this affect the work I want to do?
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