The Best Online Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering 2021
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An online bachelor's degree in electrical engineering can lead to in-demand, lucrative careers or become a springboard to an advanced degree.
Electrical and electronics engineers have strong salaries and projected growth rates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth for electrical engineers between 2019-2029 is slightly faster than the national average, and the annual salary in 2019 more than doubled the average for all occupations.
As with many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the engineering profession: It now incorporates more remote work and safety protocols, though some engineering subfields are more impacted than others. Overall, engineering jobs are relatively pandemic-proof, as their work is essential to the operation of everyday life.
To help students choose the best online electrical engineering degree, we've broken down the available programs and career options and ranked the top programs in the country.
|#1||Clemson University Clemson, SC|
|#2||Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY|
|#3||University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND|
|#4||Arizona State University Tempe, AZ|
|#5||Thomas Edison University Trenton, NJ|
|#6||Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM|
|#7||Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, IL|
|#8||Morgan State University Baltimore, MD|
Featured Online Engineering Programs
The Best Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering
Founded as an agricultural college in 1889, Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina has research centers throughout the state. Currently, Clemson offers academic programs to more than 18,000 undergraduate and over 4,500 graduate students.
The online bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering completion program allows learners to combine coursework from outside institutions with classes offered at Clemson. The electrical engineering undergraduate degree includes 126 credit hours designed for professionals working in the engineering industry. Students must complete prerequisite coursework in chemistry, calculus, and physics prior to admission.
Learners complete 48 courses including seven laboratory classes. Students in the program can complete lab courses at a school near them or through distance learning if they purchase lab equipment. The electrical engineering degree also includes two capstone courses where learners complete team–based projects.
Now part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University was founded in 1957 as a teaching college. Based in Long Island, New York, Stony Brook University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors, including electrical engineering. Learners can complete Stony Brook University’s bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering completely online.
Ideal for working professionals and students with electrical engineering experience, Stony Brook University’s online electrical engineering degree program includes 120 credit hours. Learners complete 39 credits in prerequisite science, mathematics, and technical classes before major–specific coursework in signals and systems, electromagnetics, and engineering design. Students also complete several laboratory classes and electives in subjects including electric machinery and computer communications. Learners complete collaborative projects during laboratory and design classes as they apply curriculum content to practical experiences.
The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota traces its origins to 1883. Founded before North Dakota became a state, the institution now provides educational programs to more than 13,000 students. UND offers more than 225 academic programs, including an online electrical engineering degree.
Most learners complete UND’s online electrical engineering degree in 4–5 years. Coursework in subjects including embedded systems, circuit analysis, and computer–aided measurement and control provide students with advanced knowledge and skills in electrical engineering. The program offers specializations in computer science, aerospace engineering, or biomedical engineering as well.
The 125–credit hour curriculum prepares students to design and conduct experiments, analyze data, and apply critical thinking skills to issues in the electrical engineering industry. Students also develop electrical engineering products, processes, and competencies while exploring real–world organizational and budgetary constraints.
Founded as the Territorial Normal School in 1883, Arizona State University was the first institution of higher education in Arizona. Based in Tempe, Arizona, ASU took its current moniker in 1958. ASU’s engineering school was created three years later.
Named for the noted ASU alumnus and benefactor, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering offer a 120–credit hour undergraduate degree in electrical engineering online. Learners gain competencies applicable to careers in energy production and distribution, electronic instrumentation, and electrical engineering management. Students can transfer up to 64 community college credit hours into the program before completing 45 upper–division credit hours.
Students study physics, mathematics, and electromagnetics in preparation for area pathway and technical elective classes. Area pathways courses include analog and digital circuits and properties of electronic materials, while electives include courses in fiber optics, digital systems, and electrical machinery. Students also complete two senior design classes during which they apply knowledge and skills to project design, creation, and implementation.
Thomas Edison University, chartered in 1972, is one of the oldest schools in the United States designed specifically for adult learners. From its main campus in Trenton, New Jersey, TESU offers academic programs to more than 17,000 students worldwide.
Online undergraduate and graduate programs at TESU include a 124–credit hour bachelor’s degree in electrical systems engineering technology. Learners can transfer up to 80 credit hours from a two–year institution and apply up to 117 credit hours from a four–year programs. Transfer options give students flexibility when completing laboratory coursework for the program.
TESU’s online electrical systems engineering technology degree requires learners to complete 18 credit hours in upper–division coursework. Students complete classes in electrical circuits, electrical devices, and communication electronics in addition to electives in areas including industrial electronics and network technology. Learners also complete a Capstone course at the end of the program.
Eastern New Mexico University, founded as the University of Portales in 1927, transitioned from a two–year to a four–year degree–granting institution in 1940. With campuses in Portales, Roswell, Ruidoso; extensions in Hobbs and at Cannon Air Force Base; and online offerings, ENMU offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs to learners around the world.
The online bachelor of science in electronics engineering technology at ENMU includes 120 credit hours of coursework. Students can apply transfer credits to lower–division requirements, including general education classes. Learners complete 40 credit hours of upper–division classes in subjects such as renewable energy technology, control systems, and microcontroller programming before a final capstone course.
ENMU’s online electronics engineering technology program helps students prepare for careers in electronics and computer technology design, research, management, and testing. Designed for working professionals, the program offers students with strong mathematical foundations and problem–solving skills opportunities to advance their competencies in the implementation of electrical and electronic applications.
Founded to provide academic programs to students in the proximity of St. Louis, Missouri, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville opened its first residence centers in Alton and East St. Louis, Illinois in 1957. SIUE currently offers undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 13,000 learners throughout the greater St. Louis metropolitan area.
The online bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology at SIUE provides working adults and students with associate of applied science degrees flexibile, convenient coursework to build knowledge and experience in the field. Designed for learners with previous coursework in digital electronics and circuit theory, SIUE curriculum incorporates advanced classes in controls, electronics, machinery, and circuits. The online program incorporates portable test instruments and design and software simulations into the 120–credit hour degree. Students complete additional physics and mathematics classes alongside laboratory courses and a Capstone sequence prior to degree completion as well.
Established as the Centenary Biblical Institute by the Methodist Church in 1867, Morgan State University became a public institution in 1939. MSU promotes excellence, diversity, integrity, innovation, and leadership to its urban community from its main campus in Baltimore, Maryland. Online degrees and classes, including MSU’s bachelor of science in electrical and computer engineering offers flexible educational options to working professionals and students with associate degrees in the field.
As a 2+2 program, MSU’s online electrical and computer engineering degree gives learners an associate degree ease of transfer to a bachelor’s program. The 2+2 in electrical and computer engineering allows students to complete the final two years of a bachelor’s program online, either through MSU’s course offerings or through Maryland Online, a consortium of Maryland institutions of higher education.
Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
What Is an Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Degree?
At the bachelor's level, electrical engineering programs teach students about electronics and electrical systems. Enrollees learn to design, fix, and improve devices and systems that use electricity while following industry standards and protocols.
The best online electrical engineering degrees prepare graduates for professional engineering licensure (PE). While not required, a PE credential demonstrates that the holder can work to industry standards. Recipients must renew their credentials through continuing education.
Aspiring electrical engineers are usually interested in mathematics, the sciences, and electronics. They build practical skills through both classroom training and internship experience, building a thorough understanding of how electrical components work together in a system. They also need strong communication skills.
What's the Difference Between a BA, a BS, and a BSE in Electrical Engineering?
When researching the best online electrical engineering degrees, students will find a few degree types. Most of these types provide similar training in major-relevant skills, but they vary in complementary courses and electives.
A BA in electrical engineering offers an electrical engineering concentration, but also includes humanities courses, resulting in a broader base of education. Conversely, a bachelor of science in engineering (BSE) and a bachelor of engineering (B.Eng.) both focus on engineering and science topics. These degrees usually offer more practical training and more diverse engineering specialization options than BA degrees.
These different electrical engineering degrees often lead to similar careers, but they can also prepare students for specialty pathways. The focused training of a BSE or B.Eng. equips learners for more technical roles, while those who earn more general BAs in engineering may be better suited to management or engineering-related communication roles.
Choosing the Best Online Electrical Engineering Degree for You
To choose the best online electrical engineering degree for your unique circumstances, there are several factors to consider. Depending on your skills and career goals, you may want to look for specific courses, specializations, or program formats. Cost, accreditation status, and location are also key details to research. The following links can help guide you through the decision process.
What to Expect From an Electrical Engineering Major
Courses and concentrations can vary considerably between electrical engineering majors. Schools have their own unique curriculums, and the different degree types offer different course options. Below, you'll find some of the more common courses and concentrations that electrical engineering programs offer.
Electrical Engineering Curriculum
- Circuit Theory: This foundational course for electrical engineering programs explores the laws of electrical circuits and their parameters. Students learn to analyze, identify, and safely manipulate various electrical networks.
- Control Systems: This course considers automatic, open and closed loops, and digital and analog systems. Students compare and contrast these systems, learning how to build and simplify them and work with different control sensors.
- Digital Signal Processing: In this course, students explore concepts related to discrete-time signal systems, including difference equations, the z-transform, and the Fourier transform. Coursework also covers the design and analysis of digital filters.
- Electromagnetic Compatibility: Electromagnetic compatibility courses examine the mechanisms behind electromagnetic energy coupling. Students learn to measure signals using various industry-standard tools and analyzers.
- Signals and Systems: This course teaches students about discrete- and continuous-time systems. Learners work with various representations, transforms, and system components, analyzing and interpreting them along the way.
- Solid-State Engineering: Coursework examines semiconductor materials and the technologies that use them. Students analyze and experiment with different materials, including metals, semiconductors, and vehicles for electricity.
Electrical Engineering Concentrations
Common courses include microprocessors and advanced processors, digital circuit design, and digital communications. This training may lead to biomedical, information technology, and energy careers.
Ideal for aspiring life sciences professionals, this concentration focuses on the intersection of medicine and technology. Students learn how electronics can be used to improve healthcare, medical treatment, and medical devices. Biomedical engineers primarily work in medical equipment manufacturing or research and development.
Learners in this concentration examine different types of networks and security technology and protocols. Graduates can pursue computer engineering and electrical engineering careers, especially in the telecommunications industry.
This concentration focuses on circuits, signal processing, and control systems, along with power generation and electric power. Graduates pursue careers in energy-related fields, including alternative energy industries like solar, wind, and fuel cells.
Accelerated and Dual Electrical Engineering Degrees
In addition to the traditional electrical engineering degree structure, some schools offer alternate pathways. These programs allow students to combine degrees or complete their training more quickly through dual or accelerated programs.
For example, a school might offer an accelerated BS/MS in electrical engineering, which allows students to earn a bachelor's and master's simultaneously while reducing required credits, time, and costs. Similarly, a computer science and electrical engineering dual degree combines the two disciplines and can help graduates pursue electrical engineering careers in emerging information technology, telecommunications, and energy industries.
Electrical Engineering Organizations
Professional organizations provide support for both new and experienced engineers. These associations offer professional development courses, continuing education opportunities, and industry resources.
Some electrical engineering organizations focus on a specialized industry or subdiscipline within the profession, while others offer services within a geographical region or for a specific demographic. Some of the biggest organizations are listed below.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- Electric Power Research Institute
- International Electrotechnical Commission
- Society of Women Engineers
Electrical Engineering Careers
With a degree in electrical engineering, graduates can pursue employment in many industries and professions. Students can pursue traditional career pathways or expand their postgraduate options by exploring concentrations, interdisciplinary studies, or more advanced training.
The information below explores some of the more popular careers available to graduates, along with their median annual salaries. Readers should note that this list is not exhaustive.
|Career||Median Annual Salary (2019)|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||$117,220|
|Electrical and Electronics Engineers||$101,250|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$83,510|
Frequently Asked Questions
Students can complete electrical engineering degrees entirely online. Many programs also offer online study options with local internship requirements.
Deciding which is the best online electrical engineering course depends entirely on the needs of individual students. Learners should examine course descriptions and delivery formats, choosing one that suits their personal career goals and scheduling needs.
To find the best online electrical engineering degree, learners should first consider what they need most from a program. Some students focus on delivery method or completion timelines, while others need specialty curricula and support services.
Most online electrical engineering bachelor's degrees follow the same structure as on-campus programs, with full-time students typically graduating in four years.
Electrical engineers need a solid understanding of mathematics disciplines, including calculus, linear algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.
Electrical engineers do not need certifications to enter the field. However, some employers prefer applicants who hold industry certifications. Engineers can also pursue professional engineering licenses, which demonstrate a thorough understanding of the field.
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