What you can learn within the Master’s in Engineering – Electrical Engineering

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Electrical engineering is an integral field within the modern economy. Engineers within this domain perform the essential tasks of designing, developing and testing a wide range of systems, from smartphones and portable gaming consoles to smart power grids and lighting infrastructure. As such, they are pivotal to many of the most prominent trends in consumer and enterprise technology, including the creation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the spread of renewable energy installations.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups electrical engineers alongside electronics engineers, who conduct similar work, albeit more narrowly focused on the circuitry underpinning electronic devices. For example, they may oversee development of passive components placed on printable circuit boards. Together, electrical and electronics engineers have a strong employment outlook: The BLS estimates more than 21,000 positions will be added between 2016 and 2026, for a 7 percent growth rate. Median salary is well above the national level, at over $96,000.

Earning a master’s is a practical way to boost your career prospects in this in-demand field. At the University of California, Riverside (UCR), you can earn an online Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) with a specialization in electrical engineering that is primarily focused on power systems. Let’s look at the electrical engineering program’s curriculum and outcomes, so you can see if it’s the right next step in your professional development journey.

MSE in electrical engineering at UCR: Overview of curriculum and popular classes

The electrical engineering specialization is one of multiple tracks available at UCR and can be entered by any admitted student with an undergraduate degree or background in engineering, regardless of the specialty. Like the other specializations, it features 16 credit-hours of core requirements, which are intended to build proficiency in technical skills, as well as, develop leadership and management capabilities. Spread across four, four-credit courses, track requirements currently include:

  • Engineering in the Global Environment: Covers topics beyond technical engineering competence, including how outsourcing decisions are made and the ways in which engineers can utilize modern collaboration tools such as video conferencing.
  • Technology Innovation and Strategy for Engineers: Delves into the relationship between new technologies and the engineering profession, with a focus on project management and organizational structures.
  • Introduction to Systems Engineering: A more technical course than the two above, this one examines the system design process, along with systems evaluation, synthesis and analysis.
  • Principles of Engineering Management: Another crucial “soft skills” course, the principles of engineering management class helps engineers understand key management functions and learn how to make ethical decisions within their organizations.

A smiling Master's in Electrical Engineering student on graduation day.

In addition to these four fundamental requirements, the electrical engineering MSE requires an equal number of credit-hours within the concentration itself. Students can earn these credits from a combination of the following six online electrical engineering courses:

  • Introduction to Engineering Optimization Techniques: A technical course, examining multiple approaches to solving optimization problems, including the use of MATLAB to work through examples.
  • Power Systems Analysis: This class covers multiples topics pertaining to the long-distance transmission of power, such as asymmetrical and symmetrical fault calculations.
  • Power Electronics: In this course, students learn about the inner workings of semiconductor devices, with a close look at voltage controllers, magnetic circuits and induction motor drives.
  • Electric Drives: Similar to the above course, this one covers different drive types, electromechanical energy conversion and specific applications within both robotics and industrial automation systems.
  • Introduction to Smart Grid: Dives into the design and operation of innovative electrical grids that make use of networked communications and powerful CPUs to deliver greater efficiency than legacy infrastructures.
  • Power System Steady State and Market Analysis: Note – this course requires completion of several prerequisites, including power systems analysis. It goes into advanced study of power system security, state estimation and contingency screening.

On top of the 32 credit-hours spread between the core and electrical engineering-specific classes, MSE students in this specialty must also finish four, one-credit project design courses over the course of their master’s, which helps them acquire the practical experience that often makes a difference to engineering employers during job candidate evaluations. The project design course serves as a capstone project and an alternative to an on-campus residency.

Why an online MS in Electrical Engineering is ideal for today’s professionals

At UCR, you can earn your electrical engineering master’s without having to ever set foot in a traditional classroom. The program is offered 100 percent online, with no residency required. Plus, you can select from multiple start dates each academic year during spring, summer and fall, depending on what works best for your schedule.

Attaining an electrical engineering degree from UCR is the perfect way to expand your skill set, keep up with current industry developments and acquire a useful credential for furthering your career. Program completion is possible in only 13 months, a shorter and more expedited time frame than the many multi-year engineering master’s programs out there. The fully online format ensures maximum flexibility for your other personal and professional obligations, while sacrificing nothing in terms of quality.

In other words, you will gain up-to-date insights, sharpen key skills and have the chance to network and collaborate with other students and engineers around the country. An online electrical engineering master’s accordingly provides a major boost in your search for new opportunities.

Electrical engineering as a field will only grow in importance in the coming years as electronics are optimized for the IoT, the smart grid, the public cloud and many other rapidly evolving technical domains. If you are interested in taking convenient online electrical engineering courses en route to a master’s degree from an accredited and highly recognized institution, be sure to visit both our main online engineering page and the one specifically for electrical engineering. You can request a free brochure from either location to learn more about program structure and admissions criteria.

Recommended Readings:

Industry spotlight: How electrical engineers shape today’s hottest gadgets
Career spotlight: Power and smart grid engineer