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Electrical Engineering Degree

Electrical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the design, development and maintenance of electrical systems and their components, ensuring their quality, safety, reliability and sustainability. It can involve the design manufacturing of electrical equipment used in different sectors such as construction and building maintenance, transportation, and the production and distribution of power throughout an area.

Getting an Electrical Engineering Degree

Requirements

Entrance into Electrical Engineering Courses varies from institution to institution. Some universities require you to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams. A number of universities also take into consideration advanced placement exams, while some consider transfer credits for post-secondary students or applicants. Since the degree program involves sciences (such as physics) and mathematics, a good background in these subjects may be required.

An applicant’s intent may also be taken into consideration, as some schools require a letter of intent or motivation letter. For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.

Coursework

Most Electrical Engineering Courses will require its students to take courses in computing, calculus, circuits, electronics and design. This degree usually has course or unit loads in both lectures and laboratory classes, making sure that students are knowledgeable on both theory and technical skills and processes. Because of this, assessment and evaluation can be done through laboratory and practical exercises in addition to written exams and coursework. Students are also normally expected to undertake a major design project, research or theses in their final years of taking the degree wherein they would apply the technical knowledge they have obtained throughout the whole program.

Specialisations

Electrical engineering degrees cover a wide variety of topics, and some students may want to take into consideration the specialisations available during the course of study. Most universities provide specialisation options for their students, either through optional electives or as a mandatory part of the degree program. There are many specialisation options presented by institutions, though the availability would also depend on the offerings of each university. Below is a short list of some common offerings of specialisation as part of a electrical engineering undergraduate degree:

  • Communications engineering
  • Computer hardware engineering
  • Control systems
  • Optics
  • Power systems
  • Semiconductors and electronics

Accreditation and certification

The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates.

Some countries or states may seek a license or certification from engineering graduates who want to work professionally as engineers. A part of the licensing process may be passing a comprehensive exam or board exam and gaining experience in the field. Professional titles include Professional Engineer, Chartered Engineer and Incorporated Engineer.

Timeframe and Further Studies

A degree in electrical engineering can take anywhere from three to five years. In some cases, it could take longer. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located. The timeframe of study can also depend on whether or not the program is an integrated program that takes longer than a regular bachelor’s but results in a master’s degree.

There are also various degrees available for electrical engineering graduates at the master’s and doctorate level, involving intensive research, coursework and experience for candidates.

Skills and Career Prospects

Graduates of electrical engineering degree programs can work in multidisciplinary fields and industries. Involvement in design, development, testing and handover can be expected, although the nature of different roles available is dependent on the industry or sector that the individual works in. The most common sectors that electrical engineering graduates are involved in are power generation and supply, construction, infrastructure development and maintenance, communications, information technology and manufacturing, all of which require the knowledge and skills of electrical engineering graduates. For more information read our article on the 5 top jobs for engineering graduates.

Graduates of an electrical engineering degree program are known to gain many transferrable skills, such as numeracy, problem solving, use of tools and materials, and analytical skills. Because of these, electrical engineering degree holders who choose not to go directly into the field of electrical engineering can have opportunities in other positions, such as in finance and business.

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