Many individuals may be drawn to the idea of pursuing a degree in electrical and computer engineering online due to the possibility of earning a degree without ever setting foot on campus, or only rarely having to do so. And while that is certainly a wonderful convenience, an aspiring student interested in this field of study should consider several factors before selecting an online program.
To begin, students may have restricted access to professors. In some cases, particularly with self-paced courses and recorded lectures, the professor may not be present as the student takes the class. In cases where a program includes courses with scheduled start times, the professor may indeed be present and teaching, but depending on the size of the class and how it is delivered, he or she may not be able to field questions as they arise.
Outside of class, professors often have virtual office hours and allow email questions or forum-based questions and so in that sense, the online program experience may more closely resemble that of a campus-based program.
In an online program, students may be asked to progress through a majority of the coursework at their own pace, and may only be required to adhere to a semester schedule, providing significant flexibility in the completion and submission of assignments. But the flexibility of schedule can be a blessing and a curse; anyone who has difficulty working with little oversight or without a strict routine may struggle in an online degree program.
But for organized self-starters who are employed or busy by day, or who would have difficulty attending a physical campus, an online ECE program may be an appealing option. Gainfully employed people, parents of young children, military personnel, and people who live in remote areas often find online degree programs to be the right fit.
As with other programs at institutions of higher education, those wishing to pursue an online degree in electrical and computer engineering must meet specific admissions requirements before they will be allowed to enroll. Because of this, if you are considering taking part in one of these programs, you must familiarize yourself with these criteria before moving any further in the process.
While the admissions requirements will vary based on the specific institution, as well as the level of study (undergraduate vs. graduate), certain key components will likely remain the same.
At the undergraduate level, all institutions will generally require:
At the graduate level, all schools will generally require:
In many cases, aspiring students will also be asked to submit personal essays; letters of recommendation from previous teachers, professors, or employers; and even a CV or resume that provides additional information that could prove relevant to the admissions process.
Aspiring students should be aware of the application timeline, as well. To be sure, for programs that start in the fall, many schools will require applications to be submitted by the beginning or middle of January; while those that start in the spring may request applications by early fall.
While students in online programs have a great degree of flexibility regarding their studies, particularly within any given semester, most often they must follow the academic calendar set by the physical campus administration.
Similar to other engineering specialties, electrical and computer engineering programs are eligible to obtain accreditation from a national body, as long as they meet certain requirements.
Programs that meet specific eligibility requirements may achieve accreditation through the Engineering Accreditation Commission through the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), the primary national accreditation body for programs involving engineering and technology. ABET also acts as an umbrella organization for other agencies focused on the improvement of education in engineering, one of which is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
This organization plays an active role in the accreditation process of educational programs focused on electrical and computer engineering.
While attending a program that has received accreditation from ABET and IEEE is not required, it is a prerequisite for obtaining a Professional Engineering license (which also requires the completion of four or more years of related work, generally), and may certainly help with employment prospects upon graduation.
While the curriculum for a program focused on electrical and computer engineering will not be identical across the board, there are several courses and subjects that aspiring students should expect to cover throughout their studies.
For example, undergraduate students, along with taking general elective courses, will likely need to study:
Graduate students will likely need to cover similar topics, although they may not be required to take elective courses; and, that being said, graduate students may need to take more research-based courses that require the publication of a paper upon completion.
Depending on the institution, there may be additional opportunities for specialization within the degree itself. To be sure, a student may have the option to pursue an additional specialization in electro physics, control systems, embedded systems, robotics, or any number of other areas.
Here, we have detailed highly-regarded electrical and computer engineering programs that offer degrees online, as well as some professors who lead classes therein.
At Kansas State University, students have the option of pursuing a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering. Students in this program can choose a specific emphasis; namely, electric power systems, or communication and networking. This program is ideal for working professionals as this is a 100 percent online program.
Made up of 30 credits, the program prepares students with the advanced skills needed for advancing their careers in electrical and computer engineering. The electric power systems concentration includes courses such as advanced systems theory, computer engineering methods for analysis, simulation & design, and applied probability theory and random processes, among others. The Communication and Networking Curriculum includes courses such as communication systems I, wireless communications, network theory, and research in electrical engineering, to name a few.
Admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree in ECE from an ABET-accredited institution (GRE scores required if a bachelor’s degree is not from an ABET-accredited university), background in calculus, statement of objectives, curriculum vitae, three professional academic references, and unofficial transcripts.
At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities such as design engineer, reliability engineer, project engineer, field engineer, sales engineer, systems design engineer, and research and development engineer.
Ohio University provides students the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering with a focus on computer engineering. It is also possible to obtain this degree in as little as two years, and without ever visiting the campus. The program helps students develop the knowledge and skills for solving complex problems expanding their leadership skills and expertise. Apathy from the computer engineering focus, the program offers several other concentrations such as autonomous unmanned vehicles, electrical engineering, communications & digital signal processing, micro nano devices & systems, and electronic navigation systems.
Comprising 36 credits, the computer engineering focus includes courses such as embedded systems, computer architecture, design of digital circuits, micro-nano fabrication, computer communications network, nano electric devices & applications, and information theory and coding.
The major admission requirements for the program include a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or other engineering disciplines from an ABET-accredited university, a grade point average of 3.0, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students.
Graduates of the program will be equipped with the skills and knowledge for researching, designing, developing, and testing new technologies and industry applications and for positioning themselves as leaders.
Through Georgia Tech, students may obtain a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering on their schedule. The program is fully online, although the online program is held to the same standards as those provided on campus. Students in this program gain technical knowledge about this high industry of computer development. Ideal for working professionals, this online program allows students to earn their degree on their schedule, in their own home, and without sacrificing their career. They’ll connect with their fellow learners, instructors, and the material itself using multi-platform digital learning tools.
To get accepted into the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, official transcripts from every institution attended, references, professional resume, personal statements, lawful presence documents, and TOEFL scores for international students.
Consisting of 30 credit-hours, the program includes courses such as introduction to bioengineering, digital system design, introduction to signals processing, introduction to computer engineering, digital design laboratory, engineering software design, circuit analysis, mechanisms for computing systems, and microelectronic circuits, among others.
At Drexel University, students can pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis on computer engineering. This program is highly interactive, and nearly a third of the faculty are members of IEEE. The program equips students for technically challenging careers in research, development, and industry. The program is ideal for working professionals helping them build a strong foundation in theory exploring and understanding new trends and technology.
The program comprises 45 credits including courses such as computer science, engineering technology, systems engineering, project management, and electrical & computer engineering to name a few.
Applicants to the program must have a four-year bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or any other related field from a regionally accredited institution in the US or an equivalent international institution, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, a completed application, official transcripts, a 500-word essay, two letters of recommendation, a current resume, and TOEFL scores for international students.
Graduates of the program will be well-equipped to work as circuits engineer, electrical controls engineer, design engineer, electrical design engineer, power systems engineer, electrical project engineer, and project engineer.
Students at the University of Delaware are allowed to pursue a master’s of science degree in electrical and computer engineering. Here, students may complete the degree in as little as two years or may complete a dual ECE/MBA, instead. The online MS in ECE helps students in mastering the skills taught in other electrical and computer engineering programs, as well as providing them with the critical insight for securing, protecting, and implementing the systems they create.
The program consists of 30 credits using hands-on training and foundational theory for challenging students to develop algorithms and efficient designs that incorporate defenses against cyber threats during information exchange. The curriculum includes courses such as signals and systems, digital signal processing, digital communication, modern machine learning, computer networks, and applied cryptography, among others.
Admission requirements for the program include a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year university, a grade point average of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, a current resume, statement of purpose, two reference letters, GRE score, and TOEFL scores for international students.
On successful completion of the program, graduates can take up roles such as R&D engineer, hardware, software, or electrical engineer, network systems administrator, computer or design engineer, cybersecurity specialist, and information security analyst.
Most often, students who are pursuing an online degree in electrical and computer engineering will not be required to ever visit the campus throughout their studies.
Indeed, this is the case with a degree at Georgia Tech, which declares that students can obtain a degree without needing to set foot on the physical campus. That being said, some programs may require students to visit the campus once or twice per year, possibly for exams or other activities; because of this, it is imperative to pose these questions to the administration before enrolling.
Lastly, there are a few other factors that aspiring students should consider before they begin one of these online programs. For one, students should familiarize themselves with their selected institution’s career placement services, as the quality and commitment of these services can help ensure that students successfully find employment upon graduation.
Furthermore, students may wish to research alumni groups or other networks that exist for graduates of the program, as a strong alumni network can be extremely beneficial throughout a future career.
Fortunately for those interested in this type of degree, there are many highly influential professors in the field of electrical and computer engineering who teach online. Indeed, the following is a list of exceptional educators who teach at schools that offer online degrees in electrical and computer engineering.
Kenneth E. Barner University of Delaware
Dr. Kenneth E. Barner is a professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Delaware. He is an IEEE Fellow, and leads courses on signal processing, digital systems, mechatronics, and communications systems engineering, among others. His research interests include machine learning, digital image and video signal processing, and statistical signal processing.
Dr. Barner’s research has been published in journals such as Computers in Biology and Medicine and Electronics Letters. He earned his PhD and MS from the University of Delaware and a BS from Lehigh University.
Kapil Dandekar Drexel University
Dr. Kapil Dandekar is currently an E. Warren Colehower Chair Professor of electrical and computer engineering at Drexel University, where he also serves as the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the college of engineering. He is a member of the IEEE Educational Activities Board and a co-founder of the EPICS-in-IEEE program. His research interests include cybersecurity, engineering education, wireless physical layer security, and software-defined radio prototyping, among others.
Dr. Dandekar teaches courses in wireless systems, introduction to modulation and coding, and analog and digital communications. His research has been published in prominent journals such as the International Journal of Antennas and Propagation and the Journal of Lightwave Technology. He completed his PhD and MS at the University of Texas and a BS at the University of Virginia.
Don Gruenbacher Kansas State University
Dr. Don Gruenbacher is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Kansas State University, where he also serves as the department head and the George and Alice Fiedler Chair. He has published several articles and was declared the 2003 Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Faculty Member. His research efforts are focused on computer networks, digital design, and communications.
Dr. Gruenbacher has published more than forty-five conference and journal publications in technical research areas and around twelve publications in engineering education conference proceedings. He completed his PhD in electrical engineering, MS in electrical engineering, and a BS in electrical engineering at Kansas State University.
Avinash Kodi Ohio University
Dr. Avinash Kodi is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Ohio University. He has published more than 60 publications in IEEE and OSA peer-reviewed conferences and journals, and his interests include computer architecture, hardware security and optical interconnects, among others. He teaches courses in computer engineering, advanced microprocessors, the architecture of parallel computers, digital systems & computer design, and introduction to digital circuits & computer design.
Dr. Kodi has published his research in journals such as the Journal of Parallel and Distributed Systems and the Journal of Lightwave Technology. He has received many awards such as the Outstanding Research Paper Award, NSF CAREER Award, and Marvin E. and Ann D. White Research Award. He holds his PhD and MS from the University of Arizona and a BE from Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, India.
Waymond R. Scott Georgia Tech
Dr. Waymond R. Scott is the Joseph M. Pettit Professor within the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he has served since 1986. His research interests include antennas, transient fields, methods for detecting buried objects using both electromagnetic and acoustic waves, and others.
Dr. Scott’s teaching and research are in the areas of acoustics and applied electromagnetics. He has published his research in journals such as the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America and Microwave and Optical Technology Letters. He completed his PhD, MS, and BE at Georgia Tech.
Meet 25 top professors of electrical engineering, and learn more about their areas of expertise, their achievements, and their contributions to both engineering and their respective programs.
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