Online Power Systems Engineering Degree Programs

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Is an Online Power Systems Engineering Program Right for Me?

Before you think about taking on an online program, it’s important to determine if it's the best option for you.

An online program can be beneficial for anyone interested in pursuing higher education, whether at the undergraduate or at the graduate level. In most cases, some or all of the coursework is available through distance-based learning.

Online programs take away the commitment involved in commuting to campus, allowing students to do their coursework and assignments on their own time. However, as with campus-based programs, students will have to complete assignments as papers.

But at the same time, there's plenty of flexibility in how you structure your learning. This means that if someone is employed full-time, they may be able to squeeze in-class work on lunch breaks, after work, or on the weekends.

Anyone considering enrolling in an online power systems engineering degree program must understand its campus visitation requirements. Some schools ask that you attend an on-campus orientation. Others ask that you attend an on-campus intensive at a regular interval. Still, others may ask that you present your capstone project on-campus. Be sure to inquire about specific campus visitation requirements at the program you're considering.

Admissions Requirements in Online Power Systems Engineering Degree Programs

While each program varies in its requirements for admissions, there are enough commonalities to provide a loose checklist for potential applicants to online graduate-level power systems engineering programs:

  • Undergraduate degree in engineering or related science field
  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, with official transcripts
  • Strong GRE scores (some exemption criteria exist)
  • Statement of purpose and/or personal statement
  • Professional and/or academic letters of recommendation
  • A year or more of relevant work experience is preferred
  • Official TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers

However, it bears repeating that every program's requirements are different. And, within those specific requirements, opportunities for exemption and substitution often exist. Applicants should carefully research the guidelines for each program they're interested in and contact a program representative for further information.

Featured Online Power Systems Engineering Degree Programs

The University of Michigan

Based at one of the top engineering schools in the nation, this online ESE (master of energy systems engineering) program has been designed by faculty spread throughout the University of Michigan's graduate programs—from the schools of business, architecture, urban planning, literature, public policy, and environment and sustainability—to present a holistic vision of how innovation can impact various fields.

For admission to the program, students must have an undergraduate degree in chemistry, engineering, physics, mathematics, or biology, two letters of recommendation, a current resume, a statement of purpose, official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a personal statement, and MELAB, TOEFL, IELTS, or ECPE for applicants whose native language is not English.

All students start with a set of core classes that detail advanced energy solutions, policies, and infrastructure. Then they select from a block of engineering analysis classes with topics such as sustainable design, greenhouse gas control, battery systems, and modeling analysis of hybrid electric vehicles. Students may specialize in one of the following: energy generation, distribution, and usage, transportation power, or sustainable chemical conversation. A final capstone project asks the student to apply their new knowledge to solve a real-world problem with industry or government participation. In total, students complete 30 credits of classes, and this can be done entirely online, on-campus, or exclusively online, or a combination of each.

Graduates of the program have career opportunities in various fields of engineering and science, investment, consulting, energy, and public policy sectors.

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to two years full-time, with part-time options available
  • Estimated Tuition: Michigan resident ($1,361 for first hour and $1,525 for additional hours); Michigan non-resident ($1,507 for first hour and $1,671 for additional hours)

Washington State University

The WSU electric power engineering PSM (professional science master’s) master's degree combines an in-depth knowledge of advanced engineering with the managerial skills needed to implement solutions and lead in the industry. The faculty of the program includes recognized industry experts from areas of power engineering. Apart from training students in an advanced scientific field, the program also teaches them the skills needed for becoming managers and leaders in a professional environment.

Students begin with three core engineering classes on power system analysis, high-voltage overhead transmission lines, and power system economics. Then, they choose power engineering electives (e.g., renewable energy sources, high-voltage engineering) and pair them with professional courses that range from law and finance to management. In total, students complete 27 credits of coursework and one three-credit internship. The program is entirely online, and no campus visits are required.

Admission requirements include a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering or its equivalent from an accredited school, a cumulative GPA of 3.0, a complete application, a letter of intent, three original letters of recommendation, official copies of transcripts, and an official TOEFL score for international students. The GRE is not required for admission.

  • Location: Pullman, Washington
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,200 per credit

The University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin’s online “master of science in electrical engineering: power program” prepares students for leading positions in the industry in areas such as electric power, motor drives, electric machines, and power electronics. Taught by distinguished faculty members, the program provides students with an engaging experience, that is accessible from anywhere.

As one of the top online engineering programs in the nation, UW-Madison provides students with a technology-based curriculum that incorporates future-focused interdisciplinary courses like advanced automation, robotics, and computer control of machines and processes. In addition to the provided curriculum, students must choose between a final course option or a thesis/project option. The full program consists of 30 credits, as well as one mandatory on-campus three-week summer lab.

UW-Madison is also home to WEMPEC (Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium), where the stated mission is "to be the lifelong hub of a worldwide network of engineers who are active in all facets of power electronics and electromechanical power conversion and their applications."

Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree (electrical engineering major is preferred) from a program accredited by the ABET or the equivalent, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, completion of the capstone certificate in power conversion and control, and TOEFL scores for applicants whose native language is not English. GRE scores are not required but highly recommended.

  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to four years
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,600 per credit

Michigan Tech

Michigan Technological University offers an online master’s in electrical and computer engineering, with a focus on power systems. Michigan Tech's electrical engineering department boasts strong ties to both government and industry. Several faculty are on the editorial boards of premier academic journals, and departmental research is funded by entities such as the US Air Force, the National Science Foundation, and Intelligent Automation.

In pursuing an electrical engineering power systems master's degree, students take courses in subjects such as power system dynamics, energy storage systems, transient analysis methods, and cybersecurity in automotive systems. In total, the program consists of 30 credits, 21 of which focus on electric power. The entire program may be completed exclusively online, with a customizable curriculum, and at a flexible pace.

The major admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution, two letters of recommendation, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students. GRE scores are not required for admission.

  • Location: Houghton, Michigan
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to four years, with full-time and part-time options available
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,285 per credit

The University of Houston

Students pursuing this industrial power systems specialization master of science in electrical engineering can benefit from the unique industrial and technological landscape of the Houston area, one of the world's energy capitals while maintaining a global focus and a market-application mindset. This master’s degree provides students with advanced instruction giving them the level of business and technical expertise needed for meeting the industry demand for skilled professionals.

A set of core courses is complemented by electives that explore topics such as smart grid systems, high-voltage substation architecture, power system protection, and advanced power converters. The degree consists of 30 credits, 21 of which focus on power energy systems, and the remainder being selected from other programs. All students are required to attend an on-campus orientation, as well as take all exams on campus, but students living outside of Houston may work with their instructors to make special arrangements for proctored off-site testing.

To get accepted into the program, applicants must have a bachelor of science degree in electrical or computer engineering or a closely related field, a GPA that is more than or equal to 3.0, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students.

  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $745 per credit

The University of Southern California

One of the very best online engineering programs in the nation, USC's master of science in electrical engineering (electric power) uses a blended delivery model that offers online learners full access and engagement with the on-campus classroom. This online program is ideal for students who are looking for a career in the electric power industry.

Admission requirements for the program include an undergraduate degree in math, hard science, or engineering from a regionally accredited university, a satisfactory undergraduate GPA, a completed application, electronic transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, a current resume, a personal statement, and English language proficiency for international students whose first language is not English.

All students take required courses in power systems, power systems technology, power systems analysis and design, and sustainable infrastructure systems. Students then choose five elective courses, with at least one from each of the following three concentrations: transmission, distribution, and planning; high-voltage equipment and design; power system control and the smart grid.

The program totals 28 credits, with 15 of those coming from required courses, and the remaining 13 coming from approved electives. The program is completely online with the option to visit campus.

Upon completion, graduates will have a variety of career opportunities in areas such as systems design, professional communications, power engineering, nanotechnology, computer networks, microelectronics, multimedia processing, computer architecture, and industrial and power electronics.

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Full-time (1.5 to 3.5 years); part-time (2.5 to 3 years)
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,148 per credit

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University has been offering distance learning for engineering since 1978, and its online master's degree in electrical power systems engineering is rated among the top ten in the nation. Students interact fluidly and frequently with their instructors and peers through NC State's WolfWare website, with the goal being to prepare for the real-world applications of advanced technical education. Students in this program will be provided with a thorough understanding of the methods, tools, and practices involved in electric power engineering.

For admission to the program, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college in electrical engineering, an overall grade point average of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants. GRE scores are required but can be waived off.

Students must take five courses in electrical and computer engineering, three courses in the power engineering sub-specialization, and as the capstone component, two courses in professional skills development. The program consists of 30 credits and requires neither a thesis nor any campus visits. Sample some of the courses in the curriculum: electric motor drives, power system switchgear & protection, the business of the electric utility, smart distribution systems, and power system operation and control.

The program opens up several opportunities for graduates. They can take up roles such as electrical design engineer, forensic electrical engineer, facilities electrical engineer, electrical test engineer, utilities & power distribution engineer, and electrical project engineer, to name a few.

  • Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to six years, with full-time and part-time options available
  • Estimated Tuition: Residents of North Carolina ($446 per credit); non-residents of North Carolina ($1,295 per credit)

The University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas's master's program with a focus in electric power engineering offers a top 50 online engineering program at an in-state tuition rate. Coming into the program with a working knowledge of electrical engineering, students specialize in power engineering topics and learn about future electric energy systems.

The major admission requirements for the program include a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, GRE scores (can be waived), and English language proficiency for applicants whose first language is not English.

Courses are offered in the design of advanced power distribution systems, electric power quality, nonlinear systems analysis and control, communication theory, and optimal control systems. The program consists of 30 credit hours with thesis and non-thesis options available, and it can be completed exclusively online.

  • Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Accreditation: HLC (Higher Learning Commission)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $303.88 per credit

Professors to Know in Power Systems Engineering Degree Programs

Petros A. Ioannou, PhD University of Southern California

Dr. Petros A. Ioannou holds the A.V. Balakrishnan Chair at USC, where he serves as a professor of electrical engineering systems, aerospace, and mechanical engineering, and industrial and systems engineering. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

As a fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), he's co-authored five books and over 150 research papers on controls, neural networks, nonlinear dynamical systems, and intelligent transportation systems. Notably, he's also a fellow of IFAC, IET, and AAAS.

With a wide-ranging set of research interests and a plethora of awards to match, he has served and continues to serve on the editorial boards of multiple elite journals in the industry. He completed his BS from the University of London and an MS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Anna Stefanopoulou, PhD University of Michigan

Dr. Anna Stefanopoulou is the William Clay Ford Professor of Manufacturing at the University of Michigan, where she serves on the Energy Systems Engineering Committee. She received her PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Stefanopoulou has co-authored over 250 publications and holds 20 US patents on estimation and control of internal combustion engines and electrochemical processes such as fuel cells and batteries. A perennial keynote speaker, she's served on dozens of committees and received all manner of awards, such as the Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award, University of Michigan Faculty Recognition Award, and Control System Technology Award to name a few. She completed her MS from the University of Michigan and a diploma in naval architecture and marine engineering from the National Technical University of Athens.

Giri Venkataramanan University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Giri Venkataramanan is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at his doctoral alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he serves as a faculty member in the power engineering program. Dr. Venkataramanan has been academically cited over 3,000 times in the last five years alone.

Following what is, in his words, the same evolutionary pathway that developed the horseshoe, the water wheel, the windmill, and the steam engine, Dr. Venkataramanan’s work at the Wisconsin Energy Institute focuses on innovative methods of energy transport and power conversion systems. He received the Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008. He teaches or has taught courses such as advanced independent study, introductory experience in electrical engineering, and master's research and thesis, among others.

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