Top 5 Best Online Doctor of Electrical Engineering Degree Programs

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Updated: March 22, 2024, Reading time: 8 minutes

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Electrical engineering has fueled the research and development projects in various fields, such as telecommunications, power systems, electronics, and automation.

While a bachelor’s or master’s degree can equip you with fundamental knowledge, a doctorate will cover more advanced topics in this specific field of Engineering. These include signal processing, power systems, control systems, machine learning, and neural networks, which will boost your abilities and contribute to knowledge advancements. 

Electrical Engineering student in laboratory

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Most students in these graduate programs are already experienced electrical engineers with advanced skills. However, these graduate degree programs cover even more advanced topics and, thus, demand effective time management skills and study habits. Among these advanced topics are signal processing, power systems, control systems, machine learning, and neural networks.  

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.


The online Doctor of Electrical Engineering programs that we highly recommend all share these features demonstrating excellence:

Check out our ranking indicators and process. Visit our Methodology page.

The Best Online Doctor of Electrical Engineering Programs

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University for Agriculture & Applied Science
Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical & Computer Engineering
Tuition$537 per credit
Credit HoursVaries
Length4-5 years

MSU’s PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering is a world-class program emphasizing topics in Signal processing and their systems, Solid state electronics, Power Systems, Discrete structures, and Advanced Electronics Circuits. It has three application deadlines – the first day of June, November, and May.

For students with a master’s degree, the doctoral program consists of 48 credit hours of courses relevant to the electrical and computer engineering field. For students with a bachelor’s degree, the doctoral program has a direct admit path consisting of 166 credit hours of coursework. Both types of students must complete dissertation requirements in electrical and computer engineering. 

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota
Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering
Tuition$545.16 per credit (residency)
$817.73 per credit (non-resident)
Credit Hours90
Length4+ years

UND’s Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering explores various advanced courses, such as Robotics Fundamentals, Biomedical Instrumentation, Communications Engineering, and more. In addition to the required courses, Ph.D. students can customize their learning experience by participating in various Career and Professional Development Workshops. 

Moreover, the program provides a concentrated learning atmosphere with many opportunities for students to engage with their faculty mentors. Although there are residency requirements, it can be met through sufficient demonstration of research activities in their workplaces, laboratories, and research universities.

Auburn University

Auburn University - Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering
Tuition$5,898 per semester (residents)
$15,978 per semester (non-residents)
Credit Hours60

Auburn’s PhD in Electrical Engineering is designed specifically for experienced engineering professionals. The curriculum is intensive and explores advanced topics in Digital Signal Processing and Communications, Control Systems, and Power Systems. Students also learn advanced skills in computer engineering. 

Columbia University

Columbia University - The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Doctor of Engineering Science – Electrical Engineering
Tuition$2,462 per credit
Credit Hours72
Length5 years

Columbia’s Doctor of Engineering Science in Electrical Engineering is a very intensive program that can only be completed in a hybrid learning format. Qualified students will have access to solid-state electronics, ultra-fast optics, communications and information processing, and plasmas. 

Students must perform research activities in on-campus sites under the supervision of their faculty advisors. Students in the Doctor of Engineering Science program can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. 

However, they must be self-funded and must complete the program requirements within seven years from the date of candidacy to the date of the dissertation defense. Doctor of Engineering Science students are not required to undergo community service, teaching assignments, or teaching assistantships. 

Clemson University

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering
Tuition$5,580 per semester (in-state)
$11,376 per semester (out-of-state)
Credit Hours60
Length5 years

Clemson’s Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering is a hybrid degree program that offers several research opportunities. Students can participate in initiatives at the Dominion Energy Innovation Center, the Wind Turbine Drive Train Test Facility, and the Duke Energy eGRID. Other research opportunities are available at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

In addition to research opportunities, students can also pursue a departmental specialization. Choices include Computing and Communications, Intelligent Systems, Energy Systems, and Photonics, Electronics and Quantum Systems. 

Features of Online Doctor of Electrical Engineering Programs

There are two different types of electrical engineering doctor degrees. While they share some similarities like requiring students to produce original research and intensive dissertation defense, they are quite different. 

AspectDoctor of Electrical EngineeringPh.D. in Electrical Engineering
Emphasisapplied research (i.e., the research has practical applications in solving real-world issues)Theoretical knowledge and research publishable in industry journals
Typical Career PathTechnical or business environments like manufacturing, industrial, and service companiesFull-time, tenured professors and researchers in community colleges and four-year institutions

Admission Requirements 

Admission to either program varies, so consult official websites and talk to an admissions counselor for specifics before gathering admissions materials. However, among the most common requirements include:


The typical timeline for doctoral degree programs is as follows:

Note that the five-year time-to-completion is only a guide. Most students earn a doctoral degree in 6-7 years. Most, if not all, graduate programs have maximum time-to-completion, usually between eight and ten years. 

Best Online Doctor of Electrical Engineering - fact

Career and Salary Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics presents the latest data that shows electrical engineers earn a median annual wage of $103,320. The overall employment growth for electrical engineers between 2022 and 2032 is 5%, which is faster than average for all occupations.

Like architects, engineers are vital to the construction industry—but there’s more to this field! Here’s a quick look at some of the most common career paths for doctorates in electrical engineering:

JobDutiesAverage Annual Salary
College Engineering Professors– Perform education, research, and academic services .
– Dedicate time to research projects, supervision, publishing, and conferences.
Electrical Research Engineers– Design, develop, and implement research projects for innovative products.
– Work in the business sector, particularly manufacturing companies.
Architectural and Engineering– Create detailed plans for new product development.$159,920
Managers– Determine manpower and equipment needs.
– Coordinate research and development projects.
Electrical Aerospace Engineers-Design, construct, and maintain aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites.
– Test, diagnose, and repair electrical systems.
Mechatronics Engineers– Design, manufacture, test, and troubleshoot new products
– Combine expertise in electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering.
– Work on control systems, microwaves, and various modern technologies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you call a professional with a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering degree?

In academia, electrical engineers with a doctorate are usually addressed as Dr. John Smith (full name) in written communications. In conversations, Dr. Smith (surname) is used.

Do Electrical Engineers need a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering degree?

No, a doctorate in engineering degree isn’t necessary for licensed professional electrical engineers. But for professionals who want to become college professors and/or researchers, a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering is a must for tenure track purposes. 

How can you choose the best Doctor of Electrical Engineering online program? 

The quality of online education in engineering also depends on the same factors as traditional engineering programs. Regional accreditation is the first and foremost accreditation because it demonstrates compliance with academic standards set by the US Department of Education.

Then, look at the professional credentials of the faculty members, including their educational attainment and research projects, both present and past. Consider the quality of instruction, too, including learning objectives, curriculum and courses, and graduate outcomes, which are measurements of overall quality. 

Is an online Doctorate in Electrical Engineering accepted by the industry and employers? 

Yes, it is! However, you must ensure that you’re enrolled in a regionally accredited school. The electrical engineering industry and employers will only recognize the doctorate degree if it’s awarded by four-year colleges and universities with active regional accreditation.

Can you finish a Doctorate degree program faster than the average time to completion? 

Yes, you can, but it will be a challenging endeavor, to say the least. You can be a full-time student, find a great mentor, and immerse yourself in your research, among other steps. You should also consider choosing a specialized or narrow topic for your dissertation, orienting toward your desired career path in the field of Engineering.

Electrical Engineering student testing the electricity

Key Takeaways

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