The Top 20 Colleges for Electrical Engineering in 2020
Here's a complete breakdown of the top colleges for electrical engineering. Long graduated? See if your alma mater makes the list.
Once you've decided to major in electrical engineering, the next step is to figure out where to begin your time as an undergraduate. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a world leader for providing information about higher education, ranks universities according to what they offer in 48 subject areas, one of which is electrical engineering.
How Are the Schools Ranked?
QS uses these four sources to calculate the rankings:
- Global surveys of academics
- Global surveys of employers
- Research citations per paper
- The H-Index associated with a subject (This is an author metric that measures both their productivity and citation impact. The citation impact calculates the author's most-cited papers, as well as the number of times a person receives citations in other publications.)
The Top 20 Universities for Electrical Engineering
We've assessed these schools by three categories that prospective students likely care most about: tuition, research opportunities, and job placement out of college.
An electronics engineering student and her team test vehicle software. Image used courtesy of This is Engineering
For additional information on how we define tuition in this article and the currentness of the sources we used, please see the note at the end of the article.
Now, let's get into the breakdown of schools.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Research Opportunities: MIT offers a broad range of research opportunities for electrical engineering students.
They include the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and SuperUROP, which gives people chances to earn credits or pay for the work they do. There is also the Industrial Connection Program, which facilitates students engaging with the industry.
Job Placement Out of College: A 2018 survey of MIT graduates found that the average salary for people who earned electrical engineering bachelor's degrees was $90,771.
The same study investigated where people went on to work after they earned bachelor's degrees. For that part of the survey, MIT combined people who participated in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) program.
Some common, notable employers included Google, Fitbit, Riot Games, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Quora, and many others.
2. Stanford University
Research Opportunities: Stanford University offers its electrical engineering students a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). It partners undergraduates with faculty members and their research groups from June to August.
In addition to receiving hands-on experience in the field, students can attend weekly seminars as well as social events that facilitate networking.
During the final week of the REU program, students give presentations about their research projects in the form of a poster. They display them at a fair attended by members from the electrical engineering community, both from within the university and outside of it.
Job Placement Out of College: The Electrical Engineering program at Stanford does not give a specific breakdown of job placement rates for its students. However, it offers numerous job boards and similar resources to help students kickstart their careers after earning degrees.
The World University Rankings 2020 (published on Times Higher Education) put Stanford University at number four within its rankings for overall employability.
3.The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
Tuition: $14,254 (in-state) and $29,754 (out-of-state)
Research Opportunities: The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) department at UCB sees faculty and students working together on projects encompassing a wide variety of topics.
Students have chances to dive into research related to artificial intelligence (AI), cyber-physical systems and design automation (CPSDA), human-computer interaction (HCI), robotics, and more.
There is also a variety of research and summer enrichment activities listed for undergraduates on the engineering school's website. Some of them are specified for disadvantaged students and others allow applicants to engage in short-term research at other well-known universities, including Stanford and MIT.
Job Placement Out of College: According to 2017 statistics from UCB's Career Center, 78% of EECS graduates got jobs after completing their programs, while 5% were looking for work. The remaining percentages represented people who chose activities not associated with the workforce, such as continuing along their educational paths by going to graduate school.
The employers that hired Stanford EECS graduates included Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
4. Harvard University
Research Opportunities: Harvard provides numerous on-campus research opportunities for its electrical engineering students.
For example, the Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE) is a 10-week academic summer program for students eager to pursue their research interests. Additionally, the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) focuses on materials research and nanoscale science and engineering during the summer.
Students can also apply for grants that allow them to study abroad during summer break and continue their research. Plus, Harvard students often gain internships or summer work experience related to their field.
Job Placement out of College: A 2019 survey carried out by Harvard's student newspaper polled departing seniors from all majors. It indicated that 53% would earn $70,000 or more in their first year out of school. Moreover, data from Niche showed that 89% of Harvard graduates have jobs two years after graduation.
5. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
Tuition: $10,258 (in-state) and $31,370 (out-of-state)
Research Opportunities: The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at Georgia Tech offers numerous technical interest groups that allow students to focus on research in the areas that fascinate them most. The options include nanotechnology, bioengineering, systems and controls, electrical signal processing, and more. The department has also reportedly received $53 million in research awards.
Georgia Tech's engineering department created numerous partnerships between its students and national and academic laboratories, all of which could further ongoing research efforts. Similarly, industry partner programs exist that let corporate entities sponsor student projects, offer career and internship opportunities, and more.
Job Placement Out of College: According to the institution's internal data for seniors graduating in Spring 2018, 78.3% of people from all majors said they would have jobs immediately after graduating. Also, the same data indicated that the median reported salary for people who received a bachelor of science degree was $70,500.
The Georgia Tech website also broke down the salary prospects for its electrical engineering and computer engineering students. The results showed that starting salaries are around $65,000 per year with 85 to 90% of people in those majors reporting that they secured jobs by graduation.
6. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Research Opportunities: The areas of research at Caltech are vast. They include image processing and vision, neural networks, networks and wireless communications, and robotics.
Since Caltech offers such a diverse assortment of research areas, you're sure to find a way to capitalize on your interests while there. Caltech also has a dedicated department that nurtures links between corporate partners and students. Scholars can get details about internships and entrepreneurship from that segment of the university.
Job Placement Out of College: Caltech's data about all graduates from the class of 2017 indicated that 60% of them went directly into the workforce after earning their degrees. Moreover, the average starting salary for those individuals was $105,500. Caltech also holds biannual career fairs attended by more than 150 employers from various industries.
7. Carnegie Mellon University
Research Opportunities: Carnegie Mellon University offers an exciting range of interdisciplinary research programs.
They span industries and applications ranging from healthcare to smart cities. Electrical engineering students at the institution are also encouraged to pursue internships during their time as undergraduates. Internships allow them to engage in research while exploring commercial applications for their findings.
One possibility is the university's summer internship program for electrical and computer engineering students. It lasts for approximately nine weeks.
Job Placement Out of College: Carnegie Mellon's data for the class of 2019 showed that 60.9% of graduates had jobs at graduation and 5.2% were looking for work. Then, for people in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department, the percentage of employed people within the class of 2019 was 50.8% with 2.6% seeking employment.
The average salary for people getting their first jobs after earning degrees associated with the ECE department was $112,699.
8. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Research Opportunities: UCLA has a dedicated page to undergraduate research within the electrical engineering department that details the commitments associated with applying for a research opportunity.
The content there mentions that although some research options are ones that students participate in voluntarily, others allow people to earn credit or money while completing them. Moreover, although many research projects last for a quarter or a summer, others are longer commitments.
From the research page, people can explore a list of available positions. They currently include opportunities that help students get involved with web-based robots, microwave electronics, computational imaging, and more.
Plus, the university has a Corporate Affiliates Program (CAP). Participating companies can contribute to school-wide initiatives, meet with student groups in the engineering department, give sponsorship funds, or discuss employment and internship opportunities.
Job Placement Out of College: UCLA's survey statistics indicate that 33% of the class of 2018 from the Electrical and Computer Engineering department had full-time employment at graduation, with 3% obtaining part-time work.
Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Northrop Grumman were among the top employers for people coming out of the electrical engineering school.
9. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tuition: $16,862–$21,956 (in-state) and $34,312–$39,406 (out-of-state)
Research Opportunities: The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department here has 100 faculty members working on research projects, plus more than 50 research centers.
Students can join one of the featured research groups, which concern topics such as circuits, data science and signal processing, and microelectronics and photonics.
Job Placement Out of College: The university's data from the 2018–2019 graduating class concerning all majors showed that 58% of departing students secured employment by graduation.
Additionally, 35% of students who participated in the university's experiential learning opportunities got hired as a result. The average salary for all graduating students with bachelor's degrees is $64,000.
Then, the same source showed that 64% of people within the engineering school got jobs and 4% were seeking them. The average salary for those students was $82,068. Amazon, Deloitte, and KPMG were some of the top employers of students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
10. The University of Texas at Austin
Tuition: $6,087 (in-state tuition for engineering students taking at least 12 credit hours) and $20,920 (out-of-state tuition for engineering students taking at least 12 credit hours).
Note: Although these figures came from the University of Texas website and were for the Fall 2019-2020 year, a section on the engineering program website that does not mention a year says the approximate tuition cost for in-state students is $11,000 per semester.
Research Opportunities: The University of Texas at Austin brings its electrical engineering students an exciting variety of research opportunities to pursue. Possibilities include architecture, computer systems and embedded systems (ACSES); decision, information, and communications engineering (DICE); and more.
Job Placement Out of College: The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program here is the only top-10 program of its kind in the state. That distinguishing characteristic should help you stand out in the job market.
According to data provided by the university, the median first-year earnings for students graduating with degrees in electrical, electronics, and communications engineering is $77,000.
Moreover, the university reports that 90% of students who leave with a bachelor of science degree in the engineering program receive job offers or decide to attend graduate school.
The average starting salary is $72,000 for engineering graduates—slightly lower than the broader figure provided above.
11. Princeton University
Research Opportunities: You'll find a complete assortment of research programs at Princeton. The topics range from energy and environment to integrated circuits and systems. There are also nine on-campus centers focusing on interdisciplinary research.
Students also get short-term glimpses of career options in the field through "Princeternships." They last from one to five days and involve shadowing an expert. People who prefer something more involved can take part in Princeton's Summer Programming Experiences (SPE).
An annual report shows that 98% of people from all majors in the class of 2017 took part in at least one internship or work experience opportunity during their time at the university.
Electrical engineering students can apply for independent research opportunities as early as their sophomore year. Then, when they get to their junior year, part of their coursework entails going into the university's Car Lab and working in small teams to build autonomous vehicles that handle specialized tasks.
Electrical engineering students at Princeton must complete a senior thesis before graduating. They do so with the help of an advisor and sometimes work in that advisor's research lab.
Job Placement Out of College: Data from Princeton's 2016-2017 annual report indicates that the university has an employer outreach and engagement program that fosters connections between students and prospective employers. During the time of the data's release, Princeton had relationships with 13,669 employers.
More statistics in the annual report showed that 72.5% of students from all majors gained full-time employment within six months of graduating.
When Princeton offered salary data, it combined engineering with architecture. In that segment, the average salary achieved by graduates was $75,439.
12. Cornell University
Research Opportunities: Cornell's engineering department page on undergraduate research indicates that more than half of the faculty members regularly have students teaming up with them to work on projects.
You can also set your sights on the Cornell ECE Early Career Research Scholars Program. It's specifically for Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) majors who are between their freshman and sophomore years.
This summer educational option involves participating in informal presentations and going to an ECE-specific workshop near the end of the summer. Cornell has an engineering Co-Op Program that helps engineering students secure paid internships, too.
Job Placement Out of College: Information associated with the engineering department's class of 2018 looked at student outcomes six months after graduation. It found that 47% of respondents got jobs and 2.2% were looking for work.
The average salary for those with jobs was $82,079. Moreover, the companies that hired the most engineering graduates from Cornell were Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, in that order.
13. Purdue University
Tuition: $9,992 (in-state) and $28,794 (out-of-state)
Research Opportunities: As an electrical engineering student at Purdue, you can choose from several research areas: automatic control; fields and optics; microelectronics and nanotechnology; and Schweitzer power and energy systems.
Plus, if you're interested in doing research through real-world experience in the industry, Purdue ECE’s Corporate Partners Program (CPP) gives employers exclusive access to talented students within the school.
It allows them to publish job postings that only the engineering program's students can see, attend career fairs, and more. Those things bode well for anyone eager to get practical knowledge under their belts.
Job Placement Out of College: Purdue University offers an interactive database where people can look for statistics associated with any major across several years. Concerning electrical engineering majors who were part of the class of 2018, approximately 60% were employed.
The average salary for those people was $69,087. General Motors, Texas Instruments, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center were among the top employers.
14. University of Michigan
Tuition: $8,156–$10,565 (in-state) and $25,586–$28,732 (out-of-state)
Research Opportunities: The areas of research you may pursue at the University of Michigan range from applied electromagnetics and RF circuits to embedded systems and power/energy.
The engineering school also has an industrial relations aim, giving brands from the corporate world chances to connect with students to work with them on projects or offer them job and internship opportunities.
Moreover, there is a wide selection of research programs offered during semesters and summers. The summer programs last for up to 12 weeks, and the ones occurring during the academic year can begin as early as a student's first year.
Then, engineering students have chances to apply for the Cooperative Education Program. It enables a person to continue taking classes for credit while also spending time in the industry.
Job Placement Out of College: According to the university's 2017-2018 annual report, electrical engineering students who ultimately get recruited and hired through the Cooperative Education Program have average weekly salaries of $3,658. Also, the base salary average for electrical engineering students overall was $71,933.
The college also published a 13-page list of companies that recruit or hire University of Michigan engineering students. The names on it include Google, IBM, Magic Leap, and NASA.
15. Columbia University
Research Opportunities: The research areas within the Columbia University engineering department include smart electric energy, nanoscale structures, and integrated devices. Students can get involved in ongoing research opportunities by applying to do so with the principal investigator involved.
Opportunities that are open now for electrical engineering students relate to the Hall Effect measurement (which concerns the voltage across an electrical conductor), high-quality video streaming over wireless, and more.
Alternatively, students can apply to take part in one of three summer research programs. The schedule features the Annual Engineering and Science Research Symposium, which showcases recent work carried out by students.
Women in the electrical engineering department can participate in Johnson & Johnson’s WiSTEM2D. From 2017 to 2019, it provided summer research grants for up to 20 qualifying and deserving women. Starting this year, it will give people opportunities to enjoy campus programs and visit sites related to the engineering field.
Job Placement Out of College: The institution's data for 2018 found that 75.6% of people in the engineering school secured jobs by the time they graduated and 8% were still looking.
Additionally, 52.4% of the total compensation ranges were above $70,000. Google, Goldman Sachs, and Accenture were among the top ten companies that hired Columbia's engineering graduates.
16. Northwestern University
Research Opportunities: The engineering department has partnerships with numerous companies and research facilities in Chicago, including Motorola, Ford, and the local branch of Argonne National Laboratory.
Students can also apply for The Walter P. Murphy Cooperative Engineering Education (Co-op) Program, which gives students up to 18 months of engineering experience in the industry while they continue to earn credits.
Job Placement Out of College: Northwestern's student outcomes tool functions a little differently than the others mentioned here so far.
It combines data from 2015 through 2018 and presents it together. Thus, 48% of the electrical engineering students who graduated during that span had jobs at graduation, with 5% still looking for one.
AT&T, Boeing, and Motorola were some of the companies that hired Northwestern engineering students. Also, data specific to 2018 showed that students in the engineering school earned an average starting salary of $75,420.
17. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Tuition: $14,480 (in-state) and $44,234 (out-of-state)
Research Opportunities: The engineering school has a Summer Research Internship Program that runs for ten weeks.
In addition, you can take part in the Engineering Psychiatry Research Program, which blends engineering with topics associated with mental health. The ECE Makerspace is a hands-on zone that facilitates prototyping. It includes a 3D printer, soldering stations, and other assets that may be of use to a student doing research.
Also, more than 150 companies are corporate affiliates of the engineering school. They assist by sponsoring research, engaging in consulting, and doing other purposeful things to help engineering students thrive.
Job Placement Out of College: Information about job placements and salaries from UCSD is both scarce and outdated.
For example, the most recent senior survey offered on the university's website is from 2015, and it only mentions how 63.8% of participants felt prepared for employment. It does not mention how many people had jobs by that point or what they would earn. However, data from Niche shows that 89% of UCSD graduates from all majors have jobs two years after graduation.
18. Yale University
Research Opportunities: Yale's engineering department offers a wide range of student opportunities, such as workshops and symposiums.
Also, a specific facility on the campus offers both summer fellowships and fellowships that are design-related throughout the year. Those selected as fellows may work as much as 40 hours per week on their projects and with fellow students from the engineering department and beyond.
There is a Yale chapter of Engineers Without Borders, too. Yale News reports that when participating in that program, engineering students apply their skills to solve real-world problems.
Job Placement Out of College: Yale's college outcome data shows that 75% of electrical engineering students from the class of 2019 were in paid, full-time positions within six months of graduating.
HawkEye 360, Inc., Johns Hopkins University, and the U.S. Air Force were the top three employers for that year. Also, the data reveals that the mean starting salary for all Yale graduates employed in the U.S was $68,472.
19. Pennsylvania State University
Tuition: $18,454 (in-state) and $34,858 (out-of-state)
Research Opportunities: The chances for you to engage in research as an undergraduate student at Penn State University are plentiful.
For example, the Applied Research Lab and Distinguished Undergraduate Research Program allow people to receive guidance from faculty members as they progress through research projects and get up to two years of support.
Electrical engineering scholars can also spend time in the Student Space Programs Laboratory, which has links to NASA. Moreover, engineering student seniors can apply for teaching internships that require partnering with a faculty member for about ten hours per week.
Penn State University's engineering program also has a large number of corporate partners, including Siemens and Rockwell Automation. Those companies get chances to sponsor student projects, provide job opportunities or review curriculums.
Job Placement Out of College: Penn State University's data from 2015 to 2016 indicates that 72.03% of people from all majors got full-time employment after graduation and 27.97% were looking for work.
Also, the largest percentage of employed students earned salaries ranging from $50,000 to $59,999. However, the institution only provides a bar graph and not an exact figure.
20. University of Pennsylvania
Research Opportunities: Students at the University of Pennsylvania who have their sights set on exciting and enriching summers can apply for Penn Summer. It offers more than 300 on-campus courses as well as online classes and study abroad trips.
There is also the more specific Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering program. It provides people with research assistant internships.
Scholars who are interested in other possibilities should also check out the list of research opportunities within the engineering department. Many of those programs occur in the summer for several weeks and see students collaborating with people who are earning physical science degrees.
The University of Pennsylvania has numerous corporate partners, too. They include Samsung, Qualcomm, and Intel, among others. Many of these brands sponsor student research.
Job Placement Out of College: The University of Pennsylvania's data gives details about undergraduates receiving engineering degrees from August 2018 to May 2019. It indicates that within up to six months of graduating, 72.1% had full-time employment and 3% of people were looking for work. The same source confirmed that the average starting salary was $99,079.
Preparing for an Electrical Engineering Education
Deciding where to attend college as an engineering student is not always straightforward, and it's not a choice to make lightly.
You'll undoubtedly rely on several sources while researching your options, likely including input from teachers, friends, and relatives. It's also useful to keep your overall career prospects in mind.
Do you have a passion for research? An eagerness to teach? A desire to spend part of your academic time getting to know industry partners?
MIT students preparing for their final electronics presentation. Image used courtesy of Gretchen Ertl from MIT
This list can help narrow down the possibilities.
As a final note, remember that your career may head in a new and unexpected direction based on what happens during your time at college. That happens often, so the ideal thing to do is keep an open mind and foster your curiosity for electrical engineering.
A Note On Information In This Article
Tuition data is the most recent available on a university's official website. Moreover, the estimated costs pertain to tuition alone. In most cases, universities discuss tuition as a separate cost before tacking on extras like fees, housing, and books.
They typically provide tuition cost calculators, too. Those are helpful since some universities have different prices depending on a student's number of credit hours and which program of study they chose. In instances when universities had different tuition costs per major, all figures here are for electrical engineering.
You'll also notice that some information about student outcomes is several years old. Rest assured that all the information here was the most recent material provided by the respective university itself.
Is there a college you would add to this list? If you're an EE graduate, what advice would you impart to a prospective student choosing a university in this field? Share your thoughts in the comments below.