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Electrical engineers design and improve electrical systems be they in automobiles, heavy machinery, computers, medical equipment and buildings, just to name a few. To become an electrical engineer you require at least a college degree. Advanced degrees provide additional training in specialized areas or qualify those without a first degree in engineering but with the appropriate background to become electrical engineers. Those interested in leading their own research projects or in academia can pursue a doctorate degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 301,500 electrical and electronics engineers in the U.S. in 2008, with electrical engineers earning an average annual salary of about $85,000. The occupational outlook for electrical engineers is expected to remain more or less the same through 2018.
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Top Electrical Engineering Graduate Schools
U.S. News and World Reports, which compiles rankings of college and graduate programs, ranks 145 electrical/electronic/communications engineering graduate programs in the United States. These schools confer bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees. This compilation is a good place to start when searching for top schools in masters of electrical engineering. The following are the magazine's rankings of the top 10 electrical and electronic engineering schools in the U.S.:
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 5.0
2. Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 4.9
2. University of California--Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 4.9
4. University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 4.7
5. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 4.6
6. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 4.5
7. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, 4.4
7. University of Michigan--Ann Arbor Ann, Arbor, MI, 4.4
9. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 4.2
9. University of Texas--Austin (Cockrell), Austin, TX, 4.2
The number after the school name and city corresponds to the particular program's score on the ranking system.
Gradschools.com, an online graduate school directory that has information on all graduate programs in the U.S. and many abroad, puts the number of on-campus masters in electrical engineering programs in the U.S. at 335.
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Looking Beyond Popular Rankings
While popular rankings like the one above may be useful in your graduate program search, they should not be the sole determinants of how you arrive at the graduate school of your choice. Other factors such as geography, your particular research interests, family and health concerns, the kind of support available at the school and or program, may all play a part in your decision. There is also the feel factor which cannot be quantified and depends on each individual. It is your gut feel about a particular program or school based on all the information you have and when you visit.
To this end, Phds.org a website that compiles information on graduate programs advises that you create your own graduate school ranking based on factors that are important to you. Taking all of the aforementioned into consideration, hopefully you'll be able to arrive at the best program for you.