Fall 2019: Popular Research Universities for MS in EE

The fact that the United States of America (USA) is right at the center of scientific research and innovation happening world over, is common knowledge. The contribution of graduate and doctoral students in American universities has been immense in such research.

Speaking particularly about the field of Electrical Engineering in the US, it is interesting to observe that more than half of the graduate students there are international students.

MS in EE is also a program that paves the way for good employment opportunities. Companies like Schneider Electric, Siemens, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and IBM among others are known to be popular employers of graduates.   

It is no surprise then that the popularity of the MS program in EE in the US and the enormous amount of infrastructural and economic resources available with various research centers in the universities, has ensured a diverse and lively scenario in research in this field of study.

What Are Some of the Most Popular Research Areas for MS in EE?

The scope of research specializations that fall under the branch of EE for graduate doctoral students in the US is very vast.

Broadly speaking, we have:

  1. Communications – This field encompasses the design of Information Systems, Computer Networking, Satellite Systems, and the like. Digital Signal Processing is a subsection of this research area that is presently very popular due to its increasing relevance in our modern day life.
  2. Control Systems – This field is popular because it helps form a good foundation for those interested in the field of robotics. It is important to note here that research in Robotics can also be related to Industrial or Mechanical Engineering. Research under EE, covers only one part of the vast scope of study possible in Robotics.  
  3. Electromagnetics – This covers Microwave Engineering, Antenna Engineering, and the like. Remote Sensing is a popular research specialization in this area. 
  4. Electronic Design – Electronics and EE have many interconnections and overlaps in the application as well as in the study. VLSI, use of semiconductors in complex circuits, comes under this field. Nanoelectronics and Power Electronics are trending research topics in this area of study.

Do note, this is only one way of classifying the various research specializations. There are several interdisciplinary research topics and many universities have their own way of clubbing various specializations into broader research areas.

If you are planning to pursue graduate studies abroad, you definitely need to know what is buzzing in your field of interest as the programs abroad are far more research-oriented than anything you will find closer to home.

Within the field of EE, areas of Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, Biomedical, Energy, and Mobile Networking are quite popular research interests in the top universities for the program.


Top Schools for MS in EE & Their Research Areas

Below is a list of some of the most popular universities for EE research with links to sources that can give you a broad idea on how they have designed their research initiatives.

#1: MIT, Cambridge, MA



Key Highlights:

They focus on the intersection between EE and CS in their research endeavors.

They cover topics like:

  • Artificial Intelligence;
  • Network Science;
  • Physical Science Device and Nanotechnology

Ongoing Research:

Prof. Antonio Torralba heads the newly-launched MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab,  where Principal Investigators and IBM Staff collaborate to roll out projects.

This will have good research prospects in the coming year for graduates and doctoral students.

Prof Luca Daniel is working on Silicon Photonics and Human Cardiovascular Systems among others.

[Link]: Research Areas – EECS at MIT


#2: Stanford University, Stanford, CA



Key Highlights:

Popular in new-age research topics such as Energy and Biomedical Engineering

Ongoing Research:

Has an active team working in Energy and Environment under Prof. James Harris, Prof. Bruce Clemens, Prof. Stacy Bent, & Prof. Zhenan Bao.

[Link]: Research Areas Stanford

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#3: University of California, Berkeley, CA



Key Highlights:

Has interesting work in education under EE, specifically related to the use of computing devices in education.

Ongoing Research:

Communication and Networking Group has research focusing on Wireless Networks, Network Design & its implementation.

Prof. Venkat Anantharam coordinates this group, headed by Prof. Ananth Sahai, Kannan Ramchandran, and Jean Walrand, among others.

[Link]: Research Areas UC Berkeley


#4: California Institute of Technology


Key Highlights:

Renowned for research in Robotics.

Ongoing Research:

Prof. Pietro Perona is actively involved in the Robotics Research. He works on visual recognition and categorization with Prof. Anderson and Prof. Dickinson.

[Link]: Research Areas – CalTech


#5: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign



Key Highlights:

The research options are varied and they are known for their research in Computer Engineering.

Ongoing Research:

The field of Computing Systems – Hardware and Software have the involvement of Research Prof. Janak H. Patel (hardware systems) and Research Associate Prof. Daniel S. Hatz.

[Link]: Research Areas University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

* The above details are assimilated from university websites. You are advised to connect with the professors and relevant departments to know more about their ongoing active projects.

While those are the top universities that offer a vibrant research environment, there are other universities that are not featured in terms of ranking, but have good research opportunities for graduate students.

One way of identifying such universities is by geographically assessing them. Locations that boast of robust industries in the field of EE, will not only mean huge employment possibilities but also increase the possibilities of universities with research in that domain, apart from good industrial partnerships, thanks to the investment from the industry.

[Read]: How to Research & Shortlist Universities, Like Admission Experts

Understandably, gaining admission into a program that paves the way for you to engage in research projects related to popular specializations will be a very competitive process.

Here are a few things you can do to gain an admission into top colleges offering cutting-edge research:

  1. Choose your specialization early. The sooner you gain clarity on the area of research that you prefer, the earlier you can start selecting the right universities, understanding their admission requirements, and building your profile appropriately.
  2. Gain relevant practical experience. You must expose yourself to relevant research opportunities in your undergraduate studies and work experience (if any). Having a good number of projects under your belt won’t do you much good, if they are not related to the courses and specializations you are opting for.
  3. Have paper publications and presentations. As writing is a key aspect of research initiatives, publications and presentations of your research experiences are a definite add-on to your application, as they also convey your past research experience.
  4. Ensure good scores. The top universities are known to have high GRE and GPA requirements, even though the selection is not made exclusively on these grounds. A good Quantitative score (above 160), as well as a good AWA score, will help you a lot.
  5. Network with professors. You can contact professors who are working in the field of your choice to know more about their ongoing projects. This information can be presented in your SOP to make it more convincing and attractive for admissions.

Working with cutting-edge technology on hot research topics will not only be a great learning experience, but also a window to great career options for international students. But, to be able to capitalize such opportunities, you need to match your profile and research experience to your future goals. You must convey your genuine academic inclinations to the university through your applications and supporting documents.

Though this task is research-intensive and very complex; it is the foundation upon which you need to build your admission plan.

Hence, the sooner you get started, the more planned and effective your admission process will be.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get cracking right away!

If you have any doubts regarding specific universities, do comment below & we’ll get back to you!

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10 Responses

  1. Tamizh says:

    Thank you this kind listing.

  2. praneeth says:

    Can i know which university is good for vlsi digital design

    • Shruti Ganesh says:

      Hi Praneeth,

      The best research for VLSI is happening in the US currently.

      Some of the best universities for VLSI are:
      1. Cornell University – Known for advanced research in nanoscience & nanofabrication.

      2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – Specialties include Analog Circuits, Data converters
      Digital circuits, Energy harvesting, Hardware DSP implementation, Low power circuits, RF circuits, Sensing systems

      3. University of California, San Diego – Have a specific VLSI CAD Lab under Prof Andrew Kahng; research focus includes cost-effective design for networking, bioinformatics etc.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

      If you’re looking for expert assistance in applying to these universities, just schedule a call with our experts here & we’ll get back to you!

  3. Arthi says:

    which are the universities good for VLSI in terms of job opportunities for a GRE of 309, TOEFL of 101 and CGPA of 8.26?

  4. shyam says:

    Kindly let me know which are the good universities i can apply for Communications and signal processing in US for a GRE score of 313 V 152 Q 161 AWA 3.5
    TOEFL 100 and CGPA 8.4

  5. Nabby says:

    Can you please suggest me which universities are good for Electric Vehicles(EV) in USA & Canada?

  6. Neerav kaushal says:

    as electronics and communication is a vast branch ..which all programs are most sought after to apply and do my masters in a gre centric university ?Excluding power electronics and embedded systems, i am open to all suggestions.

  7. Mundlamuri Rakesh says:

    can you please suggest me some good universities for ms in EE in USA for signal processing and communication or research in graph signal processing with cgpa: 7.51 GRE: 306 – Q-160,V-146,AWA-3.0 and IELTS:7.0
    thank you in advance.

  8. KIRAN says:

    I want to do my masters .Is their any possibulity of taking “electronics and computers” as a combo in US? if yes, can u provide me the list of the universities ?

  9. Anna says:

    Can you tell me, which universities in top 20 are good for electromagnetic/RF microwave Engineering?

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