PhD in Electronics

You can acquire high-level skills and knowledge in electronics through a Ph.D. program in electrical engineering. Review the prerequisites for admission to a Ph.D. program, and explore the typical curriculum. Read about job options in electronics, and check salary potential. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Electronics Ph.D. Programs Can I Enroll In?

If you're looking for a doctorate in electronics, you'll need to enroll in a program that awards a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. Some students choose to earn their Doctor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering instead, although these programs are less common. A Ph.D. program is more appropriate for a career in research or teaching, while a Doctor of Engineering program is more focused on advanced engineering practice. Neither of these degrees can be earned online due to extensive research and laboratory requirements.

Degree Options Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Doctor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering
Prerequisites Bachelor's or master's degree in electronics, electrical engineering or computer engineering; remedial courses may be necessary
Degree Requirements Take and pass a qualifying exam, submit a plan for completion of courses and dissertation work, pass a candidacy exam, complete a dissertation
Common Courses Medical instrumentation, satellite communications, communication theory, speech signals, quantum electronics
Median Annual Wage (2014) $130,620 (for architectural and engineering managers)*
Job Outlook 2% increase between 2014-2024 (for architectural and engineering managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

You'll need to earn a Bachelor of Science or a master's degree in electronics, electrical engineering or computer engineering before you enroll in a doctoral program. If your undergraduate or master's degree is in another field, you'll have to take remedial courses before working toward a doctorate. Remedial coursework may cover electronic circuitry, signals processing, electromagnetic theory, computer programming and software development.

How Does a Ph.D. Program Work?

Before official acceptance into a Ph.D. program, you'll take the Doctoral Qualifying Exam. This exam will be taken during the second semester if you have a master's degree or during the third semester if you're currently working toward your master's degree. After passing the exam, you'll submit a plan detailing how you'll complete required Ph.D. courses and thesis work.

You'll also need to take and pass a candidacy exam, after which you'll submit a dissertation proposal. Your dissertation should address some observed problem that needs to be solved in the electronics engineering industry. You'll also need to submit related literature and evidence supporting the likelihood of your success in solving that problem. A doctorate will be awarded after you complete coursework, finish your dissertation and defend it before a doctoral review committee.

What Can I Learn as a Doctoral Student?

Depending upon your concentration and the type of program you enroll in, coursework and research for your thesis can cover a variety of topics. These topics can include biomedical systems, communications, robotics, systems analysis, signals processing and electromagnetism.

The type of study you complete will be determined by your concentration, which can be in electrical engineering, computer graphics, computer systems, communications or another area. Depending upon your concentration, you can also learn about:

  • Satellite communications
  • Communication theory
  • Medical instrumentation
  • Digital signal filters
  • Speech signals
  • Quantum electronics

How Can I Use My Degree?

Careers you might consider after earning your Ph.D. include engineering manager and college instructor. As an engineering manager, you can use your electronics skills to explain natural phenomena, direct research teams and develop new technology products based on existing research. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that architectural and engineering managers had median earnings of $130,620 during 2014 ( The BLS also reported that demand for architectural and engineering managers will increase by two percent during the 2014-2024 decade.

According to the BLS, the median earnings of college instructors who taught engineering classes in 2014 were $94,130. In addition, demand for postsecondary teachers will increase by 13% between 2014 and 2024 due to the overall rise in student population.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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