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Electrical engineer in a high voltage electricity supply areaElectrical engineer in a high voltage electricity supply area

What is Electrical and Electronic Engineering?

Engineering is one of the most popular – and useful – degrees you can get from university. But there are a number of different types of engineering, and it can be hard to decide what’s best to study.

Two of the most common types are Electrical Engineering and Electronic Engineering. Academically, they are often grouped together as a single discipline or degree. This article aims to answer the question: ‘what is Electrical and Electronic Engineering?’ 

An electrifying past

Electrical and Electronic Engineering, as the name suggests, is largely focused on engineering relating to electricity. This means it is one of the most modern forms of engineering.

Its history can be traced back to the 17th century. The English physicist William Gilbert was an early pioneer in the field, and would later be regarded as the ‘father of electrical engineering’.

Study of electricity continued over the years, and intensified in the 19th century. Francis Ronalds, possibly the world’s first electrical engineer, contributed enormously to the field by inventing the first electric telegraph system in 1816.

Figures such as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky also had an impact, and by the 20th century the world has been transformed by inventions like submarine cables, land-lines and wireless telegraphy.

This incredible change also led to the birth of Electronic Engineering, which largely sprang from the telegraph industry, and later technology such as radar and televisions. Electronic Engineering focuses on electronic circuit and device design, and is an important part of computing, robotics and telecommunications.

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Electrical engineer testing electrical installations and wirings

Why study an Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree?

A degree in this field, whether Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering or a combination of the two, will give you a fascinating insight into how electrical devices and technology works. It’s not difficult to see how, in a future that will likely be full of new electric technologies, this can be an incredibly valuable degree.

Your degree studies will give you a strong technical knowledge in a variety of areas, which could include electronics, signal processing, power engineering, mechatronics and engineering management. Alongside theoretical learning, there will typically be a lot of hands-on, practical learning to ensure that you’re prepared for engineering work when you graduate.

With a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, you’ll have many career options. What you choose depends on what most interests you. You could consider working in aerospace, telecommunications, robotics, broadcasting, computer engineering, nuclear engineering or system analytics.

Whichever industry you choose to work in, you can earn a good salary as an electrical or electronic engineer, especially if you become a chartered engineer. Professionals in the field are always in demand in the modern world, so it’s highly likely that there will be many job opportunities when you graduate.

You’ll also have an exciting future to look forward to, with new electronic systems constantly being developed, and technology such as robots and smartphones becoming ever advanced. You might even end up working on projects related to space flight and exploration!

Where can I study Electrical and Electronic Engineering?

If you’re interested in taking a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, you have a number of university options with Kaplan Pathways. Many of our partner universities in the UK and USA offer progression to degrees in this field.

You can take a pathway course to prepare you for studying abroad, or apply for direct admission to an Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree. Follow the links below to find out where you can study.

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