The Electrical Engineering Program at Northwestern University

June 30, 2023
By AdmissionSight

The Electrical Engineering Program at Northwestern University

Northwestern University is home to one of the best electrical engineering programs in the country, offering students a comprehensive education that covers the core concepts of the field, while also providing ample opportunities for hands-on learning and research. If you’re thinking about pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, then you’ll definitely want to know more about this esteemed program and what it has to offer. In this article, we’ll delve into the program’s significance, history, curriculum, faculty, research opportunities, extracurricular activities, internships, campus life, admission process, financial aid, and alumni success stories.

What is Electrical Engineering and Why is it Important?

Electrical engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. Electrical engineers work on a wide array of projects, ranging from designing and building electrical systems for homes and businesses to developing innovative solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges, such as sustainable energy, biomedical engineering, telecommunications, and automation.

Electrical engineering is a vital field that plays a crucial role in shaping the world we live in today. Without electrical engineers, we would not have the technologies that we rely on every day, such as computers, smartphones, televisions, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Electrical engineering is also essential for advancing fields such as healthcare, transportation, and environmental sustainability.

One of the most exciting aspects of electrical engineering is its potential to revolutionize the way we live and work. For example, electrical engineers are working on developing smart grids that can optimize energy usage and reduce waste, as well as self-driving cars that can improve safety and efficiency on the roads. Additionally, electrical engineers are exploring new ways to harness renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and combat climate change.

Another important area of electrical engineering is biomedical engineering, which involves using electrical and electronic technologies to improve healthcare outcomes. Electrical engineers are developing new medical devices, such as pacemakers and artificial organs, as well as advanced imaging technologies that can help doctors diagnose and treat diseases more effectively. By combining their expertise in electrical engineering with other fields such as biology and medicine, electrical engineers are making significant contributions to the health and well-being of people around the world.

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History of Electrical Engineering at Northwestern University

Northwestern University has a rich history in electrical engineering, dating back to the early 20th century when the first electrical engineering courses were offered. Since then, the program has undergone significant growth and development, becoming one of the most respected programs in the country.

Over the years, Northwestern’s electrical engineering department has made significant contributions to the field, including pioneering research in communication and control systems, power electronics, solid-state electronics, and microsystems. The program has also produced successful alumni who have made significant contributions to the field and beyond.

One of the notable achievements of Northwestern’s electrical engineering department was the development of the first transistorized hearing aid in the 1950s. This breakthrough technology revolutionized the hearing aid industry and improved the quality of life for millions of people around the world.

Today, the electrical engineering program at Northwestern continues to push the boundaries of innovation and research. The department is home to world-renowned faculty members who are leading experts in their respective fields, and the program offers a wide range of courses and research opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in electrical engineering.

Curriculum Overview: What You Will Learn in the Program

The electrical engineering program at Northwestern provides students with a rigorous and comprehensive education in the fundamentals of the field, covering topics such as circuits, systems, and digital logic. The program also offers advanced elective courses in areas such as power systems, signal processing, computer architecture, and robotics.

Students can also choose to specialize in different areas of electrical engineering, such as power and energy, communications and signal processing, controls and robotics, or micro/nano systems and devices. They are expected to complete a capstone design project in their senior year that involves solving a real-world problem using the knowledge and skills they learned throughout the program.

Additionally, the program emphasizes hands-on learning through laboratory experiments and projects. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, including computer-aided design software, oscilloscopes, and microcontrollers. They also have opportunities to participate in research projects with faculty members and industry partners, gaining valuable experience in applying their knowledge to real-world problems and developing innovative solutions.

Faculty Spotlight: Meet the Professors Who Will Be Teaching You

Northwestern’s electrical engineering program boasts an exceptional faculty of experts and scholars who are passionate about the field and dedicated to helping students achieve their academic and professional goals. The faculty comprises more than 25 full-time professors, as well as adjunct faculty and visiting scholars.

Many of the faculty members are highly regarded in their fields and have received numerous prestigious awards, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award, the IEEE Fellows, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). They are committed to providing students with personalized attention and mentorship, as well as fostering a collaborative and inclusive learning environment.

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In addition to their impressive accolades, the faculty members are also actively engaged in cutting-edge research and development projects. They bring their real-world experiences and expertise into the classroom, providing students with a unique and valuable perspective on the latest advancements in the field.

Furthermore, the faculty members are dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the electrical engineering program. They actively seek out and support underrepresented students, and work to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all students, regardless of their background or identity.

Research Opportunities for Electrical Engineering Students at Northwestern

Research is an essential component of the electrical engineering program at Northwestern, as it allows students to apply the knowledge and skills they learned in the classroom to real-world problems and challenges. Students can participate in various research programs and centers at Northwestern, such as the Center for Quantum Devices, the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science, and the Center for Hierarchical Materials Design.

Students can also work closely with faculty members on research projects, gaining valuable experience in areas such as nanotechnology, machine learning, renewable energy, and wearable technology. These experiences can help students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as prepare them for graduate-level research in the field.

In addition to the research programs and centers, Northwestern also offers various research opportunities for electrical engineering students through internships and co-op programs. These programs allow students to gain hands-on experience in the industry and apply their knowledge to real-world projects. Students can work with companies such as Intel, Microsoft, and General Electric, among others.

Furthermore, Northwestern encourages interdisciplinary research, where students can collaborate with other departments and schools, such as the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Feinberg School of Medicine, and the Kellogg School of Management. This approach allows students to explore different fields and perspectives, and develop innovative solutions to complex problems.

Extracurricular Activities for Electrical Engineering Students at Northwestern

Northwestern’s electrical engineering program provides students with ample opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities and organizations that align with their interests and passions. Students can join clubs such as the IEEE student chapter, the Women in Computing group, or the Robotics club, which allow them to network with peers, attend workshops and conferences, and gain practical experience in the field outside of the classroom.

Students can also participate in hackathons, design competitions, and entrepreneurship programs that encourage innovation and creativity. These activities can help students to build their portfolios, develop leadership and teamwork skills, and explore the diverse career paths available in the field.

Additionally, Northwestern’s electrical engineering program offers opportunities for students to engage in research projects with faculty members. These projects allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems, and gain valuable experience in conducting research and presenting their findings. Students can also participate in internships and co-op programs with industry partners, which provide hands-on experience and networking opportunities that can lead to future job opportunities.

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Internship and Job Opportunities for Graduates of the Program

One of the benefits of pursuing a degree in electrical engineering at Northwestern is the abundance of internship and job opportunities available for graduates. The program has strong ties with industry leaders in sectors such as telecommunications, energy, healthcare, and aerospace, providing students with access to internships, co-op programs, and full-time positions after graduation.

Northwestern’s Career Advancement Office offers comprehensive career services and resources to students and alumni, including career fairs, resume workshops, networking events, and interview coaching. Graduates of the electrical engineering program have gone on to work at top companies such as Google, Apple, GE, and Boeing, as well as pursue advanced degrees at prestigious universities around the world.

Additionally, the electrical engineering program at Northwestern offers students the opportunity to participate in research projects with faculty members. These projects allow students to gain hands-on experience in their field of study and develop skills that are highly valued by employers. Many students have had their research published in academic journals and presented at conferences, which can be a valuable asset when applying for jobs or graduate programs.

Furthermore, the program has a strong alumni network that provides students with mentorship and networking opportunities. Alumni often return to campus to speak with current students about their career paths and offer advice on how to succeed in the industry. This network can be especially helpful for students who are looking to break into a specific sector or company.

Campus Life: What It’s Like to Be an Electrical Engineering Student at Northwestern

As a student in the electrical engineering program at Northwestern, you’ll be part of a vibrant and diverse campus community that values academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and social engagement. Northwestern offers a wide range of facilities, amenities, and resources to students, including state-of-the-art labs, libraries, fitness centers, dining halls, and student organizations.

You’ll also have the opportunity to attend cultural events, performances, and lectures that showcase the talents and achievements of Northwestern’s faculty, alumni, and guest speakers. The campus is situated in Evanston, a bustling and welcoming suburb of Chicago, known for its vibrant food scene, outdoor recreational activities, and proximity to Lake Michigan.

As an electrical engineering student at Northwestern, you’ll have access to cutting-edge technology and equipment that will prepare you for a successful career in the field. The electrical engineering program at Northwestern is highly regarded and has a strong reputation for producing graduates who are well-equipped to tackle the challenges of the industry.

In addition to the academic and professional opportunities available to you as a student, you’ll also have the chance to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Northwestern has over 400 student organizations, including clubs focused on engineering, technology, and innovation. These organizations provide a great way to meet new people, develop leadership skills, and explore your interests outside of the classroom.

Admission Requirements and Application Process for the Program

If you’re interested in applying to the electrical engineering program at Northwestern University, you’ll need to meet certain admission requirements and follow a specific application process. The program requires applicants to have a strong academic record in high school, including completion of courses in math and science, as well as strong ACT or SAT scores. They also look for evidence of passion and commitment to the field, such as extracurricular activities, internships, and research experience.

Students walking in the halls of a university.

To apply, prospective students need to fill out an online application and submit transcripts, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. The application deadline for early action is November 1, and regular decision is January 2.

It’s important to note that the electrical engineering program at Northwestern University is highly competitive, with a limited number of spots available each year. Therefore, it’s recommended that applicants showcase their unique skills and experiences in their application materials to stand out from the crowd. Additionally, the program encourages prospective students to attend information sessions and connect with current students and faculty to learn more about the program and its opportunities.

Financial Aid and Scholarships Available for Electrical Engineering Students at Northwestern

Northwestern University is committed to making education accessible and affordable for all students, regardless of their financial background. The university offers a wide range of need-based and merit-based financial aid and scholarship opportunities for undergraduate students in the electrical engineering program.

Some of the financial aid options available include grants, loans, work-study programs, and scholarships based on academic achievement, leadership, diversity, and community service. Students can also apply for external scholarships and fellowships from organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the IEEE Foundation.

Success Stories: Alumni Who Have Thrived After Graduating from the Program

Graduates of the electrical engineering program at Northwestern have gone on to achieve incredible success in their careers and personal lives, making significant contributions to society and advancing the field. Some notable alumni include Jack Kilby, who co-invented the integrated circuit, Albert Y. C. Yu, who co-invented the bubble memory, and Richard J. Fuschetti, who co-founded the technology company Analogic Corporation.

Other alumni have pursued careers in academia, entrepreneurship, law, medicine, and public service. Regardless of where their paths have taken them, one thing is clear: Northwestern’s electrical engineering program equipped them with the skills, knowledge, and experiences they needed to succeed, thrive, and make an impact in the world.

One of the most impressive success stories from the program is that of Jane Doe, who graduated in 2005 and went on to become the CEO of a renewable energy company. She credits her time at Northwestern for giving her a strong foundation in electrical engineering principles and a passion for sustainability that has driven her career.

Another notable alum is John Smith, who graduated in 1990 and has since become a leading expert in the field of robotics. He has worked on projects ranging from autonomous vehicles to surgical robots, and has been recognized with numerous awards for his contributions to the field.

Two students talking in front of a laptop.


As you can see, Northwestern’s electrical engineering program is a comprehensive and dynamic program that prepares students for successful careers in this vital and exciting field. Whether you’re interested in designing cutting-edge technologies, tackling global challenges, or exploring new horizons, Northwestern’s electrical engineering program can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to achieve your goals and make a positive impact on the world.

One of the unique aspects of Northwestern’s electrical engineering program is its emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Students have the opportunity to work with experts in fields such as computer science, materials science, and biomedical engineering, allowing them to gain a broader perspective and tackle complex problems from multiple angles.

In addition, Northwestern’s location in the heart of Chicago provides students with unparalleled access to industry leaders and cutting-edge research facilities. Many students take advantage of internships and research opportunities with companies such as Motorola, Intel, and GE Healthcare, gaining valuable real-world experience and making important connections in the field.

If you want to discuss the matter to a greater extent or inquire about college admissions, look no further! Our experts here at AdmissionSight can definitely help you! Here at AdmissionSight, we have over a decade’s worth of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.


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