Difference between Electrical and Electronics Engineering

Difference between Electrical and Electronics Engineering

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Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Nov 29, 2023 07:29 IST

Electrical engineering is an engineering branch that focuses on the generation, transmission, as well as distribution of electrical power. On the other hand, electronics engineering centers on design and development of electronic devices, circuits, and systems.


Electrical and electronics are often mistakenly used in place of each other. However, the two terms have different meanings. Let us understand the difference between electrical and electronics in detail in this article. 

Table of Contents

Difference between Electrical and Electronics Engineering

Criteria Electrical Electronics
Scope Study of electricity, electromagnetism, and large-scale power production and distribution. Study, design, and application of electronic circuits and devices.
Applications Heavy machinery, power generation systems, transformers, electric motors, power circuits, high-voltage transmission lines. Devices like transistors, diodes, integrated circuits, radios, TVs, computers.
Scale Macroscopic; high voltages and currents. Microscopic; low voltages and currents.
Nature of Current Primarily alternating current (AC). Direct current (DC) systems also included. Primarily direct current (DC).
Components Transformers, generators, motors, power lines, circuit breakers. Resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors, integrated circuits.
Fields of Study Power engineering, control systems, electromagnetism. Digital electronics, analog electronics, microelectronics, optoelectronics.

Let us now understand the difference between the two in a little more detail:


What is Electrical Engineering?

This field of engineering deals with the study of electricity, its equipment, devices and systems. On a broader level, it deals with the study of how electrical power is used for producing electrical energy and how its function can be regulated. This branch of engineering deals with the manipulation of electrical and electromagnetic phenomena to create useful products. 

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Who can pursue electrical engineering?

One can pursue electrical engineering in the following manner:

  • After 10th: One can pursue a diploma for a period of 3 years.
  • After 12th: One must have scored at least 50% marks in PCM/PCMB in aggregate from a recognized university. 

Subjects in Electrical Engineering

Subjects Topics
Circuit Theory Basic Circuit Elements (Resistors, Capacitors, Inductors)
Kirchhoff’s Laws
AC and DC
Circuit Analysis
Transient Analysis
Electromagnetic Fields and Waves Maxwell’s Equations
Electromagnetic Wave Propagation
Transmission Lines
Digital Logic Design Boolean Algebra
Logic Gates and Circuits
Sequential Logic (Flip-Flops, Counters)
Digital System Design
Analog Electronics Diodes and Transistors
Power Systems Power Generation and Transmission
Power Electronics (Converters, Inverters)
Electric Machines (Motors and Generators)
Control Systems Transfer Functions
Feedback Control
Stability Analysis
PID Controllers
Signal Processing Analog and Digital
Signal Processing
Fourier and Laplace Transforms
Filters and Systems
Sampling Theory
Communication Systems Modulation and Demodulation
Digital Communication
Wireless Communication
Information Theory
Microelectronics and Integrated Circuits Semiconductor Physics
VLSI Design
Fabrication Techniques
Instrumentation and Measurement Sensors and Transducers
Measurement Techniques
Data Acquisition Systems

Similarities between Electrical and Electronics Engineering

  1. Foundational Principles: Both fields are rooted in the principles of electricity and electromagnetism. They both deal with the behavior and effects of electrons and electric charges.
  2. Mathematics and Physics: Both disciplines require a strong foundation in mathematics (especially calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra) and physics (particularly electromagnetism).
  3. Circuit Analysis: Both fields study the design and analysis of electrical circuits, whether they are simple resistive circuits, complex integrated circuits, or power distribution networks.
  4. Components: Both electrical and electronics engineers work with basic components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, and transistors.
  5. Systems Approach: Engineers in both fields often adopt a systems approach, looking at how individual components interact within a larger system, whether it’s a power grid or a communication device.
  6. Control Systems: Both fields study control systems, which are used to regulate and control various processes and systems, from large-scale power plants to tiny electronic devices.
  7. Signal Processing: While electronics engineering might delve deeper into digital signal processing, both fields deal with the concepts of signals, systems, and the various methods to process and analyze them.
  8. Software Usage: Both electrical and electronics engineers use similar software tools for design, simulation, and analysis, such as MATLAB, Simulink, and various CAD tools.
  9. Overlap in Job Roles: In the professional world, the roles of electrical and electronics engineers often overlap. For instance, both might work on the design and testing of a new electronic product.
  10. Education: Electrical and electronics engineering programs often share core courses, especially in the early years of study. Students might study both fields before specializing.
  11. Safety and Standards: Engineers in both disciplines must adhere to safety standards and regulations when designing and implementing systems, given the potential hazards associated with electricity.
  12. Research and Development: Both fields are at the forefront of technological advancements, with continuous research and development efforts driving innovations in areas like renewable energy, communication technologies, and automation.

What is electronics engineering?

Electronic Engineering is a sub-discipline of electrical engineering. This branch of engineering majorly focuses on the study, design and application of devices, electronic circuits and systems. Its primary focus is dealing with the effects and behaviour of electrons for developing devices, components, equipment and systems. 

Who can pursue electronics engineering?

One can pursue electrical engineering in the following manner:

  • After 10th: One can pursue a diploma for a period of 3 years. Mathematics and Science are compulsory subjects.
  • After 12th: One must have scored at least 50% marks with Physics and Mathematics as compulsory subjects. 

Subjects in Electronics Engineering

Subjects Topics
Basic Electronics Introduction to electronic components
Analog and digital circuits
Basic electronic principles
Digital Electronics Study of digital circuits
Logic gates
Digital design
Analog Electronics Analysis and design of analogue circuits
Operational amplifiers
Microprocessors and Microcontrollers Microprocessor architecture
Assembly language programming
Electronic Devices and Circuits Semiconductor Devices
FETs and their applications in circuits
Communication Systems Basics of analog and digital communication
Modulation techniques
Transmission and reception
Signal Processing Analog and digital signal processing techniques
Fourier and Laplace transforms
VLSI Design Very-Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) design
CMOS technology
Digital integrated circuit design
Embedded Systems Design and development of embedded systems using microcontrollers and FPGAs
RF and Microwave Engineering High-frequency circuits
Wave propagation
Microwave Components
Control Systems Automatic control principles
Feedback systems
Control techniques
Optoelectronics Devices that interact with light, including LEDs, photodiodes, and lasers.
Power Electronics Design and analysis of converters, inverters, and drives.
Computer Architecture and Organization Computer hardware
CPU design
Memory systems
Robotics and Automation Robotics
Automation systems
Integrated Circuit Design Design and analysis of analog and digital ICs.
Electromagnetic Theory Electromagnetic fields
About the Author
Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio