Difference between Electrical Engineering and Electronics Engineering

Electrical engineering deals with the study of how to generate, transmit and utilize the electrical energy. Electronics engineering, on the other hand, deals with the study of how to control and switch the flow of electrical energy in a circuit. Go through this article to find out the other major differences between electrical and electronics engineering.

What is Electrical Engineering?

Electrical engineering is the branch of engineering which deals with the generation, transmission, distribution and utilization of electrical energy.

Electrical engineering is also concerned with study and design of electrical machines. The field of electrical engineering provides solutions for problems in various fields from telecommunications to space programs.

Basically, the electrical engineering is concerned with the large-scale operation of electrical power. Electrical engineering involves the study and application of electricity, electromagnetism and power electronics.

An electrical engineer studies about circuit analysis, power circuit design, power generation, transmission and distribution, electrical machines and power electronics, utilization of electricity and much more.

What is Electronics Engineering?

Electronics engineering is the field of engineering which deals with the utilization of electronic components such as transistors, diodes, integrated circuits, etc. to design electronic circuits.

Electronics engineering basically a sub-domain of electrical engineering. In general, the electronics engineering involves the set of electronic devices that work on small voltage levels and have ability to perform control and switching operations of electricity for a particular application.

Electronics engineer studies about analog electronics, digital electronics, power electronics, signals and systems, solid state devices, embedded systems, analog and digital communication systems, and much more.

Difference between Electrical and Electronics Engineering

The following table highlights the key differences between electrical engineering and electronics engineering.

ParameterElectrical EngineeringElectronics Engineering
DefinitionElectrical engineering is the branch of engineering which deals with the studies of power generation, transmission, distribution and utilization at high voltages.Electronics engineering is the field of engineering which deals with the utilization of electronic components such as diodes, transistors, etc. to design electronic circuits and systems.
Current flowIn electrical engineering, the electric current flows due to movement of electrons in a conductor. Basically, electrical engineering deals with the flow of electric current in the conductors only.In electronics engineering, the electric current is caused due to flow of electrons and holes. Electronics engineering deals with the flow of current semiconductors.
Function of deviceIn electrical engineering, the electrical devices produce and utilize the electrical energy.In electronics engineering, the electronic devices are mainly used for controlling and switching the electric power in the circuit.
Conducting materialIn electrical engineering, the conductors (or metals) such as copper, aluminium, etc. are used as the primary conducting material.In electronics engineering, only semiconductor materials such as silicon, germanium, etc. are used.
Voltage rangeElectrical engineering deals with high voltage ranges such as 220 volts in 1-phase, 440 volts in 3-phases at utilization end. It also uses higher voltages of the order of kV for generation, transmission and distribution purposes.Electronics engineering deals with the range of voltage in mV to few volts. The typical voltage ratings used in electronics are 5V, 12V and 24V, etc.
Type of currentAlternating current (AC) is used in electrical engineering.In electronics engineering, only direct current (DC) is used.
Main circuit componentsIn electrical engineering, the main circuit components used are passive components like resistors, inductors, capacitors, etc.Electronics engineering consists of active as well passive circuit components such as resistors, diodes, transistors, vacuum tubes, etc.
Power ratingIn electrical engineering, the function of the electrical system is to handle the large amount electrical power.Electronics engineering monitors and controls low electric power.
Device sizeThe electrical devices and equipment are large in size and thus require more space.Electronic devices are relatively smaller in size.
Data processingAn electrical system cannot manipulate and process the data.Electronic system has ability to manipulate and process the data.
Decision makingElectrical devices and systems cannot make decisions, i.e., they cannot perform logical operations.Electronic devices can be used to implement decision making systems.
Energy conversionIn electrical engineering, the energy available in any form can be converted into electrical energy (as in generation) and the electrical energy can be converted into other forms such as light motion, heat, etc.In electronics engineering, the electronic devices and systems only control and switch the electrical energy, and does not convert it into other forms.
Examples of devicesThe examples of electrical devices are alternators, generators, transformers, motors, circuit breakers, isolators, etc.The examples of electronic devices are diodes, transistors, SCRs, microprocessors, integrated circuits, logic gates, etc.


From the above discussion, we can conclude electrical and electronics are two different branches of engineering, where electrical engineering deals primarily with the generation and transmission of power while electronics engineering mostly deals with how various electronic components such as diodes and transistors are used in designing useful electronic circuits and systems.

Updated on: 01-Jun-2022

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