Abstract In this paper, a unified approach to the design of a nonlinear excitation controller/power system stabilizer for a synchronous generator/infinite bus power system is presented. The approach is based on a form of state feedback linearization, known as input–output feedback linearization, which provides an exact semi-global state transformation that is valid for a large class of operating points of the power system. With this transformation, the terminal voltage becomes a linear function of the control input. The excitation controller/power system stabilizer is then synthesized by using linear controller design techniques. The controller is proven to provide small signal stability and to provide local asymptotic tracking of admissible constant reference signals for a large class of operating points. A procedure is given to tune the controller gains to provide significant damping of the power angle oscillations.