Abstract: This paper presents an excitation controller design process for multimachine power systems with synchronous generators using an adaptive backstepping approach to ensure robust performance against parametric uncertainties as well as to improve the transient stability during large disturbances. In this work, electrical dynamics of synchronous generators are described using two‐axis models while excitations systems are represented as the IEEE Type II exciter which mainly captures electrical dynamics while swing equations are used to capture mechanical dynamics. The proposed adaptive backstepping control approach is then employed to derive the excitation control law. The proposed adaptive backstepping scheme uses all nonlinearities, which are mainly due to the interconnections and rotations of rotors in synchronous generators, within the dynamical models to improve the transient stability during severe disturbances. Furthermore, this excitation control scheme uses estimated values of parameters appearing in the dynamical models of power system which are estimated using adaptation laws based on real‐time measurements and hence, it provides robustness against parametric uncertainties. The theoretical stability of the proposed scheme is assessed using the Lyapunov stability theory, that is, by checking the negative definiteness or semi‐definiteness of the derivative of control Lyapunov functions (CLFs). Rigorous simulations are conducted on an IEEE 39‐bus 10‐machine test power system for evaluating the performance of the proposed scheme under different operating conditions. Simulation results clearly demonstrate the superiority of the adaptive backstepping excitation controller over existing nonlinear controllers including an existing adaptive backstepping excitation controller that is designed using the classical model of synchronous generators.