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Advice on transition from associates to bachelors

  1. Oct 2, 2014 #1
    Hello, I've been reading this forum off and on for a while now, and this is my first post.

    Background: I am 22 years old, and I've spent almost 4 years now at a community college obtaining an associates degree mainly because I didn't take high school seriously and placed very low math/reading/writing, along with working 30+ hrs every week since I have started college. My first college math class was a basic arithmetic course. I have since then surpassed ODE's and am about to obtain my associates in mathematics, and would like to transfer into a nearby state school for their ECE program.

    What I want to do with my ECE degree is either signal processing because of abstractness of it and the heavy use of math, or microelectronics because I feel that will be in demand a lot in the future because everyone is always trying to make stuff smaller and with the promising/future applications of graphene to make nano-technologies even better.

    this is the curriculum for the program I would like to transfer into


    *Note* the college I go to is a daughter school of Rowan University and all credits transfer over

    These are the courses I have taken so far that will be transferring into that program

    Calculus I
    Calculus II
    Calculus III
    Linear Algebra
    Ordinary Differential Equations
    General Chemistry I
    General Chemistry II
    Calculus based Classical Mechanics
    Calculus based Classical Electricity and Magnetism
    Public Speaking
    Art Appreciation
    College composition I
    College composition II
    Java programming
    *Note* I have also taken visual basic and discrete mathematics but they're aren't prevalent to the B.S. in ECE

    Associate Courses-------------------------are equivalent to------------------------------B.S. Courses
    {Calc I, Calc II, Calc III}-----------------------------------------------{Accelerated Calculus I, Accelerated Calculus II}
    {Linear Algebra, Ordinary Differential Equations}-------------------------{Math For Engineers I}
    {College Composition I}-----------------------------------------------------------{College Composition I}
    {College Composition II}----------------------------------------{College Composition II portion of Sophomore Clinic I}
    {Public Speaking}---------------------------------------------------{Public speaking portion of Sophomore Clinic II}
    {Art Appreciation}------------------------------------------------------------------{Art gen Ed. requirement}
    {Microeconomics}-------------------------------------------------{Microeconomics, 1/2 social science requirements}
    {Electricity & Magnetism}----------------------------------------------------------{Electricity & Magnetism}
    {Ethics}----------------------------------------------------------------{1/2 of humanities requirements and LIT requirement}
    {Philosophy}---------------------------------------------------------{1/2 of humanities requirements and M/G requirement}
    {Sociology}-----------------------------------------------------------------------------{1/2 of social science requirements}
    {Gen Chem I, Gen Chem II}-----------------------------------------------------{Advanced College Chem I}

    So outside of {Math for Engineers II}, which is, from what people have told me, a very shallow course on complex analysis and PDEs, I only have to take engineering courses, which would make obtaining my B.S. in ECE very easy because I'd have anywhere between 10-13 credits most semesters with the only heavy semesters being {senior I} with 15 credits and {sophomore II} with 17 credits.

    Now my dilemma is that I really really really have grown to like math and am thinking of double majoring it, especially if I go the route of focusing on signal processing. Which I think I could do because of the huge overly between a pure math degree and ECE degree, along with the fact that my course loads each semester are going to be so light. I essentially have half a math degree done, and almost half of the ECE degree done.

    Also, if I ever go to grad school its going to be for mathematics, no question about it.

    My other problem is if I go the microelectronics route, from what I have read, a heavy understanding of material science and or quantum mechanics is needed, so I may have to minor in physics/chemistry/chem eng

    Basically Idk what route to go, my options are

    1.) go into the ECE program, don't double or minor in anything and have a really easy time, being able to focus strictly on my engineering courses.

    2.) go into the ECE program, focus on signal processing and double in pure mathematics

    3.) go into the ECE program, focus on microelectronics, minor in physics/chemistry/chem engineering

    PS: I said earlier that I've been working 30+ hrs a week, but my financial situation will be different by next fall, for the first time in almost 5 years and I wont have to work so much, 20 hrs top

    thoughts? concerns? I hope I have presented with you enough information on my situation.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2014 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    That's a good community college!

    Actually, the community college in my city is very good, as well. By state law, all of the credits from our community college should transfer to any state college. A few (including, ironically, the state 4-year college in my city) find ways to weasel out of giving full credit. Some colleges seem to get really ticked at students that spend their money elsewhere - then want their college to give them credit for it.

    1 and 3 sound like the best options.

    Generally, if you're getting a bachelor's degree in engineering, there's a lot of advantage to getting a job as soon as possible after getting your bachelor's degree. You're getting into a field that changes fairly rapidly and your degree gets stale. Granted, your experience is going to be more important than your degree after a few years.

    However, getting a masters degree in engineering a few years down the road will "freshen up" your degree just around the time you have enough experience for a masters degree to really matter for the jobs you're pursuing.

    The drawback is that engineering programs are so packed full of material that no school can teach you every subject you really need and still be a four year major that probably takes at least five years to complete. If you have one specific area you want to focus on (which you do), then you have to be pretty lucky for that area to match exactly what your school focuses on for its bachelor degree.

    There's a good chance that at least part of what you want to learn is part of your school's master degree program. You probably have a few capstone courses that are more individual study where you have a large say in what you're working on. Choosing something from their masters program to study and getting one of the professors from the master's program to mentor you is one good way to supplement the material in your bachelor's degree (and something to show a potential employer that you have at least a little hands-on experience in the field you're interested in).

    Or, as in your case, get a minor that supplements the material in your bachelor's program that shows you know more about your employer's field than the average guy just out of college.
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