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Any electrical engineers?

  1. Nov 10, 2010 #1
    Hey all,

    I'm currently on my way to becoming an EE, I'm in my 2nd year and am in electromagnetism right now. I'm struggling with it a lot. I was wondering if anyone that has actually gotten their EE degree can give me some insight into their own path and if they struggled or not? With regards to my physics, the instructor is a genius but doesn't know how to relate to people and doesn't teach the material at all what I would consider a good level. The majority of people in my class are equally lost as I am but I don't have access to another instructor. It's really demoralizing to have sort of reached a barrier in my education, everything previously has been super easy, I've taken all the calculus, DFQ, C++, couple semesters of chemistry, but this physics roadblock is kicking me in the head. Any insight at all would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2010 #2
    MIT has videos of Prof. Walter Lewin's electromagnetics lectures. They are highly recommended. Let us know if a google search doesn't find them for you.
  4. Nov 10, 2010 #3


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    I am an EE, and yes, I struggled with some of the courses. For me the toughest subject was electronics - I never really "got it" although many of my classmates did. Just remember that learning is hard work - most of us must make a serious effort in order to really understand complicated things. If you never have to work hard to learn, then you are not being challenged enough!

    Professors of course can have a huge impact on understanding material, andif the prof. isn't doing it for you, do you have a TA for the course that may be more helpful? When I took electromagnetism as part of the intro physics sequence the professor was in the clouds, but the TA was phenomenal and I spent many hours in his office!

    I do have a question: Is this course part of an intro physics sequence, or is this an EE course (and if so, is intro physics a prereq.)?

    good luck,

  5. Nov 10, 2010 #4
    Same story for me.
    My Feild Theory and Electromagnetism prof teaches above your heads.
    What I have ended up doing is reading the material on my own; it seems to work well for me. If I come across a concept that I can't understand I google it.

    Invest into your own education and don't wait until your are taught everything.

    If your book sucks, go to the library and pick up another one. :/

    There are also lectures you could watch on youtube from MIT about this stuff; the problem with that is, sometimes the order in which things are done at my school is opposite that of MIT. So look at MIT lectures only confuses me.

    Honestly, what you are experiencing only gets worse in EE. I'm currently in my third year and right now all our labs are pretty much figure it out yourself. The worst one is Microprocessors! The prof expects us to know how to program assembly language when he has never written more than 6 lines of code in class :$. I am doing well at school but I have grown tired of this non-sence and can't wait to finish and leave EE for good.
  6. Nov 10, 2010 #5


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    I haven't met an EE who hasn't run into this problem. At the university I did my degree, its always the same 6 or so courses that people comment about, that suck because of the lecturers.

    Consider it a test of your resolve to suffer through things you can't change as preparation for dealing with management in the workplace :).
  7. Nov 11, 2010 #6
    I'm in final year EE and most of my classmates had problems with EMFT. Everyone has subjects that test one's resolve. I remember going nuts over DSP last sem. That's a paper I'm glad I got through.
  8. Nov 11, 2010 #7
    You are definitely not alone.

    For me, the most painful class was Electricity and Magnetism. I signed up for, and then dropped the class twice -- mainly because I didn't like the material. I finally committed to finishing the class on the 3rd try, but unfortunately for me a new professor came in that year who was much more difficult than the previous professor. To his credit, he was very enthusiastic about the material, but there was only one student in the class who shared his enthusiasm (and that student was working on his PhD in Physics, not an EE).

    The class average for the first test was 20, but the physics student got a 97. yeah, that was a rough class.

    As others have mentioned, go seek out extra help. Find online lectures, find other books. Talk to students who have already taken the class. good luck!
  9. Nov 11, 2010 #8
    The 3 e/m classes I took as a junior were very tough. At that stage in my education, it was difficult to mentally picture e/m theory. The best advice I can give is to accept the material as gospel, not trying to question it, then later in life when you delve deeper, you can try to understand it better.

    At the undergrad level, when you see it for the first time, you're better off accepting it instead of trying to logically understand it. It's too difficult. I gained a much better grasp of e/m fields after grad school (MSEE), when I worked for a fortune 50 corporation designing magnetic components such as xfmrs, inductors, passive filters, etc. I was forced to delve into the fields at a deep level.

    Believe me, e/m fields may seem a bit abstract, actually very abstract, but it helps the student in EE. Knowing e/m theory helps any EE do a better job. Even though most EEs are not working with antennae, generators/motors, xfmrs, MRI, etc., e/m gives the EE a solid understanding of the basics. Scaling semiconductors at the nanometer level involves e/m. Likewise semiconductor physics is fields intense.

    Learning e/m is imperitive. Without it, you cannot have a good enough undersanding of anything EE related. Stick it out, & it will pay off. I just completed my Ph.D. qualifier, mandatory for the EE doctorate. One third of the exam was e/m field theory. Without it I could not have advanced towards the Ph.D. degree.

    You struggle now, but later in life you will thank the uni administrators for making you take emft. Believe me, I know. Fields is a heavy burden at the time, but a great blessing from that point on.

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