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Applied Mathematics and Electrical Engineering

  1. Dec 4, 2014 #1
    Hi, I posted a thread a while back about a problem I had in a class, it has resolved itself fortunately but now I have another question.

    I am an undergraduate mathematics major and I initially planed to go to(and likely will go to) graduate school in applied mathematics.

    I have always had a passing interest in Electrical Engineering but I decided not to pursue it for a number of reasons.

    My question is, would it be difficult to integrate EE into an applied mathematics Masters or PhD degree? To what extent could I pick up EE classes during my graduate studies, to what extent do I need to know EE before going into it?

    Also I think I would like an industry job, while I wont have a degree in EE explicitly, do you think it would be difficult to get hired in industry related to this field?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2014 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    Do you tinker with electronics? - build simple devices? I'm not an EE, but I'd say don't count on your mathematical training making undergraduate EE courses easy. If you already understand circuit analysis and PAL programming, it woud nice to get official credit for those skills by taking the courses. If you don't aleady have those skills, the courses would be real work.

    In a graduate program on one major, you'll have a hard time getting permission to take undergraduate degrees in a another major for any sort of credit and if you are getting financial support, it probably won't pay for them. You might find "interdisciplinary" graduate programs that encourage taking courses in a variety of disciplines. Some of them take undergraduate material and give the course a graduate level designation to get around the funding problem. of paying for a graduate student to be introduced to a field he hasn't studied.
     
  4. Dec 4, 2014 #3
    As an undergraduate I probably would only officially take a circuit analysis sequence and maybe one on semiconductors. In terms of graduate program integration I was thinking of something involving signal processing or something else interesting.

    I do tinker with electronics, made robots using PIC microcontrollers, etc so it is not completely foreign to me.
     
  5. Dec 6, 2014 #4
    "My question is, would it be difficult to integrate EE into an applied mathematics Masters or PhD degree?"

    That depends on what area of applied math you are interested in. Signal Processing is mostly math so yes it could easily be integrated into a math degree. Other topics like FPGA design...probably not very easily.

    "To what extent could I pick up EE classes during my graduate studies, to what extent do I need to know EE before going into it?"

    It would be wise to take a few courses in EE before you became a graduate student. However you could pick it up most of it easily over the summer before graduate school. I would suggest courses in circuit theory and signals & systems at minimum. Perhaps a course in random signals might be advisable. There will be alot of overlap with your math curriculum as they are basically just applied DE, Integral Transforms and Probability & Statistics. But it would be good to see these things from a EE perspective. Other than that you probably don't need much else. This assumes you have a sufficient background in Analysis (real, complex, numerical) and the Algebra (abstract and linear).

    "Also I think I would like an industry job, while I wont have a degree in EE explicitly, do you think it would be difficult to get hired in industry related to this field?"

    That depends on who you know (and to some extent what you know). Ask yourself this question: Why would a company hire me to do X when there are people graduating with graduate degrees specializing in X? This is the cruel fact of life which you must face. If you want to be an EE specializing in Signal Processing then go to EE grad school. If you want to become a Mathematician specializing in Signal Processing then find a strong grad program for this (with a good advisor).
     
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