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BS Physics - MSEE

  1. Oct 6, 2008 #1
    Hi guys,

    I've been taking graduate EE courses. Must say I have been spending a lot of time in other textbooks and glossaries trying to fill in my blanks in probability theory, and still very very foggy on some core EE principles, namely fourier analysis. I have purchased a book on signals and systems that I intend to go over, and I also would like to learn circuitry and understand that better. It's amazing to me when we go back to wave propagation with Maxwell how back at home I feel as a physics guy, but as as soon as we get into Impedance and then log-normal I'm a fish out of water.

    Any advice on some core classes/ textbooks to brush up on so that way I truly feel as though I am mastering Electrical Engineering.

    Thanks guys!


    Why does a single pulse in time spread over time when sent over a band-limited channel?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome, Nick. It might be best if you asked your advisor about this, and clearly laid out what your MSEE specialty goals are. He/She should be able to help you map out what prerequisites you should probably self-study or take, in order to be able to better understand your grad MSEE courses.

    What specialties are you interested in for your MSEE?
  4. Oct 6, 2008 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    I think the short answer would be dispersion (different prop velocities for different frequencies). To be finite in the time domain, the pulse has a spread of component frequencies.
  5. Oct 7, 2008 #4
    Thanks for the reply. I would but I do not have an advisor right now. I've been taking the courses online while working in hopes of getting accepted into the program full-time, that way I could have an advisor, financial aid, etc. all those good things.

    I think I'd like to specialize in wireless systems or telecommunications.
  6. Oct 9, 2008 #5


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    i might suggest that you get down tight the concepts in Linear System Theory (a.k.a. "Signals and Systems"). it's pretty clean, mathematically, and can be presented and learned in a systematic and rigorous manner.

    both for continuous-time and discrete-time systems.

    this stuff is prerequisite for so many other EE disciplines (communications, control systems, distributed networks a.k.a. transmission lines, linear electric circuits, electronics, filters, analog signal processing, and DSP) that it's really pivotal to get this down. any Physics or Math grad (who was good at their physics and math) who gets the Linear System Theory down is in an excellent position to take on EE grad courses in a variety of specializations.
  7. Oct 11, 2008 #6
    i can't say that i ever had a course that was specifically about Fourier Analysis (Stanford has a free online self-study course for this, btw, with a nice-looking text by Brad Osgood). we did, however, cover DFTs/FFTs in a DSP course. but otherwise, the frequency domain via fourier/laplace transform is the bread and butter of the profession. you could start with a simple linear circuits course if you are completely unfamiliar with circuitry. it should be all linear devices, coils/capacitors/resistors, and if you're lucky extend to mechanical analogs of this. here, you should get the intro to frequency domain representation of these devices. then, i'd suggest an undergraduate course on Control Systems, so that you get a good grasp on the use of transfer functions in the frequency domain, and get a chance to familiarize/memorize common transforms and the algebraic methods to manipulate them. that should be a good base for what you'll encounter.

    i have mixed feelings about my experience with the electronics coursework. we spent a huge amount of time designing BJT amplifiers, which is about as useful as rolling a stone up a hill over and over, only to see it roll down again. people just buy a good op-amp instead and leave that stuff to the pros. maybe different in radio, i dunno, radio wasn't our strong point. but if you're into that, it will certainly give you quite a bit of practice looking at impedance in freq. domain.

    and at some point, you'll need a good course in discrete time systems and use of the z-domain.
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