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College questions, electrical engineering questions, and more

  1. Sep 1, 2010 #1
    Hi, I'm currently 16 and am very passionate towards electricity, always have been for a few years been focused on becoming an electrical engineer. Though I have hit a bit of a wall, I also found my self really getting into particles, and plasma.

    Right now I am in a electrical engineering program formed by my school district.
    Last year I took a electrical trades program to get a better grasp on AC electricity (we pretty much just wired houses all year)
    and I just recently got my comptia A+ certification..
    I also know some C++ and ASM programing

    So these are my questions..
    Is the colorado school of mines a good place to get a bachelors in electrical engineering?

    Also I heard you could get a bachelors in one subject a masters in a different and doctorate in another, is this true? If so please tell me any restrictions and how it is done

    assuming the above question is true, after getting a bachelors in Electrical engineering what would be a good masters/doctorate for a plasma/particle enthusiast? (I know plasma does have a bit to do with electricity. but I'm not sure if it would be covered in electrical engineering.. )

    Thank you for reading, Ilyo
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2010 #2
    not sure if this is to soon for a bump.. but well bump
  4. Sep 2, 2010 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes, it's too soon. It's less than 5-1/2 hours.
  5. Sep 2, 2010 #4
    I've heard the Colorado School of Mines is a good school for engineering degrees, but perhaps a better way to find out if it's the right school for you is to go look at their website, class offerings, research areas, etc. and see if it is what you're interested in.

    Yes, you can do your BS in one area and your MS/PhD in another. To do this you would just apply the normal way, but you might have to take some extra classes while in grad school. However, it's not usually ideal to get your BS in one area when you know you want your MS/PhD in another area (with certain exceptions, such as doing a BS in engineering and a Master's in Business/MBA, for example).

    As an electrical engineering major, I have not studied anything about particles and plasma, and in my opinion these areas are more a part of physics than electrical engineering. So, maybe you should consider a physics major.

    Also, while electrical trades and wiring houses can be interesting and fun, it's not really what electrical engineers do, so it's probably not a good way to figure out if you want to major in electrical engineering.
  6. Sep 2, 2010 #5
    Thank you for your input. The elctrical trades was actaully a mistake that was made on my first day at the GTI (granite technical institute) I asked a lady where the class was and she sent me to the electrical trades class instead of the electrical engineering class once I found it was after I bought the tools and what not for the class so I stayed in it for the year since I already paid my class fees and what not.

    I've also been hearing that electrical engineers do alot of business.. honestly thats not my thing.. I want to build stuff and research stuff thats all I want to do... research and build, so is engineering my path or should I go with physics? What I am thinking is doing engineering for my bach.. then physics for my masters and doctorate... Would this be doable?
  7. Sep 2, 2010 #6
    Some engineers, electrical and otherwise, are involved in business and management, but not all. I don't know why someone would tell you that. Think about it: for business to happen, someone has to be out there designing and building things, right?

    I don't think BS in electrical engineering and MS/PhD in physics is a very good idea. Electrical engineering students do study a bit of electrodynamics and some relatively advanced math (differential equations), but there is so much more to physics than that. Compared to a physics major, you won't be very well-prepared for physics grad school.

    You could also consider a major in electrical engineering and a minor in physics.
  8. Sep 2, 2010 #7
    Thanks for you thoughts on the matter, though now I feel slightly more confused on the whole concept.. I just don't understand why there can't be a path for someone who wants to research and then build.. Or perhaps there is and I am just missing something? (I'm sorry I really don't understand much about how college works the councilor at my school only gave me vague answers to my questions)

    So I guess my new question would be.. What is a path that I could take to do research with plasmas, particles, and electricity, Then use that research to actually build things..

    once again thank you all for baring with me
  9. Sep 2, 2010 #8


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    Keep in mind that for many colleges in the US, you don't have to declare your major until after the first 2 years. So you can take a mix of physics and EE classes for those two years, and start to see what turns you on the most. I wouldn't worry too much at this point about making your final decision -- you have plenty of time, and owe it to yourself to go into college with an open mind.

    You could get your BSEE and then specialize during graduate school more on physics-related stuff like plasma physics, but your degrees would be MSEE and PhD in EE, not in physics. Or you could get your BS in physics, and do graduate school in physics, while picking up the EE classes you need for the more practical building of stuff. I'd suspect that some of your electives in undergrad would be crossover classes anyway, to keep you current in both areas...

    As an aside, I'd recommend that you buy and build a few electronics kit projects (like you can get at Radio Shack, or online). That will help you to start learning more about building projects, and each project typically comes with tutorial information about the project, so you will be learning more about circuits too. Finally, if you have access to a technical library or bookstore, look through the book "The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz & Hill, 2nd edition. It's a nice elementary EE book that you can read through fairly easily, and it takes you from the very basics up through moderate analog and digital electronics. If you can build some kits and finish reading that book by the time you graduate high school, you will be very ready for an EE program at college. It will also be great preparation if you decide to go mainly the physics route.

    Good luck, and have fun!
  10. Sep 2, 2010 #9
    Thank you very very much Berkman, you really brought things into perspective for me..

    As for the building of kits.. I've built all kinds fo stuff but never actually bought a kit ^^' I usually get all my parts from stuff sold at yard sales and thrift stores.. My mom says I'm like the guy from sanford and sons. Any way I've built my fair share of robots, tesla coils, radios with light sensitive diodes, and other stuff. (I don't use junk parts because its fun I just haven't ever been able to afford the kits )

    As for books I only have a few, the physics book I forgot to turn in last year at the end of the year, which thanks to a error in my favor is mine without me having to pay <.< And some electrical hand books that were for Navy technicians from the 90's. I will be sure to look up the book you mentioned and try to find a copy.

    Thank you all for your help, you really got me feelings a bit more definite about what I am going to do.
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