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EE and Physics or just Physics?

  1. Oct 29, 2007 #1
    I am planning on going to grad school once I get my bachelors. I am currently enrolled in a dual major program.I think that doing both Electrical Engineering and Physics would not be my best choice. I have compared my physics requirements with some other people in the physics only major and I only have to take about half of the classes that they will. I assume that would hurt my ability to go to grad school. Does this make sense to you all? Would a concentration in physics be better than about half physics and half EE?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2007 #2
    If you can handle both and are interested in it, go for both. Take the physics courses, even if you do not get the degree. It won't hurt, will it?
  4. Oct 29, 2007 #3
    The way it works is that I take about half of the required physics class and then transfer to University of Kentucky and take 2 years of Electrical Engineering classes. I'm wanting to go to grad school for physics. I won't have the physics classes that most of the grad students will have. I fear that it will hold me back.
  5. Oct 29, 2007 #4


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    What physics courses are you missing out on if you do the double major?
  6. Oct 29, 2007 #5
    The physics classes required for the double major:
    Phy 201 (University Physics)
    Phy 202 (University Physics 2)
    Phy 300 (Modern Physics)
    Phy 301 (Modern Physics 2)
    Phy 315 (Circuit Theory)
    Phy 306 or 308 (Advanced classical physics laboratory or Modern physics laboratory)
    and one upper level physics elective which I was going to takes as:
    Phy 420 (Electricity and Magnetism)

    Now, with a General Physics degree you are required:
    Phy 201 (University Physics)
    Phy 202 (University Physics 2)
    Phy 300 (Modern Physics)
    Phy 301 (Modern Physics 2)
    Phy 306 or 308 (Advanced classical physics laboratory or Modern physics laboratory)
    Phy 458 (Classical Mechanics)
    Phy 420 (Electricity and Magnetism)
    Phy 459 (Classical Mechanics II)
    Phy 470 (Quantum Mechanics)
    and an additional six hours of 300 or above Phy classes, which I would take:
    Phy 303 (Introduction to Laser Physics)
    Phy 402 (Physical Optics)

    I'd probably also take Phy 315 (Circuit Theory) as I will have free electives that I can fill with physics courses.
  7. Oct 29, 2007 #6


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    Quantum Mechanics and Classical Mechanics are VERY important for physics majors. If you are planning on going to grad school for physics, you are going to want to take those courses (As you have them numbered, PHYS 458, 459, 470.) Definitely don't miss out on those if you want to do physics graduate school. Personally, I would go with the Physics Major, not the double major. It seems the "double" major, neglects a lot of important physics.
  8. Oct 29, 2007 #7
    That was my impression too. And who knows about how much I would miss out when doing the Electrical Engineering part too. I'll speak to an adviser tomorrow and see what they think.
  9. Oct 29, 2007 #8
    You'll miss out on stuff by not doing the EE courses, but that can be learned via monkey see, monkey do. When you need the EE knowledge to build your experiment, you'll be able to learn what you need to get and how to use it. It will be more time-consuming than already having taken the classes, but it won't be the same as trying to learn quantum mechanics because you happen to need it at that moment.

    It's easier to have the piece of hardware in your hands and play around with it than to learn a whole field of physics. Especially since you'll have taken E&M and circuit theory. I took 2 physics department electronics courses and it was just a huge overview of EE. Didn't get too detailed, but I know that there exist things that have such and such properties.
  10. Oct 29, 2007 #9
    Yeah, your schools seems to waive a lot of really important physics for the EE/physics double major. I am surprised they do that. I would double check those requirements because they don't seem right...
  11. Oct 29, 2007 #10
    I checked the recommended class guide, it has listed:
    Phy 201 (University Physics)
    Phy 202 (University Physics 2)
    Phy 221 (Statics)
    Phy 315 (Circuits)
    PHY 375 (Thermodynamics)
    *PHY Electives (13-16 hours)
    The electives are
    PHY 300 (Modern Physics), 301(Modern Physics 2), 303 (Introduction to Laser Physics), 402 (Physical Optics) and 306 or 308 (Advanced classical physics laboratory or Modern physics laboratory)
  12. Oct 29, 2007 #11
    I'm amazed that there isn't a single QM requirement. Is there a QM class that the electrical engineers are required to take?
  13. Oct 29, 2007 #12
    I don't know about that. I know very little about the classes required of the EE majors at University of Ky... I'll get back in a bit.
  14. Oct 29, 2007 #13
    Well, I would say that if you intended on going to grad school in EE then the physics background would be very beneficial, but if you intended to go to grad school for physics then not having and QM background would be a hinderance, I would suspect.
  15. Oct 29, 2007 #14
    [2]Engineering/Science Electives: to be chosen in consultation with the academic adviser from Group A:
    MSE 212 Electrical Properties of Materials
    ME 220 Engineering Thermodynamics I
    EM 221 Statics
    EM230 Mechanics for Electrical Engineers (cannot take if have credit in EM 221)
    ME 330 Fluid Mechanics
    EM 313 Dynamics

    The only class I could find that dealt with quantum mechanics would be:

    EE 567 Introduction to Lasers and Masers (3 Credit Hours)
    1. Knowledge of laser types - their use, construction, and design.
    2. Understanding of laser operation as viewed through EM fields and classical mechanics of the
    electron oscillator and interrelation to quantum mechanics.
    3. Understanding of how optical resonators, lens, and mirrors are applied to lasers.
    4. Ability to construct and solve rate equations.
    5. Knowledge of special lasers - chemical, free-electron, fiber.
  16. Oct 29, 2007 #15
  17. Oct 29, 2007 #16
    lol? Why would there be?
  18. Oct 29, 2007 #17
    A lot of schools require EEs to take some sort of applied quantum course, especially if they are in some sort of solid state device concentration.
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