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EE degree; not enough math?

  1. Jun 17, 2009 #1

    Dembadon

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    Hello,

    This fall I will be starting my B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Here are the required math courses at my university I must take for this degree:

    MATH 181--Calculus I (4 credits)
    MATH 182--Calculus II* (4 credits)
    MATH 283R--Calculus III* (4 credits)
    MATH 285--Differential Equations* (3 credits)
    MATH 352 or STAT 352-- Probability and Statistics (3 credits)

    This looks a little light to me (compared with other universities). Is this enough math? I have seen other programs which contain Linear Algebra and another 300 level course in their requirements.

    Should I assume that those topics will be covered in what is offered at my university? I also considering minors in either math or engineering physics. Which would be more beneficial for an electrical engineer? I am leaning towards the math minor mainly due to my interest in the subject, however, if engineering physics would make more sense for an EE major, I'll assume that option.

    Is there such thing as 'too much math', even if I enjoy the subject?

    -Robert
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2009 #2
    If you like the classes and see their application in your field (and their requirement at other institutions towards their EE degree) go for it.

    I took a lot of extra math classes (PDE's/BVP's, Complex analysis, Real analysis, etc) as a physics major... in fact I would have had a double major in math except that I skipped some intermediate analysis class required by the degree program but not officially prereq's for the advanced analysis courses that I did take! I found that they definitely helped.

    What topics are offered through the engineering physics program that you find interesting and might overlap well with your career goals? (In my case I also found a lot of chemistry courses overlapped with my materials science interests, so I got a strong minor in that also.)

    I honestly am not sure if a "minor" means much in the job application process... or even if a double major does. Having strong coursework in particular complementary fields might... as well as possibly having some graduate coursework in your primary field.

    Decisions, decisions. Do what interests you and what your gut says!
     
  4. Jun 17, 2009 #3
    It does seem light especially for a EE, why not take other math courses that interest you or that you feel will be useful.
     
  5. Jun 17, 2009 #4
    Usually linear algebra is not covered in a standard calculus I, II, and III sequence. More likely than not, all the linear algebra you'll get in that sequence would be computing determinants of 3x3 matrices in calculus III for finding cross products and Jacobian determinants for the change of variables theorem. Some schools have honors versions of calculus which either have more of a real analysis flavor or include linear algebra at the same time. Do you know if your school offers this?

    It is possible, however, that some linear algebra beyond determinants will be covered in the differential equations class if the class includes a section on systems of differential equations. However, it most likely wouldn't be equivalent to an actual class on the subject unless that's a really accelerated course (which seems unlikely if it's simply called "differential equations").

    This is all under the assumption that those courses follow the standard curriculum, which seems likely based on their titles but obviously not guaranteed.
     
  6. Jun 17, 2009 #5

    Dembadon

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    Here are the math courses offered at the university:

    MATH 019: FUNDAMENTALS OF COLLEGE MATHEMATICS I
    MATH 096: INTERMEDIATE ALGEBRA
    MATH 119: FUNDAMENTALS OF COLLEGE MATHEMATICS II
    MATH 120: FUNDAMENTALS OF COLLEGE MATHEMATICS
    MATH 122: NUMBER CONCEPTS FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
    MATH 123: STATISTICAL AND GEOMETRICAL CONCEPTS FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
    MATH 126 R: PRECALCULUS I
    MATH 127 R: PRECALCULUS II
    MATH 128: PRECALCULUS AND TRIGONOMETRY
    MATH 130: ANALYTIC GEOMETRY
    MATH 131: QUANTITATIVE REASONING
    MATH 176: INTRODUCTORY CALCULUS FOR BUSINESS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
    MATH 181: CALCULUS I
    MATH 182: CALCULUS II
    MATH 253: MATRIX ALGEBRA
    MATH 283 R: CALCULUS III
    MATH 285: DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS
    MATH 299: DIRECTED STUDY
    MATH 307: SYMBOLIC LOGIC
    MATH 310: INTRODUCTION TO ANALYSIS I
    MATH 311: INTRODUCTION TO ANALYSIS II
    MATH 320 R: MATHEMATICS OF INTEREST
    MATH 330: LINEAR ALGEBRA
    MATH 331: GROUPS, RINGS AND FIELDS
    MATH 352: PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS
    MATH 373: THEORY OF POSITIVE INTEGERS
    MATH 381: METHODS OF DISCRETE MATHEMATICS
    MATH 401/601: SET THEORY
    MATH 410/610: COMPLEX ANALYSIS
    MATH 411/611: REAL ANALYSIS
    MATH 412/612: FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS
    MATH 419/619: TOPICS IN ANALYSIS
    MATH 420/620: MATHEMATICAL MODELING
    MATH 422/622: OPTIMAL ANALYSIS
    MATH 429/629: TOPICS IN APPLIED ANALYSIS
    MATH 430/630: LINEAR ALGEBRA II
    MATH 439/639: TOPICS IN ALGEBRA
    MATH 440/640: TOPOLOGY
    MATH 441/641: INTRODUCTION TO ALGEBRAIC TOPOLOGY
    MATH 442/642: DIFFERENTIAL GEOMETRY
    MATH 443/643: DIFFERENTIAL GEOMETRY AND RELATIVITY I
    MATH 449/649: TOPICS IN GEOMETRY AND TOPOLOGY
    MATH 461/661: PROBABILITY THEORY
    MATH 462/662: INTRODUCTION TO STOCHASTIC PROCESSES
    MATH 466/666: NUMERICAL METHODS I
    MATH 467/667: NUMERICAL METHODS II
    MATH 474/674: SETS AND NUMBERS
    MATH 475/675: EUCLIDEAN AND NON-EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY
    MATH 477/677: TOPICS FOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
    MATH 485/685: GRAPH THEORY AND COMBINATORICS
    MATH 486/686: GAME THEORY
    MATH 487 R, 687 R: DETERMINISTIC OPERATIONS RESEARCH
    MATH 488/688: PARTIAL DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS
    MATH 490/690: INTERNSHIP
    MATH 499/699: INDEPENDENT STUDY
    MATH 659: SPECIAL TOPICS OF INTEREST IN PROBABILITY
    MATH 701-702: NUMERICAL ANALYSIS AND APPROXIMATION
    MATH 713-714: ABSTRACT AND REAL ANALYSIS
    MATH 715-716: COMPLEX FUNCTION THEORY
    MATH 721: NONLINEAR DYNAMICS AND CHAOS I
    MATH 722: NONLINEAR DYNAMICS AND CHAOS II
    MATH 731-732: MODERN ALGEBRA
    MATH 741-742: TOPOLOGY
    MATH 751: OPERATIONS RESEARCH I--LINEAR PROGRAMMING AND EXTENSIONS
    MATH 752: OPERATIONS RESEARCH II--STOCHASTIC MODELS
    MATH 753: STOCHASTIC MODELS AND SIMULATION
    MATH 761: METHODS IN APPLIED MATH I
    MATH 762: METHODS IN APPLIED MATH II
    MATH 767: ADVANCED MATHEMATICS FOR EARTH SCIENCES
    MATH 773: TOPICS IN ALGEBRA
    MATH 774: TOPICS IN GEOMETRY AND ANALYSIS
    MATH 775: ADVANCED STUDY OF TOPICS IN PROBABILITY
    MATH 776: TOPICS IN ALGEBRA AND DISCRETE MATH FOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
    MATH 777: TOPICS IN ANALYSIS FOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
    MATH 778: TOPICS IN APPLIED MATH FOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
    MATH 780: TOPICS IN ADVANCED MATHEMATICS
    MATH 786: COOPERATIVE GAME THEORY
    MATH 793: INDEPENDENT STUDY
    MATH 795: COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION
    MATH 797: THESIS
    MATH 799: DISSERTATION
    MATH 899: GRADUATE ADVISEMENT

    zpconn:

    It appears as if you are correct in that linear algebra will not be covered much in my math courses, due to the fact that they are offered as separate courses altogether here.

    physics girl phd & ronaldor9:

    You both bring up good points. Aside from the 68 credits I need from both the engineering and math departments, I will need 25 credits designated as 'Science and Technical Electives'. If the math and physics courses in which I am interested will count for this category, I will take them. Or maybe, if my financial situation so permits, I will take them even if they don't count.

    A friend of mine advised against taking extra courses that "satisfy my interests" while pursuing an EE degree, based on the fact that an EE degree does not leave much room for 'extra' courses. Is this true? If there is an issue about the workload being too heavy, I don't necessarily need to be done in four years. I am also not intimidated by hard and/or challeging work. I will do whatever it takes.

    -Robert
     
  7. Jun 17, 2009 #6

    Dembadon

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    The following classes caught my eye from the Engineering Physics program:

    PHYS 182--Physics for Scientists and Engineers III
    PHYS 182L--Physics for Scientists and Engineers Laboratory III
    PHYS 301--Mathematical Methods Physics
    PHYS 473--Electricity and Magnetism

    I don't know if this would be unnecessary, though. They appear as if they would be beneficial for me.

    -Robert
     
  8. Jun 17, 2009 #7
    You should do more research into it - at my school, linear algebra up through spectral decomposition is covered in calculus 2, and the higher level linear algebra classes are all rigorous proof based classes for math majors. Your school might be the same case.
     
  9. Jun 17, 2009 #8

    chroot

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    As a working EE, I agree that it seems pretty light.

    I'd expect coverage of linear algebra, vector geometry, discrete mathematics, etc. to be included in any EE curriculum.

    - Warren
     
  10. Jun 17, 2009 #9

    Dembadon

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    The course description in the catalog for Calculus II was a bit ambiguous with regards to what is covered. I am going to have to talk to a counselor.

    Thank you, Warren. My main concern was not being adequately educated for either graduate studies and/or my employer. I'm inclined to put in more work during my undergraduate studies, rather than find out later I am illequipped to perform certain tasks or calculations on any projects/jobs to which I am assigned, etc.

    -Robert
     
  11. Jun 18, 2009 #10
    Sorry to interrupt but I'm just curious, is PDE a requirement in undergrad EE?

    Sorry once again, and yeah that list of modules is quite little for EE. I thought EE would require linear algebra and tensors too?
     
  12. Jun 18, 2009 #11

    Redbelly98

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    Wouldn't vector geometry be covered with multivariable calculus (presumably "calculus 3")? I agree that an additional linear algebra class could be useful, but they may cover a lot of the necessary math as part of the EE courses.

    I recommend waiting until the OP is actually at the university (which he is not yet) where he can ask EE professors, upperclass EE majors, and perhaps EE grad students.
     
  13. Jun 18, 2009 #12
    Is your university ABET accredited? I believe linear algabra is required for a university to achieve this accreditation.
     
  14. Jun 18, 2009 #13

    robphy

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    From a google search of the course numbers and titles, I'll make a guess...
    U. Nevada, Reno?
    If so, then the catalog entry for the BS in EE says its ABET accredited...
    http://www.cis.unr.edu/ecatalog/(S(fnhizb55nuqrjhqovmnybz45))/Default.aspx?article_list_id=16184

    It may be that some "mathematical methods" are handled in a computation course like http://www.ss.unr.edu/records/catalog/?id=EE291 (rather than an analytic math course).

    You might wish to poke around various "course websites" at your university
    for courses you'll encounter later in your curriculum. You might find some useful information (e.g. a syllabus).
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  15. Jun 18, 2009 #14

    Dembadon

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    That's a good idea.

    In making the poor assumption that a course without 'MATH' in it's title would be devoid of maths, I am probably overlooking many things whilst also unnecessarily raising my anxiety level.

    Yes, I will be attending UNR for my degree. I live in a small town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Tahoe City), so this university is really the only practical option for me.

    -Robert
     
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