1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

EE Majors: Should I take Electric Circuits or Digital Logic?

  1. May 9, 2012 #1
    I'll be taking a heavy workload of classes next semester. This will be the first time I'll be taking all technical classes. To ease my transition, should I take electric circuits or digital logic? What is the general consensus in terms of which one of these classes is more difficult?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If I were you, I'd also ask other students at your school who've taken the courses before, because difficulty does not only depend on the material, but also on the instructor.
  4. May 9, 2012 #3
    Both of these courses are considered the absolute hurdle of EE at my school. I would take Dembadon's advice and check with other students and/or your adviser.
  5. May 10, 2012 #4
    Digital logic is much more accessible since it doesn't have differential equations, frequency transforms, etc. I would definitely take it over circuits for an easier time.
  6. May 10, 2012 #5
    Definitely agree with this (with the usual caveat of "it depends on the lecturer and the student's strengths).
  7. May 10, 2012 #6
    Circuits isn't a prereq for logic? It is at my school?
  8. May 10, 2012 #7
    Well, I know both classes are a ton of work. I'm more concerned about the difficulty to grasp concepts. I've heard good things about both of the instructors that teach those classes.

    Also, I think the absolute hurdle of most EE programs in terms of sheer difficulty is electromagnetism. I always hear people complaining about that class.

    Nope, they just recommend basic physics classes as preparation.
  9. May 10, 2012 #8
    I'm going to chime in and say at every school I'm familiar with Digital Logic is a lot easier class than Electric Circuits.

    The basic concepts are much simpler for Digital Logic. I design circuits for a living and I'm *still* struggling with basic concepts.
  10. May 10, 2012 #9
    Yeah, I agree but at my school the E&M teachers are top notch so while kids say it's hard they learn and enjoy the material because of the great teaching. I would ask around, either one will be difficult I'm sure.
  11. May 11, 2012 #10
    You're lucky. At my school, the E&M teachers are...let's just say...the type of teachers that students complain about a lot.
  12. May 12, 2012 #11
    lol.. well considering I'm one of the few that is actually interested in E&M at my school I am lucky. :smile:
  13. May 13, 2012 #12
    The key factor would lie in the prereqs for the next semester. For instance the first Circuit Analysis course is a prereq for a second course as well as one in electronics. Those 2 are then prereqs for most everything else (signals, EM, power, etc)

    On the other hand, the first course in digital logic is a prereq for only a class in microcontrollers and in digital design (HDLs).

    In terms of difficulty, I found both very easy. The first circuits class was very systematic and basic for me. The second one dealt with transforms and more complicated things. Digital logic is pretty uh logical for the most part.

    Hardest class in EE for me (thus far, about to start senior year) has been EM and Signals and Systems, both classes I excelled at due to my second major in Math. The electronics courses are the ones i failed at despite them being relatively simple.
  14. May 14, 2012 #13
    Why do you think that the electronics classes are simple (especially since you failed at them)? I always thought of electronics as quite difficult as it forces you to think in a new way, and that can be very uncomfortable.
  15. May 14, 2012 #14
    I consider them simple because (at least for me), the material wasn't very hard to grasp and not very "abstract", I guess. I failed at them because I wasn't very interested in them and never really had a good intuition for it. I noticed some people had a feel for those classes while other had a good feel for the more mathematical subjects.

    Essentially I failed at them because I never studied much for them, not because I didn't understand them.

    I say simple on a tight relative scale though, nothing is exactly easy in EE. Simple probably isnt the correct word to use here.
  16. May 14, 2012 #15
    Bless your beautiful mind for finding reactance, differential equations, frequency representations of a signal, and the use of this frequency response to solve differential equations algebraically not abstract.

    "Hey Rick, I have this really concrete idea. Let's represent this signal as an infinite summation of complex sinusoids housed in the form of a complex exponential."

    "Tom, that's the most concrete idea I've ever heard in my life."
  17. May 14, 2012 #16
    Ah I see now. This is a misunderstanding of course titles.

    What you describe is taught in a course called Circuit Analysis II. That class is not simple and is something I was excelled at (heavy math classes = good time for me).

    What I was talking about are a set of courses called Electric Circuits I+II (We just call it electronics). That covers transistors and various amplifier and IC circuits (filters, oscillators, etc).
  18. Sep 21, 2012 #17
    So far I am liking the digital logic design class. The labs are pretty enjoyable for both hardware and software areas. Do EEs make great use of the knowledge learned in this class? I was always under the impression that this is something only computer engineers make great use of.
  19. Sep 21, 2012 #18
    You will use digital logic class for digital design, which most EE majors say was one of the most useful classes for real application. At least at my school.
  20. Sep 21, 2012 #19


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I would guess that a substantial majority of EE's these days end up working either on digital hardware or software. Digital logic is pretty fundamental to both.
  21. Sep 22, 2012 #20
    There are 2 major "circuits" classes at where I did my undergrad (and at my new school for grad school, it seems to be the same). There is "linear circuits" which, for most people is the absolute first electric circuits course they take... then there is "signals and systems" which does almost everything you did in the "linear circuits" class but with 100x as difficult of math (eg. fourier transforms, convolution, laplace transforms, and proofs of everything). if you want an easy transition, i wouldn't recommend taking the latter of these two courses.

    The digital logic course can be the same way.. have an "easy intro" course at first where you discuss adders, multiplexors, and memory systems. then the 2ndary course where you rehash all of this stuff using VHDL and assembly, programming everything from scratch.. much harder and much more involved (although, again i only took the first one of these 2).

    If the two courses you are deciding between sound much more like the easier versions of the courses i've described, I don't believe either should be too difficult at all (maybe 5 hours external studying/week?). I would probably take the one that simply fits your schedule best.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook