Electrical Engineering vs. Robotics in Graduate School

In summary, the speaker is struggling to decide between pursuing a master's degree in electrical engineering or robotics. They have a bachelor's degree in electronics and electrical engineering and have access to a master's program in the same subject, but are also interested in a robotics program that requires letters of recommendation. While they are not particularly interested in circuit design, they are drawn to the robotics program because it offers courses in their favorite subjects, such as signal processing, control theory, and machine learning. However, they are unsure if a robotics degree is more suited for those who enjoy hands-on building and experimentation, rather than theoretical work. The speaker also mentions their summer job in research, and their interest in using their degree for research in fields such as machine learning
  • #1

fatpotato

Hello everyone,

I am looking at two master's degree programs (graduate school) : electrical engineering and robotics. Taking decisions is hard, and I would gladly like some advice making up my mind.

I have a bachelor's degree (undergrad) in electronics and electrical engineering, which grants me access to master's degree program in the same subject at my uni. However, there is also a interesting robotics program, that I cannot apply to without letters of recommandation from my teachers, so I am a bit torn.

I chose EEE not really because of a love for circuit design, but rather because it was the subject with the most applied maths courses and physics available at my uni. Many students at my uni love going through experimentation and quickly solving or designing a system hands-on, without performing the calculation (and most of the time, without understanding the theory), but I would rather do it the opposite way : I have a deep passion about learning the underlying theory behind a concept, solving it with pen and paper and coming up with a mature solution.

That being said, my favourite subjects are more on the theoretical side : signal processing, control theory, computer vision, machine learning, probability and everything involving applied maths, and it so happens that the robotics program I am looking at offers all of these courses, making me gravitate towards it. However, I am not that interested in the practical application of building robots.

Here is a question to anyone who has followed a robotics degree : are they rather intended for people who love building things and hands-on making? Would I fit in such a program?

Thank you
 
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  • #2
Do you know what you are doing this summer? Have you found a summer job in electronics? Do you know what kinds of jobs you want to pursue with each of your two choices for the Master's degree (EE/Robotics)?
 
  • #3
Thank you for answering.

I worked part time during three years in a research institute affiliated with the school I am graduating from, and I have a one year full time contract starting this summer, after which I will go back for the master's degree at fall 2022. Nonetheless, registrations are open starting fall 2021.

To be fair, I don't have a dream job, I just want to work in a field where I can apply the most of what I learned, so definitely research. Certainly, EE could better launch me in a career in machine learning and signal processing, but robotics could also lead to this kind of work, plus the control theory aspect.

It is too bad, because I don't want to especially design circuits nor robots, but my fields of interest just happen to be covered in these programs.
 
  • #4
Does your school have a Robotics Club? I don't know if you have in-person club activities restarting yet where you live, but a Robotics Club at the university level can be a pretty challenging and fun activity. You might also see if there are technically challenging enough tasks for your tastes.

Can you say what area of EE your research contract is in?
 
  • #5
Thank you for your advice! It does not, school activities are nonexistent alas.

Regarding my contract, it is mainly focused on machine learning and signal processing for biology and agriculture, although I also have less urgent research projects involving analog circuit design of ultra low power sensors and embedded systems.
 
  • #6
fatpotato said:
Regarding my contract, it is mainly focused on machine learning and signal processing for biology and agriculture, although I also have less urgent research projects involving analog circuit design of ultra low power sensors and embedded systems.
That all sounds interesting! The machine learning and signal processing for biology sound like good areas to be working in right now. Do you enjoy that work?
 
  • #7
It is really interesting! I always loved signal processing because the theory encompasses more than electronics, it can be applied to other fields as well. And yes, I do enjoy this work.

With a degree in robotics, would this kind of work be given to someone else for example?
 
  • #8
I would add that where you start professionally is not necessarily where you will end up. Over the course of my career, I have worked in many different industries. What I found is that the same physics and math support almost all technical fields. Go ahead and dive in somewhere, but do not be afraid to switch later on in your life.
 
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Likes fatpotato, nsaspook, DaveE and 1 other person

1. What is the difference between Electrical Engineering and Robotics in Graduate School?

Electrical Engineering and Robotics are two closely related fields, but they have distinct differences. Electrical Engineering focuses on the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. Robotics, on the other hand, is a multidisciplinary field that combines principles from electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering to design, build, and program robots.

2. Which field has better job prospects after completing a graduate degree?

Both Electrical Engineering and Robotics have excellent job prospects after completing a graduate degree. Electrical engineers are in demand in industries such as telecommunications, power generation, and electronics. Robotics engineers are also in high demand in various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and defense.

3. Can I pursue a graduate degree in both Electrical Engineering and Robotics?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a graduate degree in both Electrical Engineering and Robotics. However, it is essential to note that these fields have different course requirements, and it may take longer to complete both degrees. It is recommended to consult with your academic advisor to create a plan that fits your goals and interests.

4. What are the research opportunities available in Electrical Engineering and Robotics?

Both Electrical Engineering and Robotics offer a wide range of research opportunities. In Electrical Engineering, you can conduct research in areas such as power systems, signal processing, and control systems. In Robotics, you can explore research topics such as artificial intelligence, human-robot interaction, and robot design and control.

5. What skills are necessary to succeed in graduate school for Electrical Engineering or Robotics?

To succeed in graduate school for Electrical Engineering or Robotics, you should have a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, and computer science. Additionally, having excellent problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, and the ability to work independently and in teams is crucial. Strong communication skills are also essential, as you will be required to present your research findings and collaborate with other researchers.

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