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Help with ECE scheduling please

  1. Dec 12, 2014 #1
    Hi all,

    this spring will be my first semester in Boston University's LEAP program which is a program designed for non-engineering bachelor's degree students to earn their MEng or MS Eng in 3 years. I'm currently looking at the ECE program planning sheet and am not quite sure what classes to take, mostly because I'm not sure of the specialization area I want to pursue. I'm interested in a lot of areas, but I'm not sure where the most opportunities for employment are in. So far I've only taken Calc 1-4, Physics 1-3, linear algebra and electric circuits, so I have a long way to go.

    For the first phase of the program (the undergrad catch-up phase) I am required to take a minimum of 8 of the following courses:

    ECE
    ENG EC 327 Introduction to Software Engineering
    ENG EC 311 Introduction to Logic Design
    ENG EC 330 Applied Algorithms for Engineers
    ENG EC 381 Probability Theory in ECE
    ENG EC 401 Signals and Systems
    ENG EC 402 Control Systems
    ENG EC 410 Introduction to Electronics
    ENG EC 412 Analog Electronics
    ENG EC 413 Computer Organization
    ENG EC 416 Digital Signal Processing
    ENG EC440 Introduction to Operating Systems
    ENG EC 441 Introduction to Computer Networking
    ENG EC 447 Software Design
    ENG EC 450 Microprocessors
    ENG EC 455 Electromagnetic Systems I
    ENG EC 456 Electromagnetic Systems II
    ENG EC 471 Physics of Semiconductor Devices
    ENG EC 481 Fundamentals of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology

    Mathematics
    CAS MA 193 Introduction to Discrete Mathematics

    General Engineering
    ENG EK 127/128 Engineering Computation


    I haven't gotten very far yet in my engineering curriculum so I'm not sure which courses would be most useful. I know it depends on what I want to do so these are the areas that interest me in order:

    Electronics & computer hardware engineering
    Circuit design
    Nanotech
    Semiconductors
    Signal processing & communications
    Power generation & battery technologies

    I also really want to take into account where the jobs are at and the comparative salaries of the different subfields.

    So if anyone could spare the time, I'd really appreciate it if you could list the 8 courses that you feel are most important toward a well rounded electrical engineering education. Also any advice on helping me choose a specialization area taking into account my interests and the job market would be extremely helpful.

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2014 #2

    donpacino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I group the classes below. I underlined the classes that I think are essential to being a good electrical/computer engineer.
    note, many courses could fall in multiple categories. keep in mind this is very general and i don't know the specifics about the classes
    If you go nanotech/semi or power route i would take some of the analog classes as well
    to be a good circuit designer you should have at least some analog and digital knowledge, then specialize.

    General ece
    ENG EC 401 Signals and Systems
    ENG EC 381 Probability Theory in ECE
    ENG EC 402 Control Systems (important for circuit design and power!)
    ENG EC 410 Introduction to Electronics

    Computer engineering (digital circuit design related)
    ENG EC 311 Introduction to Logic Design
    ENG EC 450 Microprocessors
    (you should have an understanding of this for everything but nano)
    ENG EC 416 Digital Signal Processing
    ENG EC 441 Introduction to Computer Networking(a mix between hard and software, depends on class)

    computer engineering (more software oriented)
    ENG EC 327 Introduction to Software Engineering
    ENG EC 330 Applied Algorithms for Engineers
    ENG EC440 Introduction to Operating Systems
    ENG EC 413 Computer Organization(could be hardware or software, im not sure)
    ENG EC 447 Software Design

    analog circuit design
    ENG EC 455 Electromagnetic Systems I
    ENG EC 456 Electromagnetic Systems II
    ENG EC 412 Analog Electronics

    nanotech/semi
    ENG EC 471 Physics of Semiconductor Devices
    ENG EC 481 Fundamentals of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology
     
  4. Dec 12, 2014 #3
    Thanks for the reply!

    I've found out that I unfortunately need to retake electric circuits and modern physics because the courses I took did not cover enough according to the syllabi, so I'm probably going to take 10 classes altogether. Here's a little more information on the prereqs for each course:

    ENG EC 327 Introduction to Software Engineering, prereq: engineering computation
    ENG EC 311 Introduction to Logic Design, prereq: electric circuits
    ENG EC 330 Applied Algorithms for Engineers, prereq: introduction to software engineering
    ENG EC 381 Probability Theory in ECE
    ENG EC 401 Signals and Systems, prereq: electric circuits
    ENG EC 402 Control Systems, prereq: electric circuits, signals and systems
    ENG EC 410 Introduction to Electronics, prereq: electric circuits
    ENG EC 412 Analog Electronics, prereq: introduction to electronics
    ENG EC 413 Computer Organization, prereq: introduction to logic design
    ENG EC 416 Digital Signal Processing, prereq: signals and systems
    ENG EC440 Introduction to Operating Systems, prereqs: introduction to software eng, computer organization
    ENG EC 441 Introduction to Computer Networking, prereqs: probability theory, signals and systems
    ENG EC 447 Software Design, prereqs: introduction to operating systems, applied algorithms
    ENG EC 450 Microprocessors, prereqs: introduction to software engineering, computer organization
    ENG EC 455 Electromagnetic Systems I, prereqs are modern phyics and diff eqs
    ENG EC 456 Electromagnetic Systems II (can take same time as electric systems I)
    ENG EC 471 Physics of Semiconductor Devices, prereq: modern physics
    ENG EC 481 Fundamentals of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology, no prereqs besides physics and diff eqs

    The prereqs make some things difficult. For instance I can't take microprocessors unless I first take engineering computation, software engineering, logic and design, and computer organization.

    Working within the prereq requirements this is an example schedule I was thinking:

    Spring 2015:
    Elementary Modern Physics
    Probability Theory in ECE
    Electric Circuits
    Engineering Computation

    Summer 2015:
    Introduction to Electronics
    Signals and Systems
    Control Systems

    Fall 2015:
    Introduction to Digital Signal Processing
    Analog Electronics
    Electromagnetic Systems I
    Electromagnetic Systems II


    Does this sample schedule seem coherent at all? Do the courses seem to fit together well or are they in fields that are not related enough? These courses are intended to prepare me for an MS track, most likely in either computer hardware, solid state circuits devices and materials, or signal processing and communication. Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014
  5. Dec 15, 2014 #4
    Are trying to take Signals & Systems and Control Systems at the same time? That would not be advisable. Signals & Systems is most definitely a pre-req. for Control Systems: you absolutely must have mastered Laplace and z Transforms (a topic usually saved to the middle/end of Signals) prior to starting Control (along with all the frequency response methods). You might consider moving Electromagnetic Systems I to Summer 2015 and Control Systems to Fall 2015.
     
  6. Dec 16, 2014 #5
    How about this as preparation for an MS in signal processing and communications:

    Spring 2015:
    Elementary Modern Physics
    Probability Theory in ECE
    Electric Circuits
    Engineering Computation

    Summer 2015:
    Introduction to Electronics
    Introduction to Software Engineering

    Fall 2015:
    Discrete Mathematics
    Signals & Systems
    Analog Electronics
    Electromagnetic Systems I

    Spring 2016:
    Introduction to Digital Signal Processing
    Electromagnetic Systems II
    Control Systems
    Introduction to Computer Networking

    Is it possible to do signal processing without just turning into a software guy? I was really trying to stay on the hardware side. I really like the option for MS in Solid-State Circuits, Devices, and Materials, but it doesn't even seem like they make it possible. You get three semesters to finish the undergrad catch-up phase of the program (plus one summer) So for example to take Microprocessors, the only way to make it there in 3 semesters with all the prereqs is to do this:

    Spring 15: Engineering Comp, Electric circuits
    Summer 15: Introduction to software engineering, Introduction to logic design
    Fall 15: Computer Organization
    Spring 16: Microprocessors

    BUT, they don't offer Intro to Logic Design in the summer. This seems to make it impossible to take the microprocessors class (which seems important) before the MS in Solid-State Circuits, Devices, and Materials.

    Any suggestions? :confused:
     
  7. Dec 16, 2014 #6

    donpacino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    There is a thin line between software and hardware when it comes to DSP.
    Its a mixed bag as to what is used. Whenever signal processing has to be done quickly it is done in hardware (ussually FPGAs)

    Look up VHDL. The HDL stands for hardware description language. You use a programming language to creat large scale logic in hardware.
     
  8. Dec 17, 2014 #7

    donpacino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I would talk to a professor or someone at the school. Missing microprocessors might not be that bad. You will get exposure to how computing systems work in some of your other classes!
     
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