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I want to lern EE, but can not major in it.

  1. Sep 9, 2007 #1
    I am majoring in applied math, but i would like to learn some EE, and maybe get a job as an engineer if i can. My question is, what are the most important EE classes, the ones that i should take as electives in order to be a competent engineer, or atleast the ones that i need to know in order to do EE in graduate school. I just started my 3rd year of undergrad, so i'm not sure which dicipline a would rather study in grad school if i decide to go.

    thanks for the help
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2007 #2
    Well.. if you are willing to take core classes of EE, I strongly suggest you at least get a minor in it. But as for the most important EE courses, I can think of circuit related courses, signals, electromagnetics.

    But again, if you want to take EE courses, it's better if you just get a minor in it. (Or double major)
  4. Sep 10, 2007 #3
    My recommendation is that first and foremost you MUST master basic linear circuit analysis. Beyond that, IMO if you have a good understanding of linear systems and signal processing and know how to work with some sort of field (EM, sound, fluids, etc) you probably can fill in the blanks as needed when you go into something more specialized on the job or in grad school. If you are looking at a particular field you should start studying that in more detail as well.

    FYI, I've been in a somewhat similar position- I did physics and math as an undergrad but spent about a year total on two separate internships working as an engineer. I've known many engineers and engineering students and I think you'd be surprised how little the average engineering student takes out of their degree. Regarding engineering students, I'd guess that about 80-90% honestly don't care about what they are doing and when they take a class, they are only trying to get a good grade with little work, as opposed to learning the material. Of course this means they have gained little usable knowledge or skill when they graduate. In the industry I'd put it closer to 50% because there is a higher level of accountability, but even there, most people don't seem to apply what they learned in class nearly as much as what they learn on the job. Based on these observations I think the way to go is to really understand the basics (listed above) and then work on your specific interest. I don't think encountering in class the more advanced elements of a particular field you aren't interested in is important- most people don't take anything out of that anyways.

    On the other hand, if you want to be very good and or versatile, you might want to add on a EE major and stick around an extra year, or, better yet, you should study and master the material covered in those courses outside of the courses.
  5. Sep 14, 2007 #4
    thanks for the help.

    My school dosnt offer a minor in EE. I will try to do as you suggested. Do you think i can get an internship in EE, with only a bachlors in applied math? I would try to continue my education as i work, if i could land a job or internship.
  6. Sep 16, 2007 #5
    When I first got an internship, it was after my second year in school and the only technical classes I had up to that point were intro mechanics, intro e&m, calc 1-3, intro linear algebra and intro ODEs. Anything else I needed I learned there. Many internships are designed to be an introduction to a field. I would just apply to many places and try to develop connections with people in the industry.
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