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Independent studies

  1. Sep 29, 2006 #1
    Greetings.Let me tell you a little bit of my story

    When I started school a year and a half ago I was pretty sure that I wanted to become an engineer. I really like the concept of the computer as a the ultimate comunication and calculation tool, and I've always have an interest in technology. I though that I could do my biggest contribution to mankind by helping design hardware that will help advance human knowledge, but I never had any formal education past highschool. My interest in engineering was based on my interests at the time(microchip design). I couldn't go straight into an engineering program because I needed 48 credits to go to into the best univerity in Puerto Rico for engineering, so I went to a private liberal arts school in my town to get the credits I needed. I got 49 credits on my first year with a 4.0 GPA( summer included).

    Here is my problem, I found out I really like math. Algebra is fairly easy and intuitive for me now, and calculus is becoming an art form in my eyes. I've gone only as far as derivatives but already I see the huge applications it has on all realms of human knowledge. With each new concept I learn, I can see a new level of unification that just thinking of it gives me goosebumps. Math in combination with a computer, is the ultimate knowledge machine. (math is a machine).

    I don't think I want to an be engineer anymore.

    Have any of you experienced something like this?


    So here I am considering my options, but it is not an easy task. Even when my interests guide me towards a dual degree in mathematics and computer science, the job security that an engineering degree provides is really tempting. Plus who says I cant mayor in math and engineering? Here is my other problem.

    As I mentioned before I go to a liberal arts school who's highest math in the curriculum is Calc 2. After talking to my calc professor he mentioned the posibility of independent studies. Independent studies is such a tempting option!. The best and most enjoyable way for me to learn is by reading and digesting what I read. Self-teaching is my prefered method for learning. If I stay at this school I can have a dual degree in math( by independent studies) and comp science ( by normal ways). If I do tranfer to the big school I can still do a dual degree in comp science and math, but it will be by classroom instruction, wich so far I feel has slowed me down, and has less flexibility.

    How do employers evaluate independent studies? Is classroom instruction better? How about the name of the school? UPR (the big school) has the biggest name in Puerto Rico and employment is almost guranteed after you graduate form it. My current school doesn't have the prestige but it does offer me a great learning oportunity.

    Does anyone have experience with independent studies?
    How do they compare to classroom instruction?
    How about the job security?
    Big school or flexibility?

    Thanks for any input you can provide.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2006 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    :bugeye: :eek: :surprised: :yuck:

    What do they offer degrees in?

    As for earning a math degree by independent study, does your school specify a curriculum that you would have to follow, a set of courses that you would have to take if they offered them in the classroom? And how would they evaluate you and assign grades? Who would create and administer exams?
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2006
  4. Sep 29, 2006 #3
    well at my campus they offer various degrees in business, nursing, biology, chemistry, comp science and education. the majority of the students are majoring in education.

    The university has various campuses around the island and I'm going to one of th esmallest one. If I was to do a degree in pure math I would be following the engineering and science campus curriculae. Just so you know, non of the engineering degrees at the Bayamon campus(science and engineering campus) is ABET certified.

    As far as evaluation for the course I would be assigned to a professor that would give me the course schedule and evaluate my progress. It won't be a walk in park. It will be harder than classroom instruction.
  5. Oct 2, 2006 #4
    Can anyone give me their opinion on this matter?
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