Is this smart or overkill? Deciding classes for next semester.

  • Thread starter USN2ENG
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  • #1
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Hi all,
I am an EE major and planning on transferring to a different school next year and noticed that instead of stand alone Linear and Diff Eq classes they have an amalgamated EE math class that teaches you all the math fundamental to EE. I was reading the reviews of this course and everyone seems to think it is really fast paced and leaves out some certain things. Here is the Course description:

This course is designed to acquaint the student with the basic mathematical tools used in electrical and computer engineering. The concepts covered in this course will be used in higher level courses and, more importantly, throughout you career as an engineer. Major topics of the course include complex numbers, real and complex functions, signal representation, elementary matrix algebra, solutions to linear systems of equations, functional approximation by curve fitting, linear differential equations, Laplace transforms used for solving linear differential equations, Fourier Transforms and their uses in solving electrical engineering problems.
I am decent at math (currently have an A in Calc 2) but I am not completely secure in my abilities as I feel some of my base knowledge is a little shaky. I just have a strong work ethic. Next semester I have the opportunity to take Linear and Diff Eq (both intro) stand alone classes. I was wondering if this would be a good Idea as prep for this course or am I more than likely over thinking this? If I did want to prep for this course what other way would you suggest? Any good books or websites that you know of?

Thanks for any suggestions or insight!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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The only concern I would have is that math classes offered by your department tend to focus on specific applications to your subject. Classes from the math department are broader and more theoretical and do not always transfer perfectly to your field without some work. I took the complex variables course offered by my physics department before I ever took complex analysis and to be honest, it served me better. I got the concepts faster, less thinking "Oh, but how does this apply to X?", and earlier on in my education which meant I could see them before I needed them in a physics class. Either option might be good for you, but I wouldn't look down on a class in engineering simply because it's offered by engineers instead of mathematicians.
 
  • #3
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I definitely see your point about the applications. I think I was just over thinking the situation. Thanks for the insight. It's good to hear from someone that has experienced a pretty similar situation.
 
  • #4
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On the other hand, that engineering math class will teach you the stuff that actually relevant to you. The math classes will deal with alot of theoretical stuff meaning you wont actually have a use for alot of stuff. Proving some of the stuff may help you to understand the concepts better. For example, I learned laplace transforms in both my ODE class and circuit analysis class. My ODE class taught me about alot of the properties and how/why they work while the circuits class gave me alot of practice in actually finding the transforms. On the other hand I never learned Fourier Series/transforms in a math environment and have no idea how they work but can solve problems using them perfectly fine.

Another example is my linear algebra class. Almost everything in linear algebra that's actually used was taught or picked up in my engineering classes before I even took LA and gave me a better treatment in their use.

If you have time, money, and enjoy math (like me) then I'd take the standalone classes otherwise every topic you listed are the ones that are important and will be used alot. I'd prefer the math classes, their applications will become evident as you use them in your engineering classes.
 

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