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Courses Math courses recommended for electrical engineering major?

  1. Jul 16, 2010 #1
    So far, I've taken Algebra 1 and 2, and Geometry. I'm taking Functions/Stats/Trig next year, and there's a great chance I'll be taking calc 1 senior year. (high school, of course)

    What other classes should I be taking, if I want to major in electrical engineering? I've heard calc is a BIG one, but I'm getting opinions from you guys.

    Sorry I didn't go into much detail, I'm a bit tired tonight. (:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2010 #2
    Trig is big, algebra too. The calculus is very big as well, and dont forget complex numbers. They are second nature to a EE because they are everywhere. You're always dealing with the magnitude and phase of something as a EE.

    Stats less so for a starting EE but you'll need it eventually so pay attention to it.
  4. Jul 16, 2010 #3
    The whole point of the mathematics curriculum is to reach calculus, so the majority of the courses you take in high school are meant to prepare you for calculus. Also calculus is the basic fundamental subject for engineers of most, if not all types. From calculus onwards, topics such as differential equations and related tools such as transforms are also fundamental, but calculus is the basic prerequisite.

    As for the topics before calculus, algebra 1 and 2 and functions are essential to learning calculus and solving calculus problems. Geometry is not directly useful, but geometric intuition and reasoning can be carried over to calculus. You only need to know the basics of trigonometry to learn calculus (sometimes you don't need any) for the first time. However I think trig is important for many disciplines including engineering because it really is a great way to get used to deriving various formulas given only a few basic identities.
  5. Jul 16, 2010 #4
    Well, I can get calc 1 and 2 in before college. Would that be the best thing to do?
  6. Jul 16, 2010 #5
    From a pedagogical point of view, it's never a particularly good idea to rush to get to calculus. Learning to attack a problem effectively is more fundamental, and problem solving skills are arguably easier to obtain in elementary mathematics (i.e. subjects taught before calculus). However if you are fairly sure you want to be an engineer, I would say understanding calculus is as equally important as becoming better at solving problems. If you work out a lot of problems in your textbook, keep it up and you should be able to achieve both ends.

    Calc 1 and 2 is basically AP Calculus BC right? If so, this is certainly a reasonable thing to understand before heading off to college provided that you have a good grasp of all of the other subjects you mentioned.
  7. Jul 17, 2010 #6
    Linear Algebra
  8. Jul 17, 2010 #7
    My EE program requires differential calc, integral calc, series calc, vector calc, differential eq's, linear algebra, mathematical statistics,and statistical methods II. And most technical classes involve tons of applied math.
  9. Jul 18, 2010 #8
    Same with the one at my college, except for the last two I think. I would recommend taking some sort of calculus in high school to at least expose yourself to them, and if you're good at it, claim AP credit (assuming your school has AP calculus). I don't think it's necessary to go past AP level calculus (which covers up to integral calculus). Even if you do go over vector calculus or linear algebra, your college will most likely make you take those classes anyways, so there isn't too much of an advantage other than just being ahead knowledge wise. There's no dire need to rush.
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