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Most useful double major/minor?

  1. Oct 9, 2009 #1
    What in your opinion, is the most useful double major/minor in regards to future trends technology?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2009 #2


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    In my opinion anything making use of math would be good as long as its applied. Many advances in technology start out with a conjecture or with an idea that has some connection from research or from a property of which math provides an insight into a new discovery of some sort.

    To go even further I would say that applied math and statistics would be better suited as people are coming up with better models, new techniques and innovative new ways to solve yesterdays and even todays problems.

    A lot of best mathematical minds of their time contributed a lot to different areas of math including areas like celestial mechanics, quantum mechanics, classical mechanics and many areas that are at the front of the technology space.

    I guess another big thing is training people to learn to make effective decisions. Math helps with this. Being able to turn something unstructured into something structured is a very valuable skill of which most jobs with this requirement pay a lot of money including applied mathematicians engineers and computer scientists.

    Anything where you are going into unfamiliar territory and analyzing it to the point where you can see structure, patterns, and make effective decisions is up there on my list.
  4. Oct 9, 2009 #3
    Engineering and Philosophy. Seriously. Tell an employer that unlike all of the other applicants, you have a humanities degree and wrote an honors philosophy thesis. You'll get an interview with any technology or consulting company you want. Being able to write and argue convincingly will also help you more in the business world than having slightly more technical background when you walk in the door.

    I highly recommend mixing engineering and the humanities if you can pull it off. Start a resume now and fill in some things that you think you could accomplish by the end of college. See how it looks, and get it done.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  5. Oct 9, 2009 #4
    My dad's friend did this, and got a job with Microsoft before they were famous. He is a multi-millionaire today.
  6. Oct 9, 2009 #5
    This is a really good question. Pick any two from the following list, ordered with number one being the "best":

    1. Mathematics
    2. Physics, Computer science, and Engineering
    3. Philosophy
    4. Economics
    5. Anything you are seriously interested in, whatever that may be
    5. See below

    There are some problems with making this kind of list. For example, to a large degree, I believe the best thing to pursue is the thing that you are most interested in. Because obviously studying mathematics won't do you much good if you are completely disinterested and unmotivated to do any work on it.

    Secondly, there are far too many subcategories in this list, and I'm not clear which one is better. It is clear that I value mathematics, but what branch? For example, mathematical logic is extremely different from say, calculus, so can they really be grouped together? These questions would require too long to develop answers in this forum.

    On these simplified grounds, my reasoning for the list is the following.

    1. Mathematics -- Provides training in logical thinking and rational analysis. These are very important, very useful tools. For example, they are responsible for all of our modern technology. Mathematics is the science of breaking down concepts into their exact and precise meaning. It is extremely useful, generalistic, adaptable...

    2. Science and engineering -- Similar to mathematical training. I rank them lower than mathematics because they are less generalistic. However, they are often more interesting because they are more relevant to people and so it is easier to connect with them. Hence, for the above-mentioned reason, this item should go first on the list for many people.

    3. Philosophy -- similar to above, perhaps better, because as the other person mentioned, it also provides more training in the verbal formulation of ideas and arguments, which after all provides the typical mechanism in which we exchange conceptual ideas.

    4. Economics -- This governs the way civilization and society work to an admirable degree. Very interesting because of this importance. Extremely pertinent for the understanding of civilization.

    Final note: I also think literature and the arts and humanities are extremely valuable and can provide excellent mental training. I admit I have a strong bias towards the sciences based on my own background. As far as I can tell, the only real reason to rank humanities below the other things I listed is because somehow science/math/engineering has a greater versatility, in my mind. An engineer can be an excellent mathematician, as well as writer and thinker, but it is extremely difficult for an English major to do high level mathematics.
  7. Nov 9, 2009 #6
    Chem/Mech/Civil Engineering with Materials Science.
  8. Nov 9, 2009 #7
    Engineering and biology/chemistry to cope with the future cyborg armies ofcourse.
  9. Nov 9, 2009 #8


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    When I saw the thread title, that's what came to my mind too. Well, not necessarily engineering, but any science-related major and any humanities major/minor. Having a very scholarly, well-rounded education will provide a lot of different opportunities that focusing on just sciences or just humanities might force you to pass over.
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