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Physics needed for electronic engineering

  1. Nov 12, 2013 #1
    If i do an electronic engineering course , will i have enough skills to learn physics on my own ?
    by skills i mostly mean math , and most of all will it make me a better engineer ?
    i am really interested in physics , but i think my interest in computing , programming and software is greater than my interest in physics , so if i decide to take an EE course , what kind of math will i be taking * in both undergraduate and graduate school if i do a graduate course * and how much will it help me understand physics * quantum mechanics , quantum electrodynamics and electrodynamics mostly *
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2013 #2

    Student100

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    Undergrad I think it depends on the university. At UC you'll do calc series through vector, differentials, linear and probably some other applied math courses. You'll also do the physics series freshman/s year then depending on what area in electrical engineering you might do some more quantum related topics. Your question depends on a lot of different things.

    Also this would probably go better in the academic section.

    With your interests wouldn't CS, CE or ECE be a better fit? You'll do a lot of programming reguardless, even if you chose physics. Software and computing is more the realm of CE and CS I believe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  4. Nov 12, 2013 #3
    thanks alot for your reply , what if i choose Physics , will i learn enough "computing and programming" skills to work in programming ?
    I thought alot about Computer science , but that would diminish my love for physics since i would need not only to build my physical knowledge but also my mathematical knowledge , and i love physics and math
     
  5. Nov 12, 2013 #4
    No. Not even close. The physics grads who do work in programming got that skill outside their physics curriculum, though extra classes, self-study or work experience. Does the physics curriculum you want to do require any programming at all? Most require zero programming classes. Physics programs teach physics and the only thing they specifically prepare you for is graduate school in physics. For the majority of grads who dont get a PhD in physics but still want employment, they have to create a marketable skill set some other way.
     
  6. Nov 12, 2013 #5

    Student100

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    Some physics programs require you to do a programming language, but not all. It depends on your college. You will pick up some programming in physics, like I said. Is it enough to go straight out of school to work in software development? Probably not unless you pick up some stuff along the way.

    As an EE you'll do some programming classes, but it isn't the main focus of the program. ECE you'll have an option to do more computer science/engineering classes, but it’s still basically an EE major. For programming, software, computers, CS is what you really want; you'll do things like algorithm classes, data structures, ect. Also, the math requirements are just as stringent, if not more so. Depending on the programming you’ll probably have to pick one series of physical sciences (like physics or chem) to complete.

    So don't knock CS because of a perceived lack of math requirements— that just isn't the case. Learning a programming langauge also isn't the same as really knowing the theory behind what’s going on. It's much more complex then slapping together some syntax. Here is the basic BS in computer science at UC San Diego: http://www-cse.ucsd.edu/node/239

    The best way to do CS, is by majoring in CS.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  7. Nov 12, 2013 #6

    analogdesign

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    Typically EE courses will teach you the physics you need internal to the course. In my EM courses in EE we went over again a lot of basic EM physics, and in my solid-state devices course there was a several week introduction to very basic QM.

    If you can succeed in undergraduate physics, you can succeed in undergraduate EE, as long as you do the work.
     
  8. Nov 13, 2013 #7

    jasonRF

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    You will have the background to teach yourself most math / physics you want to know, most likely. Likewise, in your engineering job you will be constantly teaching yourself engineering you did NOT learn in school. You need to always keep learning and a good education should prepare you for that.

    Exactly what classes you can/will take can vary a LOT by institution. Some EE departments are pretty rigid and you have few options, while other departments will give you tons of options. All departments should require calc sequence, linear algebra, differential equations, 2-3 semesters of intro physics, probability theory. Within EE you will learn Fourier analysis and perhaps basic complex analysis (we spent ~4 weeks on it as part of required coursework), and may learn extra linear algebra you didn't learn in your sophomore math course. You will also have to take at least one upper division electrodynamics course; I took a couple. Where I went, many of us took a semester of quantum mechanics, as it was the pre-req for the senior level courses in solid state devices, lasers and optoelectronics, etc. I also took a couple extra semesters of math - PDEs and complex analysis, as well as analytical mechanics from the physics department. And I had NO advanced placement - folks with advanced placement had even more options.

    jason
     
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