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Shortcut or bad idea?

  1. May 27, 2010 #1
    I just finished my sophomore year majoring in EE at a top 5 school. I want to get a phd involving systems modeling, probably EE signals/controls, maybe others as well. I need help deciding between 4 routes:

    1) take my time and stick with EE. Problem is that I only like signals and really hate electronics and digital design, which will take up couple more quarters. After that life should be good. I'll graduate at same time as everyone else, and apply to grad school as senior.

    This takes the most effort but I feel I've the best shot at grad school and good funding. Plus I can explore more areas.

    2A) be lazy and major in math (which I enjoy) and only minor in EE signals. Finish next fall (2 quarters early). apply to grad school as senior.

    This is a little faster and more enjoyable, but I'm worried that only minoring instead of majoring in EE will weaken my chances. Is this true?

    2B) Same as above, but use next summer to finish by then. This way, I can apply to grad school this year as junior.

    I'll have even weaker stats, but I get to start my Phd a year earlier somewhere (probably not optimal place or funding).

    3) be laziest and only major in math, graduate by end of next spring, and start my school's coterminal MS in EE. Do more research, and apply as a masters down the road.

    This is the fastest route, assuming I get to transfer my masters credits. I take the fewest undergrad classes, but I've also less opportunity to explore. I'll have more research, but the bar is higher for masters applicants, and it may be even harder to get into a top school. Is this true?

    What should I do? I feel I'm trying to optimize my life w/ all these shortcut paths that may or may not work. Maybe I should just enjoy life as it goes by instead of rushing ahead in my career... Sorry for the long post. Thank you all.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2010 #2
    Well yeah, especially if you don't have outside responsibilities (like a family to support.)

    You need to know this stuff if you're serious about control theory, 'cause applied control is all about the circuit.

    If you're just into systems modeling with a signal processing, well that shows up in CS, math, and physics (and systems modeling also shows up in poli sci and psychlogy?) , so do you have a good reason for doing a phd in EE when you can just do systems research while doing a phd in just about anything?

    Talk to your research adviser, and if he doesn't know the US phd system, find someone else to bug. If you don't have a research adviser, do some research to figure out if you're into it.
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