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Watering down the BSEE degree? - RF Cafe Forums

Because of the high maintenance needed to monitor and filter spammers from the RF Cafe Forums, I decided that it would be best to just archive the pages to make all the good information posted in the past available for review. It is unfortunate that the scumbags of the world ruin an otherwise useful venue for people wanting to exchanged useful ideas and views. It seems that the more formal social media like Facebook pretty much dominate this kind of venue anymore anyway, so if you would like to post something on RF Cafe's Facebook page, please do.

Below are all of the forum threads, including all the responses to the original posts.


 Post subject: Watering down the BSEE degree?
Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:20 pm 
 
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Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 451
Location: Erie, PA
Greetings:

I just read a reader-submitted letter in EE Times "Crosstalk" section from a guy lamenting the lack of rigor in today's engineering curriculums - in particular the one at his alma matter, the University of Illinois. He claims:

"...the Signals and Systems class and the first and second Circuits Analysis classes have all been replaced by a single Analog Signal Processing class. In addition, the Electronic Circuits class is now optional."

That is pretty sad if true. I recall taking two semesters of Signals and Systems as well as two semesters of Circuits Analysis. It is hard to imagine how an engineer can be properly prepared for the design world without them. What say ye? Is his claim typical?

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 Post subject: Re: Watering down the BSEE degree?
Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:29 pm 
 
Lieutenant

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 3:51 pm
Posts: 2
Kirt Blattenberger wrote:
Greetings:

I just read a reader-submitted letter in EE Times "Crosstalk" section from a guy lamenting the lack of rigor in today's engineering curriculums - in particular the one at his alma matter, the University of Illinois. He claims:

"...the Signals and Systems class and the first and second Circuits Analysis classes have all been replaced by a single Analog Signal Processing class. In addition, the Electronic Circuits class is now optional."

That is pretty sad if true. I recall taking two semesters of Signals and Systems as well as two semesters of Circuits Analysis. It is hard to imagine how an engineer can be properly prepared for the design world without them. What say ye? Is his claim typical?


I think universities are now focusing a lot more on the fundamental concepts in engineering for its students, especially at the undergraduate level. It is very hard to be a prepared candidate for any kind of design job out of school, again especially for a BSEE because a lot of the experience had to come from real work experience or simply just the years spent in the field. 4 or 6 years or BSEE or MSEE is not enough to do that. I am a recent graduate from a UC school and my school has planned to get rid of 1 out of the 2 analog circuit design courses, and some other circuit courses will no longer be a requirement to get a degree. So, i guess if one really wants to learn design, he/she will have to dedicate theirselves to not just meeting the graduation requirement, but to learn as much as possible.


 
   
 
 Post subject:
Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 4:26 pm 
 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:27 am
Posts: 13
Location: Dallas, TX
Hello All,

I go to a top 20 US school as an EE Ph.D. student and went to the same university for my B.S. in EE. I think that my university does an okay job at preparing it's students from my experience in dealing with others from different universities in my professional career and through conferences.

One thing that happens with US schools is attempting to develop well-rounded individuals by having them take Social Sciences, Economics, Government, Physical Education, Performing Arts, etc. courses which have to take the place of the courses an electrical engineer would consider to be fundamental (DSP, analog circuits, control theory, etc.). So, the individuals in charge of deciding the curriculum for undergraduates have to worry about making the students not just good engineers, but also be socially aware so they can be better at seeing the 'big picture' in the world. Instead of appeasing the US/state governments and just adding the additional courses onto the almost necessary engineering courses, they have to drop these courses which are deemed 'unnecessary' or additional to make sure students will graduate faster. For certain state schools, this is needed because new students (and hence new funding from the state) cannot be obtained until the older students graduate. So, rather than doing what may need to be done (extending the B.S. EE degree from 4 years to 5 years), the degrees get watered down.

This is part of the reason why it is now almost necessary to obtain a master's degree to compete in industry. There is just not enough time to learn all of the fundamentals one is required to do in a 4 year program. I have noticed that some (definitely not all and not the majority) of European schools take an approach where the first degree requirements are more strict which eventually leads to a higher quality engineer.

Another interesting point is noting that what is considered 'fundamental' in today's engineering field is not the same thing that was considered fundamental 20 to 40 years ago. All of the new theory, discoveries, inventions, etc. that have been developed in the past few decades has led to an increased amount of complexity in what a student is now required to know and therefore makes it somewhat more difficult to focus in as great of detail as one used to on certain topics. This seems to be a growing trend in all major US (and probably throughout the world) universities and will more than likely lead to a major revamp of what the curriculum calls for.

(Good relevant topic. I really enjoyed this one!)

J


 
   
 
 Post subject:
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:45 pm 
 
Lieutenant
 

Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:07 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Colorado
I haven't looked at programs other than those available locally in the Denver metropolitan area, but at the University of Colorado - Denver, they are still requiring two semesters of circuits analysis, including a laboratory. They seem to have combined signals and systems with electronic circuits into two classes and a lab, but the topics are covered based on reading the course catalog description.

What I am noticing is that a few institutions are beginning to cater to the computing crowd, which may be accounting for these changes?

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Matthew E. Engelbrecht
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 Post subject:
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:12 pm 
 
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Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 451
Location: Erie, PA
Greetings:

Thanks for the inputs. So, it does appear that the BSEE curriculum is being somewhat watered down somewhat with extraneous classes that do not necesarily apply. There has been discussion for a quite a while about whether the time has come to make engineering a 5-year program. Unfortunately, doing so would probably discourage even more people from entering the field.

From a practical standpoint, it would make sense instead to cut back on the "rounding out" courses and teach more engineering and science courses within the existing 4-year period. I resented being made to take foreign language courses, and even petitioned the department to allow me to take additional computer programming language courses in their stead, but they was through my ploy.

Hmmm...less rounded engineering students are sharper by definition, aren't they? :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Watering down the BSEE degree?
Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:39 pm 
 
Lieutenant

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:27 am
Posts: 3
At the university that I attended Circuits I(with Lab), Circuits II(with Lab), Electronics(with Lab), and Signals&Systems are all still required courses. Along, with a Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Design class, but I didn't go to a tier 1 research institution.




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