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Electrical Engineering vs Computer Science - help?

epicramenepicramen Posts: 17Registered User New Member
edited January 2011 in Engineering Majors
So, what's the difference between an electrical engineering major and a computer science major? At some universities, they're both in the same schools, so what's the difference?
Also, could I still get an MS in computer science if I got a BS in EE?
I'm pretty new to this, sorry.

Thanks for your answers in advance :D
Post edited by epicramen on
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Replies to: Electrical Engineering vs Computer Science - help?

  • GreekfireGreekfire Posts: 343Registered User Junior Member
    This is a great question to Google or search through old College Confidential threads for, by the way. In brief: CS = software, EE = hardware. Research for more information. This is an easy question to get answers for.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 38,093Registered User Senior Member
    EE can cover power systems, signals, fields and waves, device electronics, circuits, and semiconductors. CS can cover software and theory. Both overlap somewhat in computer hardware and architecture.

    The definition and distinction between the two varies by university. In some cases, they are combined into an EECS or ECE major. In some cases, there may be two or three majors for students with different subarea interests. In other cases, a student in an EECS or ECE major can emphasize any of the possible subareas within the major.

    An EE, EECS, or ECE major program typically requires more introductory physics and electronics courses than a CS major program. However, check with the specific university to be sure.
  • JamesMadisonJamesMadison Posts: 619- Member
    It is a widely accepted fact that electrical engineering is a more rigorous and respectable discipline than computer science. I recommend you stick with CS though, because chances are you just aren't cut out for the EE world. Play it safe and get an IT job, kid.

    (hides)
  • epicramenepicramen Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    Greekfire and UCBAlumnus: Thank you guys so much for all the information. A google search provided me with a lot of different answers, so I figured that I'd ask CC! :D
    I'll go with computer science, since I like software design more than all the hardware things. :D

    JamesMadison: That's...pretty condescending, if you ask me. You're basically talking down the major and passion of many college students and adults all over the United States. Thanks anyway for your input.
  • JamesMadisonJamesMadison Posts: 619- Member
    Based on your lackluster reading comprehension, I would cross off "English" from your list as well.
  • Soon2BEngineerSoon2BEngineer Posts: 105Registered User Junior Member
    JamesMadison...what's your problem?
    If you don't want to help him, then don't answer.
  • JamesMadisonJamesMadison Posts: 619- Member
    I have many problems.
    I prefer not to help him AND to answer.
    Get over it, chump!
  • vblickvblick Posts: 464Registered User Member
    lol....walk into traffic...
  • KaleidKaleid Posts: 188Registered User Junior Member
    What I'm doing is majoring in EE and minoring in CS, which my university didn't allow until recently. The EE focuses on hardware (like previously said), and the minor in CS will focus on the software behind it.
  • silence_kitsilence_kit Posts: 1,826Registered User Senior Member
    It is a widely accepted fact that electrical engineering is a more rigorous and respectable discipline than computer science. I recommend you stick with CS though, because chances are you just aren't cut out for the EE world. Play it safe and get an IT job, kid.

    This is probably a ****, but CS at a good school is actually a lot more rigorous of a degree than EE. There is a component to the degree (computation, algorithms) that's very theoretical. The courses you take as an EE student are less rigorous than that.
  • Johnson181Johnson181 Posts: 4,158Registered User Senior Member
    There is a component to the degree (computation, algorithms) that's very theoretical. The courses you take as an EE student are less rigorous than that.
    I wouldn't use the term 'rigorous.' I know that I would do terribly in CS classes, because my mind just doesn't work that way. But one of my closest CS friends would bomb miserably in my signal processing class.
    It really is person-to-person.

    To the OP- your question has mainly been answered, but I think it's been left out that EE is more broad. UCBalumnus pointed that out well. As a EE major, I can essentially avoid CS classes entirely (with the exception of an intro class that all engineers have to take and one other) and focus on things like power.
  • silence_kitsilence_kit Posts: 1,826Registered User Senior Member
    Rigorous is a good word to use. The format of the theory CS classes goes a lot like definition -> statement -> proof. Students are expected to write proofs in their homework. In EE classes, even the more mathematical ones like E&M, control systems, and signal processing math is used a lot less formally.
  • Johnson181Johnson181 Posts: 4,158Registered User Senior Member
    Rigorous: "Extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate"

    That could be said for either, and it's on a personal basis as I said. One person may find EE more rigorous, one may find CS more rigorous. So no, rigorous is not an appropriate word.

    proofs =/= rigorous necessarily.
  • al6200al6200 Posts: 1,579Registered User Senior Member
    It is a widely accepted fact that electrical engineering is a more rigorous and respectable discipline than computer science. I recommend you stick with CS though, because chances are you just aren't cut out for the EE world. Play it safe and get an IT job, kid.

    At most schools, a CS degree isn't primarily aimed at IT jobs. For example, Stanford/MIT grads probably aren't going into IT.

    With that said, I think that EE/CS degrees are rather different. The EE degree is more specialized and prepares one for a specific career, while the CS degree is a bit broader and prepares one for several careers.
  • GShine_1989GShine_1989 Posts: 635Registered User Member
    Rigorous is a good word to use. The format of the theory CS classes goes a lot like definition -> statement -> proof. Students are expected to write proofs in their homework. In EE classes, even the more mathematical ones like E&M, control systems, and signal processing math is used a lot less formally.
    You either desperately need a dictionary or you're deliberately misusing the mathematical term in hopes that people will interpret it in the everyday sense.
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