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Is Linear Algebra required in BS engineering programs in the states?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if it's required everywhere, but I can't imagine any engineering discipline where you don't need to know some basic linear algebra. Whether required or not doesn't change the fact that it's something you should know if you're going to be a engineer. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2014 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since we are engineers and not academic regulators, the question may be more answerable if rephrased as, "does there exist any BS engineering program anywhere in the USA, that does not require Linear Algebra?" As far as I know anyway, the answer would be NO. \$\endgroup\$
    – MarkU
    Dec 4, 2014 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkU Do you recommend asking this question on academia stack exchange instead? \$\endgroup\$
    – Moa
    Dec 4, 2014 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doubtful that any engineering program could omit maths from engineering and still be accredited and produce successful engineering graduates. \$\endgroup\$
    – MarkU
    Dec 4, 2014 at 22:08

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Yes. Linear algebra is required for a BS in mechanical, civil, or electrical engineering as far as the programs I'm associated with.

Edit:

But is that common in most of the schools in the states?

As it's the basis for solving so many types of problems related to engineering, I would bet that for any school worth going to, linear algebra is required. Otherwise you're learning how to perform a calculation, but not why, and then you're no better than a monkey at a keyboard.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But is that common in most of the schools in the states? \$\endgroup\$
    – Moa
    Dec 4, 2014 at 21:01
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As far as I know, yes, Linear Algebra (often in combination with differential equations) is a fundamental requirement for the "classic" engineering (mechanical, civil, electrical, chemical) programs, in addition, most likely, to the others.

I sincerely hope there aren't any programs in these fields that don't require training in linear algebra and differential equations. Topics such as linearity, matrix-based equation solving, and differential equations (with their continuation into frequency analysis) are utterly necessary to a proper understanding of the systems that engineers work with that I wouldn't trust anybody who wanted to work in these fields but didn't have at least a passing familiarity with the concepts in Linear Algebra.

Wanting to be an engineer that doesn't know linear algebra is like wanting to be a car mechanic who can't use a wrench, only more dangerous.

Specifically:

In the United States, the meaningful accreditation for engineering problems comes from an organization called ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, who have a list of requirements for programs in engineering, by discipline, here (2015-2016): http://www.abet.org/eac-criteria-2015-2016/ . Of the ~30 disciplines that they accredit, the following do not explicitly require coursework to cover Linear Algebra or differential equations: Aerospace, Agricultural, Ceramic, Chemical, Computer, Fire protection, Industrial, Manufacturing, Materials, Naval, Nuclear, Ocean, Software, Surveying, Systems

The following disciplines require differential equations but not (explicitly) linear algebra: Architectural, Biomedical, Biological, Civil, Environmental, Geological, Mechanical, Mining, Petroleum

As such, there may be accredited engineering BS programs that don't require linear algebra, but I hope there aren't, and I haven't heard of any. Any accredited Electrical engineering programs will require linear algebra.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Strongly disagree there, I haven't thought of matrices since that class, but I don't do much DSP or RF. I'd say its more like an mechanic who can't use a handheld code analyzer than a wrench. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Dec 4, 2014 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Matrices alone aren't the wrench, the wrench is the understanding of linearity that working with matrices and differential equations gives you. Lots of (most?) engineers use DiffEq (or abstractions thereof like Fourier analysis, circuits design, E-M, control systems, just among the EE folks, and optimization models for everybody), and all of those abstractions are built on linear system models that are introduced in LinAlg/DiffEq \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2014 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm talking strictly about linear algebra, diff EQ was a different class. To me, it was a waste of time doing math that really didn't make much sense or seem useful. Even diff EQ didn't really mean much until later. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Dec 4, 2014 at 21:36

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