Theory

INFORMATION FOR NEW STUDENTS


Welcome! Getting started in the most appropriate Mathematics course for you is key to your success. We provide below information and advice about how to choose. If you have any questions after reviewing this information, please ask. Members of the Department will be available at the Academic Forum in August, and the Departmental Advisory Committee (DADCOM) is available by email. Our offerings in Statistics are described below.

The Department has the following learning goal for our students in introductory math courses: students should learn that mathematics involves understanding ideas, not simply getting the correct answer; and that mathematics is a branch of science that involves exploration with ideas rather than physical objects.

Mathematics Placement Guide. The Guide, available in your portfolio, consists of two multiple-choice sections. The first is about derivatives and the second is about integrals. Soon after you complete the Guide, a recommendation will appear in your portfolio. It is based on your answers to the questions in the Guide and on your AP Calculus score, if you have one. We have found that this recommendation is a good predictor of which calculus course or more advanced course you should take. If the recommendation makes sense to you, then sign up for that course. If you have trouble deciding between two courses, it is fine to attend both on the first day of class. You will gain a lot more information about each course from the first day.

Calculus sequences. There are three sequences that cover one-variable calculus: Math121-122, Math119-120-122, and Math117-118. Together Math121 and Math122 cover a full year of derivatives, integrals, sequences and series, including theoretical aspects. Math119 and Math120 are a two-semester sequence (an ampersand (&) course). Together they cover all of the content of Math121, emphasize applications of calculus, and also review pre-calculus topics as needed. Students who are planning to major in one of the physical sciences should choose either Math119-120-122 or Math121-122. Math117 and Math118 are intended for students who are not likely to take mathematics courses beyond the 100-level. Math117-118 together cover the same material as Math121-122.


Students who have had no significant prior exposure to calculus may choose between Math121, Math119 and Math117. Students who have completed a rigorous pre-calculus course may elect Math121. Students who have not completed a rigorous pre-calculus course may choose between Math119 and Math117.

Students who have had a significant exposure to calculus should choose between Math121, Math122 or a higher level Mathematics course. An AP score of 4 or 5 on the AB calculus exam indicates the student should begin in MATH122.

Students who have completed a year of calculus in high school may place out of one or both of MATH121 and MATH122. An AP score of 4 or 5 on the BC calculus exam indicates the student should consider beginning in any of MATH221, MATH222, or MATH223. Such students, international students who have completed the IB exam in Mathematics, and also more advanced students should consult the department for help with placement.

Members of the department are happy to answer any questions about placement, particularly at the Academic Forum. Students may also contact DADCOM by email.

Statistics. If you are interested in Statistics, you can enroll in the introductory course Math132, or complete Math221 and 222 and subsequently the major-level probability and statistics sequence Math231 and 232.