Overview of Lower Division Courses

Our math placement information for freshmen will be reviewed and updated in July 2017. We anticipate no big changes beyond minor adjustments based on the revised SAT exam and inclusion of recommendations based on ACT scores.

General Information for Freshmen and Sophomores:

Most freshmen and sophomores interested in science, engineering or finance take courses from the standard calculus and linear algebra sequence 103-104-201-202 which emphasizes concrete computations over more theoretical considerations.  Note that 201 and 202 can be taken in either order. More mathematically inclined students, especially prospective physics majors, may opt to replace 201-202 with 203-204 for greater emphasis on theory and more challenging computational problems.

Students who are not prepared to begin with 103 may take 100, a rigorous precalculus/prestatistics refresher offered only in the fall semester and intended for students whose highest math SAT score is below 650. 

Prospective economics majors can (minimally) fulfill their mathematical prerequisites with (100)-103-175.  175 covers selected topics from 201, with biology and economics applications in mind.  Students who wish to take ECO312, pursue graduate studies in economics or finance, or pursue a finance certificate are strongly advised to take 201-202 instead of 175.

Prospective mathematics majors must take at least one course introducing formal mathematical argument and rigorous proofs.  The recommended freshman sequence for prospective majors is 215-217.  Prospective majors who already have substantial experience with university-level proof-based analysis courses may consider the accelerated sequence 216-218 instead.  Other possible sequences for prospective majors include 214-204-203 and 203-204-215, although the latter two are relatively rare.  Note that 203 and 204 can be taken in either order.

Students who start in the 103-104-201-202 sequence sometimes decide to pursue mathematics as a major.  Such students should consult the placement officer or the associate departmental representative as early as possible.

Placement Overview:

Students with little or no background in calculus are placed in 103, or in 100 if their SAT mathematics scores indicate insufficient background in precalculus topics.  To qualify for placement in 104 or 175, a student should score 5 on the AB Advanced Placement Examination or a 4 on the BC Advanced Placement Examination.  To qualify for placement into 201 or 202, a student should have a score of 5 on the BC Examination.  Students who possess in addition a particularly strong interest in mathematics as well as a SAT mathematics score of at least 750 may opt for 203 or 214 or 215 or 216 instead.  


Undergraduate Placement Officer