Summer Math Courses at Other Institutions

The math department recommends that math courses needed as a foundation for more advanced quantitative work be taken here at Princeton whenever possible. Even at peer institutions, the compressed schedule of summer courses simply cannot deliver the same depth and rigor as courses offered in the academic year. Summer math courses should be considered only as a last resort since the more superficial training they provide will put you at a disadvantage in your future quantitative work.

General Requirements

  • Courses used to satisfy the university's QR requirement must be taken here at Princeton.
  • Courses taken for Princeton credit must be real courses taken at a 4-year institution. This means NO community college, independent study, or distance learning (i.e. online) courses can be approved.
  • A single course at a school on the quarter system cannot count as a Princeton math course equivalent. Note: this includes Stanford and many other well-respected schools out west.
  • Minimal requirements (number of weeks, hours of instruction) are detailed on the ODOC summer course approval form. We strongly recommend (but do not require) that the course meet for a minimum of 36 hours over a minimum of six weeks.
  • Approval for math courses numbered 214 and higher will be considered only if there are compelling reasons to do so (such as study abroad or a course deficiency incurred during the senior year).
  • The normal deadline for summer course approvals is dean's date of the spring semester. Requests received after that date will be considered only when a last minute emergency develops.


Application/Preapproval Procedures

  1. Part 1 of your application should be the ODOC summer course approval form (available from your residential college). Complete Step One (Background Information) and attach all the documentation this form calls for. Read the form carefully to be sure you understand the university's rules and restrictions for summer courses.
  2. Part 2 of your application should give your mathematical background information. If you want to take a course like 104 or 201, explain how you have satisfied the course prerequisites (AP exams, courses taken at Princeton). It may be helpful to include scores and grades for the prerequisite courses, as well as some basic information about why you want to take a summer math course.
  3. Part 3 of your application should consist of well-organized and detailed information about the course you want approved. Minimal documentation includes: 
    1. A detailed syllabus for the course. Typically at least a page long, clearly indicating the textbook used (preferably the same one used here), which sections and topics are covered, detailed information about exams, projects, etc that will be used to assess your mastery of the course material. The more information you can provide the better. For more information about documentation see the paragraph Approval Options below.
    2. A copy of the institution's current academic calendar (showing that they use semesters, not quarters)
    3. Print out all the documentation, assemble it in logical order with the required information described above, and submit it to the placement officer Dr. Ana Menezes in Fine 510.  More complete and well-organized applications will receive priority consideration and a quicker response.


  • Electronic applications will not be considered.
  • Incomplete applications will be rejected.
  • A one paragraph list of topics from the course catalog is not sufficient documentation of the course content.
  • Sample exams are especially helpful to us.
  • Syllabus and sample exams from the regular academic year are acceptable if these are not yet available for the summer course.
  • BSE students who want approval for a summer course in Ordinary Differential Equations (to substitute for MAE305) need to apply through the MAE department, not the math department.
  • The math department does not currently offer any statistics courses, and therefore such courses will not be considered for math credit. Instead, we suggest you consult a Princeton department (such as ORFE or PSY) that does teach statistics.

Approval Options:

  • General Lower Division Credit: If we are not satisfied that the course is substantially equivalent to any Princeton math course currently offered (in both content and academic rigor), we may approve the course for general lower division credit. In that case it may be used to remove a course deficiency, counting only as general credit towards graduation.

  • Fulfilling a Requirement: For students who wish to use a summer course to replace a standard Princeton math course and fulfill deparmental or program prerequisites or requirements, a higher standard of documentation is needed. By far the most useful form of documentation is a sample final exam from a previous semester that demonstrates the academic rigor and content of the course.

    Also useful, but less definitive, is documentation that the school has an ABET-accredited engineering program and documentation that this particular course fulfills a calculus or linear algebra requirement for engineering students in that program. If you choose to provide documentation of this second type, organize this information carefully. Do not include superfluous pages and do highlight the relevant passages so we can find them easily.


Director of Undergraduate Studies, Associate Chair
Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies
Undergraduate Placement Officer