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First-Year Calculus

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Prospective math, science, computer science, economics, and engineering majors will all need some calculus and are advised to get an early start on this requirement. Students with one semester of advanced placement or transfer credit for calculus are advised to take a second semester of calculus immediately rather than postponing it.  The material is fresher in the mind, and the instructor will give more review in the fall than in the spring.

Alternatives to Calculus

There are many options other than calculus for students who simply need one or two math courses to fulfill a general requirement. Examples are included under Mathematics for the Arts & Sciences Student.


The standard prerequisite for freshman-level calculus is three years of high school mathematics, including trigonometry and logarithms.  Students who need to take calculus but are lacking the necessary prerequisites should start with a precalculus course. MATH 1101: Calculus Preparation (fall or spring) is a 1-credit course that introduces a variety of topics of algebra to prepare students for MATH 1106 or 1110.

Calculus I: Derivatives

Students who need to take calculus and do not have (or wish to forfeit) AP credit, should start with Calculus I. Options include:

  • MATH 1106: Calculus for the Life and Social Sciences (spring only)
  • MATH 1110: Calculus I

MATH 1110 is the best choice for students who plan to take more calculus and is recommended for students who aren't sure about their plans but want to keep their options open. MATH 1106 is a one-semester introduction to calculus using examples from biology and the social sciences; it is taught at a somewhat more elementary level than MATH 1110, and the material emphasized in the two courses is different.  Students who do very well in MATH 1106 may continue with MATH 1120, but some extra study will be necessary between semesters.

Calculus II: Integrals and Series

After taking Calculus I or earning a 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam (or equivalent), students typically continue with Calculus II. Options include:

  • MATH 1120: Calculus II
  • MATH 1220: Honors Calculus II (fall only)
  • MATH 1910: Calculus for Engineers

MATH 1120 is a good choice for students who need a standard second-semester calculus course and may or may not continue with more advanced mathematics courses.

MATH 1220 covers essentially the same topics as 1120 but does so in greater depth and at a more theoretical level, providing a more thorough introduction to the foundations of calculus, especially with regard to certain important topics such as infinite series. Students in MATH 1220 invest considerably more time and effort on coursework and are responsible for learning a significant amount of material independently.

MATH 1910 is the first course in a sequence designed for engineers that assumes familiarity with differential calculus as taught in MATH 1110.  Students not in an engineering program who take MATH 1910 may decide to continue with MATH 2130 or 2210 rather than 1920, but MATH 1910 is the best preparation for MATH 1920.

Academic Support Courses

MATH 1006, 1011, and 1012 meet weekly to supplement lecture material, answer questions, and provide tips for effectively learning the material in MATH 1106, 1110, and 1120.  There are no exams or homework assignments.  Students who enroll in a support course receive tutoring services and one credit with an S/U grade determined by attendance.  (See course descriptions for details about credit and academic standing.)  Students who do not wish to enroll are invited to attend the classes but cannot utilize the tutoring services.