First Steps in Math

Answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning freshman-sophomore mathematics courses can be found within these pages.

This guide, while informative, cannot replace a meaningful conversation with a math advisor. Members of the undergraduate advising committee are available to help you sort through your options.

Advanced Placement and Transfer Credit

Advanced placement credit can be used to place out of one or two semesters of calculus.  If your AP score is not yet available but you feel comfortable with your performance on the test, assume credit will be awarded and pre-enroll accordingly. Placement tests are also offered at Cornell during fall or spring orientation. Refer to Advanced Placement Credit for Calculus for placement information and dates and times for the Cornell exams.

The linear algebra and multivariable calculus courses that we offer (MATH 1920, MATH 2210, MATH 2220, MATH 2310, and MATH 2940) cover considerably more material and in considerably greater depth than what is covered in high school courses. Students who have taken college courses in one or both of these subjects may apply for transfer credit to place out of equivalent Cornell courses. Students who have completed a rigorous course in multivariable calculus that is not transferable may take the Engineering Math Advanced Standing Exam. There is no placement test for linear algebra, and it should be noted that 4000-level linear algebra courses are generally not regarded as meeting the prerequisite for the math major or minor.