First-Year Calculus


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.


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 only) - is a 1-credit course that introduces a variety of topics of algebra to prepare students for MATH 1106 or MATH 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 for Calculus I include:

  • MATH 1106 - Modeling with Calculus for the Life Sciences (spring only)
  • MATH 1110 - Calculus I

These courses have different emphases, and each takes a different perspective on the material than AP calculus classes.
MATH 1106 is an option for students whose major requires only one semester of calculus. Some topics are covered in less depth than in MATH 1110, while more advanced topics are introduced. MATH 1106 focuses on modeling using examples from the life sciences. It introduces some fundamental concepts of calculus and provides a brief introduction to differential equations.
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. It goes  in depth on the fundamental concepts of calculus, such as limits, derivatives, and integrals. It also uses more computations and algebraic manipulations by hand. 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 for Calculus II include:

  • MATH 1120 - Calculus II
  • 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 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 or physical sciences major who take MATH 1910 may decide to continue with MATH 2130 (not offered 2023-2024) or MATH 2210 rather than MATH 1920. MATH 1910 is the best preparation for MATH 1920.

Academic Support Courses

MATH 1006, MATH 1011, and MATH 1012 meet weekly to supplement lecture material, answer questions, and provide tips for effectively learning the material in MATH 1106, MATH 1110, and MATH 1120, respectively.  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.

NEXT: Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus