Information for First Year Students and Advisors
In the fall, the Mathematics Department offers two types of introductory-level courses, Math 101/101B (Calculus I) and Math 121 (Discrete Mathematics I), none of which depend on the others and all of which satisfy the University’s FDR: FM (Math/Comp Sci) requirement.
Math 101/101B (Calculus I)
Most entering students take one of these two versions of Calculus I. It’s required for science and economics majors and is strongly recommended for certain other majors.
- Math 101 is an introduction to the calculus of functions of one variable, including a study of limits, derivatives, extrema, integrals, and the fundamental theorem. Sections meet either 3 or 4 days a week, with material in the latter presented at a more casual pace. This course is designed for (but not restricted to) students who have seen calculus before.
- Math 101B meets 4 hours a week and is restricted to and specially tailored for those who are beginning their study of calculus. Students who have already seen calculus, yet wish to retake it, must register for MATH 101.
- You do not need to take the W&L placement test to sign up for any of these 101 courses
Note that all 101 courses cover the same general topics (limits, derivatives, and integrals) but just at slightly diﬀerent speeds, and all lead into Math 102 (Calculus II, satisfying FDR: SC) in the winter. Please also read the department's statement on calculators.
Math 121 (Discrete Mathematics I)
This course does not depend as heavily on skills taught in upper-level high-school mathematics courses as does Math 101 (Calculus I). Many topics in this course are of special value to those who also plan on taking computer-related courses. Students completing Math 121 will be eligible to take Math 122 (FDR: SC) this winter. The Math 121 and 122 sequence is a great alternative to calculus for those who do not want to learn about derivatives and integrals but who still want to get the FDR: FM and SC credits.
Enrollment in Math 101 and 121 is heavy in the Fall Term. Students planning to take one mathematics course solely to meet the University’s FDR: FM (Math/Comp Sci) requirement may wish to defer mathematics to the Winter Term (we plan on oﬀering both 101 and 121 this winter) or until the following year. Students can also meet the FDR: FM requirement without ever taking a math class; CSCI 111 and CSCI 121 both qualify.
For ﬁrst-year students with strong backgrounds in calculus, the Mathematics Department also oﬀers Math 102 (Calculus II) and Math 221/221A (Multivariable Calculus). Admission of ﬁrst-year students into these courses is granted on the basis of transfer credit or AP scores. Note however that W&L does not assign credit or determine placement based on AB subscores. Here’s how we award credit for AP scores.
- 3 on the AB Calculus Exam: no credit; student should sign up for Math 101. However, student can instead decide to register for Math 102 under our Advanced Standing placement (see below).
- 4 on the AB Calculus Exam: no credit; student should sign up for Math 101. However, student can instead register for Math 102 under our Advanced Standing placement (see below).
- 5 on the AB Calculus Exam: credit for Math 101 (FDR: FM). Student should sign up for Math 102.
- 3 on the BC Calculus Exam: no credit; student should sign up for Math 101. However, student can instead decide to register for Math 102 under our Advanced Standing placement (see below).
- 4 on the BC Calculus Exam: FDR:FM credit, but no credit for Math 101. Student is recommended to take Math 102 under our Advanced Standing placement (see below).
- 5 on the BC Calculus Exam: credit for both Math 101 (FDR: FM) and 102 (FDR: SC). Student should register for Math 221A.
If you took the IB (International Baccalaureate) Test and scored a 5, 6 or 7 then you will receive credit for Math 101 and Math 102 and you should register for Math 221A.
By the way, Math 221 and Math 221A are completely identical except that 221 is for anyone who qualiﬁes while 221A is restricted to ﬁrst-years (this gives our ﬁrst-year math students the chance to get to know their fellow ﬁrst-years).
Placement Test Information
In rare cases when students have neither AP scores nor transfer credit yet want to take an advanced course, the Department will administer a placement test during orientation on Sunday, September 2, 2018. There are two times, at 2:45pm or at 4:15pm in Robinson Hall 105.
You can only take the placement test if you
- have completed at least a half-year of calculus in high school or elsewhere, and
- have NOT taken either of the AP calculus exams (Calculus AB or BC), and
- do NOT have IB credit or calculus transfer credit, and
- wish to be placed in a higher calculus course (either 102 or 221/221A) under W&L’s Advanced Standing policy (see below).
If a student is given Advanced Standing placement in Math 102 or 221A (by way of AP scores, IB scores, or the department placement exam) and successfully completes that course Fall Term with a grade of C or better, full credit will be awarded for any calculus course(s) skipped. This Advanced Standing placement option is available only in Fall Term.
No student will be forced to register for or remain in a higher-level course against his or her wishes.
Confused? Need advice? Members of the deparment will be available to answer your questions at the Mathematics table during the Academic Fair (Tuesday, September 4, 2018 from 10am to 12pm).
Finally, for students who have already taken multivariable calculus in high school, we can place you into either diﬀerential equations (Math 332) or linear algebra (Math 222) or other courses; see the department head (Professor Alan McRae, McRaeA@wlu.edu) for details.