Placement in Calculus and non-Calculus Courses
If, after reading this page, you still have unanswered questions about placement in calculus or other 100- and 200-level courses, please direct your questions to our Director of Calculus, (847) 491-5598. Questions about MENU should be sent to the Director of MENU.
Students in ISP, MMSS, and McCormick School of Engineering
Students who studied multivariable calculus or linear algebra
4, 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam, 5 on the AB exam, or 7 on the IB Mathematics HL exam
4 on the AP Calculus AB exam, or 5 or 6 on the IB Mathematics HL exam
Lower score on the AP Calculus or IB Mathematics HL exams
Took calculus, but did not take an AP Calculus or IB Mathematics HL exam
No prior calculus study
Beginning calculus sequences
Prospective social science majors
ALEKS: on line math assessment required before taking calculus
WCAS Formal Studies Requirement
Textbooks for undergraduate Math courses
- ISP, MMSS, or McCormick School of Engineering students...
- should consult their program advisers about placement in mathematics courses.
- If you have already studied linear algebra or multivariable calculus...
- consult our Director of Undergraduate Studies to determine what course to take next. You can set up an appointment with him by calling (847) 491-3299.
- If you studied calculus outside the USA ...
- you may qualify to participate in MENU and should consult the program's Director. More information is available on the MENU webpage.
- If you scored 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam, 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam, or 7 on the IB Mathematics HL exam...
- you qualify for MENU and ordinarily should enroll in 290-1 or 291-1. If you did not receive a MENU invitation, consult the Director of MENU. More information, including the differences between 290 and 291, is available on the MENU webpage. You may also enroll in Math 230, but doing so may put you at a disadvantage if you later decide to be a math major or apply to certain special admission programs. (Even though a 5 on the Calculus AB exam does not confer credit for Math 224-0, such students are often prepared for MENU or Math 230. The Directors of Calculus and MENU are available for advising on this question.)
- If you scored 4 on the AP Calculus AB exam, or 5 or 6 on the IB Mathematics HL exam...
- register for Math 224 and take the online assessment ALEKS before arriving on campus. You may first take a self-placement exam to determine whether you have enough background to register for Math 230. Further questions about your placement should be directed to the Director of Calculus.
- If you took an AP Calculus or IB Mathematics HL exam, but did not achieve one of the scores above...
- take a self-placement exam to determine whether to register for Math 220 or Math 224. You also need to take the online assessment ALEKS before arriving on campus. You may also consult the Director of Calculus.
- If you studied calculus in high school, but did not take an AP Calculus or IB Mathematics HL exam...
- take a self-placement exam to determine whether to register for Math 220 or Math 224. You also need to take the online assessment ALEKS before arriving on campus. You may also consult the Director of Calculus, or seek admission to MENU.
- If you had NO calculus in high school...
- and plan to major in science, engineering, or
register for the first course in one of our beginning calculus sequences: Math 220, or, in special cases, Math 212.
- and plan to major in a social science
other than economics which requires mathematics...
you may register (depending on your needs) for Mathematics 202, which covers topics from elementary linear algebra, probability, and elementary statistics, and/or for Math 211, a one quarter short differential and integral calculus course offered only in spring. Math 211 is not acceptable for science or economics majors. You may also take 220 or, if qualified, 212.
- and do not need or want to take any of the courses listed above, but
are interested in continuing your study of mathematics...
register for either or both the following courses which satisfy the WCAS formal studies distribution requirement
- Math 110, Introduction to Mathematics I, offered in the fall and winter
- Math 104, Introduction to Game Theory, offered in the spring.
- and plan to major in science, engineering, or economics...
Math 220 initiates a five quarter sequence (220, 224, 230, 234, 240) of courses in calculus and linear algebra which are prerequisite to all higher mathematics courses and are required for science, engineering, and many economics majors.
Math 212, 213, 214 can replace 220 and 224 for students who have had little or no previous exposure to calculus and are unsure of their mathematical preparation. True beginners -- those who can certify that they have had no prior exposure to calculus whatsoever (a precalculus course is permitted) -- may obtain permission to enroll in Math 212 from the Math Office (Lunt 201). Others with a limited background must consult the Director of Calculus for such permission. True beginners and those with a limited background may also enroll in our standard Math 220 followed by 224 which cover single-variable calculus in in less time.
Students who entered Northwestern in Fall 2006 or later may use one quarter of math AP credit to fulfill a single unit of the WCAS formal studies requirement.
Passing Math 230 (or any more advanced math course) with a grade of C- or better fulfills the entire WCAS formal studies requirement.