FIRST-YEAR FOCUS

Calculus Sequences

Math 220, 224, 230, 234, and 240 form the standard sequence in calculus and linear algebra that is prerequisite for all higher mathematics courses and is required for all science and engineering majors, and for many economics majors. The sequence consists of:

    • Math 220 Differential Calculus of One-Variable Functions
    • Math 224 Integral Calculus of One-Variable Functions
    • Math 230 Differential Calculus of Multivariable Functions
    • Math 234 Multiple Integration and Vector Calculus
    • Math 240 Linear Algebra

Math 212, 213, and 214 form a sequence in single-variable calculus for students who certify that they have had little or no previous exposure to calculus and are not confident about their mathematical preparation. The sequence consists of:

    • Math 212 Single-Variable Calculus I
    • Math 213 Single-Variable Calculus II
    • Math 214 Single-Variable Calculus III

Together Math 212, 213, and 214 cover the same material as Math 220 and 224.

Before registering for Math 212, true beginners–those who have had no previous exposure to calculus whatsoever (a precalculus course is permitted)–must obtain permission to register for Math 212 from the Department of Mathematics in Lunt 201. Before registering for Math 212, students with limited exposure to calculus must obtain permission to register for Math 212 from the Director of Calculus. True beginners and those with limited calculus experience may also enroll in Math 220.

Mathematical Experience for Northwestern Undergraduates (MENU)

Mathematical Experience for Northwestern Undergraduates (MENU) is a flexible program of challenging courses designed to provide qualified undergraduates with a thorough foundation in mathematics suitable for advanced study in mathematics and its applications across a wide range of disciplines. MENU offers students an opportunity to expand their mathematical knowledge while retaining flexibility about their majors. The program is especially suited for students considering a major in mathematics, the natural sciences, or economics, although MENU attracts participants with a variety of interests and majors. The entry courses to the MENU program are:

  • Math 290-1,2,3 MENU Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus
  • Math 291-1,2,3 MENU Intensive Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus

These sequences only begin in the Fall.

Students invited to participate in MENU should give serious consideration to this option because MENU is the preferred pathway to a mathematics major or minor and is the preferred preparation for applicants to MMSS and to the Kellogg certificate programs. More information, including the differences between Math 290 and Math 291, is available at the MENU webpage.

Area II Formal Studies Distribution Requirement

Passing Math 230 or any more advanced math course with a grade of C- or better satisfies the entire WCAS Area II Formal Studies distribution requirement.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Examination Credit

Students may use one Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit to fulfill a single unit of the WCAS Area II Formal Studies distribution requirement.

EXAMINATION SCORE COURSE CREDIT
AP Mathematics AB (or AB subscore of Mathematics BC) 4, 5 Math 220-0
AP Mathematics BC below 4 see AB subscore of AP Mathematics BC
AP Mathematics BC 4, 5 Math 220-0 and Math 224-0
IB Higher Level Examination 5, 6 Math 220-0
IB Higher Level Examination 7 Math 220-0 and Math 224-0

Course Recommendations for First-Year Students

  • If you did not study calculus in high school,
    • and you do not plan to major in a discipline that requires further mathematics, but you need to satisfy the Area II Formal Studies distribution requirement, then register for
      • Math 100 Quantitative Reasoning (offered in Fall only), or
      • Math 202 Finite Mathematics (offered in Fall, Winter and Spring), or
      • Math 211 Short Course in Calculus (offered in Spring only), or
      • Math 212 Single-Variable Calculus I (offered in Fall and Winter only), or
      • Math 220 Differential Calculus of One-Variable Functions (offered in Fall and Winter only).
    • and you plan to major in science, engineering, economics or journalism, then register for
      • Math 220 Differential Calculus of One-Variable Functions (offered in Fall and Winter only), or
      • Math 212 Single-Variable Calculus I (offered in Fall and Winter only).
    • and you plan to major in a social science other than economics that requires mathematics, then register for
      • Math 202 Finite Mathematics (offered in Fall, Winter and Spring), or
      • Math 211 Short Course in Calculus (offered in Spring only), or
      • Math 220 Differential Calculus of One-Variable Functions (offered in Fall and Winter only), or
      • Math 212 Single-Variable Calculus I (offered in Fall and Winter only).
    If you studied calculus in high school,
EXAMINATION SCORE RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT OTHER POSSIBLE PLACEMENT (*)
AP Mathematics AB (or AB subscore of Mathematics BC) 4 Math 224-0 Math 230-0
AP Mathematics AB (or AB subscore of Mathematics BC) 5 Math 224-0 or 290-1 Math 230-0 or Math 291-1
AP Mathematics BC 4 Math 230-0 or 290-1 Math 291-1
AP Mathematics BC 5 Math 230-0 or 290-1 Math 291-1
IB Higher Level Examination 5, 6 Math 224-0  
IB Higher Level Examination 7 Math 230-0 or 290-1 Math 291-1
(*) after consulting with a mathematics advisor
    • and you did not take an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate mathematics examination,
      • and you have a strong interest in mathematics, and excelled in differential and integral calculus, but have not studied linear algebra and multivariable calculus, then consult the Director of MENU about appropriate placement.
      • and you have taken courses in differential and integral calculus with grades of B or higher and do not have a strong interest in mathematics, then register for Math 230 Differential Calculus of Multivariable Functions (offered Fall, Winter, and Spring).
      • and you have taken a course in differential calculus with a grade of B or higher, but you have not taken a course in integral calculus, then register for Math 224 Integral Calculus of One-Variable Functions (offered Fall, Winter, and Spring).
      • and you studied calculus outside of the United States, then consult the Director of MENU about appropriate placement.
  • You may opt to take a self-placement exam to determine whether to register for Math 220 or Math 224. 
  • If you are unsure about your appropriate placement, then contact the Director of Calculus.

Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS)

Students taking calculus after Summer 2017 are not required to take the ALEKS examination.

Contact Information

FOR SEE OFFICE EMAIL ADDRESS
Calculus placement; advice on 100- and 200- level courses Aaron Peterson, Director of Calculus Lunt B2 calculus@math.northwestern.edu
Mathematical Experience for Northwestern Undergraduates (MENU) Santiago Cañez, Director of MENU Lunt B27 menu@northwestern.edu
Advice about 300-level courses and for mathematics majors/minors; declaring a mathematics major/minor; study abroad; taking mathematics courses at other institutions; career and graduate school information John M. Alongi, Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) Lunt B3 dus@math.northwestern.edu

 To schedule an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, call the Department of Mathematics at (847) 491-3299.