First Year Focus

AP & IB Exam Credit

Students may use one quarter of math AP or IB credit to fulfill a single unit of the WCAS Area II (formal studies) distribution requirement.
Passing Math 230 or any more advanced math course with a grade of C- or better fulfills the entire WCAS Area II (formal studies) distribution requirement.
EXAM SCORE COURSE CREDIT
Mathematics AB (or AB subscore of Mathematics BC) 4, 5 Math 220-0
Mathematics BC below 4 see Mathematics AB
Mathematics BC 4, 5  Math 220-0 and Math 224-0
IB Higher Level Exam 5, 6 Math 220-0
IB Higher Level Exam 7 Math 220-0 and Math 224-0

Course recommendations for First-Year Students

  • If you are a student in ISPMMSS, or the McCormick School of Engineering, your math requirements are set by your program. Consult your program advisers about placement in mathematics courses. 
  • If you have already studied multivariable calculus or linear algebra, consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies (see the table below) to determine what course to take next. 
  • If you took AP or IB exams 
  • If you did not take AP or IB exams 
  • If you studied calculus outside the USA, you may qualify to participate in MENU and should consult the program's Director (see the table below). More information is available on the MENU webpage.

If you have studied some single variable calculus but are unsure about placement, take the self placement exam

Questions? Email the appropiate person below.  To make an appointment for an in-person discussion, call the math office at (847) 491-3299.

FOR

SEE

OFFICE

EMAIL ADDRESS

Calculus placement; advice on 100- and 200- level courses

Director of Calculus

Lunt 204, Lunt B27

calculus@math.northwestern.edu

MENU program

John Alongi, Director of MENU

Lunt B3

menu@northwestern.edu

Advising about 300-level courses and for math majors/minors; declaring a math major/minor; study abroad; taking math courses away from NU; math career and graduate school information

Michael R. Stein, Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

Lunt 228

dus@math.northwestern.edu

If you took AP or IB exams...

Placement Recommendations

EXAM

SCORE

Recommended Placement

Other Possible Placement (*)

Mathematics AB (or AB subscore of Mathematics BC)

4

Math 224

Math 230

Mathematics AB (or AB subscore of Mathematics BC)

5

Math 224, 230 or 290-1

Mathematics BC

4

Math 290-1 or 291-1

Math 230

Mathematics BC

5

Math 290-1 or 291-1

Math 230

IB Higher Level Exam

5,6

Math 224

IB Higher Level Exam

7

Math 290-1 or 291-1

Math 230

(*) to be determined in consultation with a math adviser

Math 290 and 291 are the entry courses in our MENU program. Students invited to join MENU (based on their AP or IB scores) should give serious consideration to this option, since MENU is the preferred pathway to a math major or minor and the preferred prerequisite for applicants to MMSS and the Kellogg certificate programs. More information, including the differences between 290 and 291, is available on the MENU webpage.

If you did not take AP or IB exams...

  • If you studied calculus in high school, 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 economics... register for the first course in one of our beginning calculus sequences: Math 220, or 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 (topics from elementary linear algebra, probability, 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 212. 
    • and do not need 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.

Beginning calculus sequences

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 unconfident about 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.