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) 467-0485. 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
- Foreign students
- 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
- Beginning calculus sequences
- 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.
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.
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.)
register for Math 224. 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.
take a self-placement exam to determine whether to register for Math 220 or Math 224. If you are unsure which course is correct for you, please consult with the Director of Calculus. You may also seek admission for MENU.
- 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. If you are unsure about which course is correct for you, please consult with the Director of Calculus.
- 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. If you are unsure about which course is correct for you, please consult with the Director of Calculus.
- 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 the following course which satisfies the WCAS formal studies distribution requirement:
- Math 100, Quantitative Reasoning, offered in the fall
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.