Undergraduate Program: First Year Focus
Why study mathematics?
Mathematics, often celebrated as the "Queen of the Sciences," has long been a basic tool in the physical sciences, engineering, and commerce. Today, it is also used in sophisticated ways in the social sciences and humanities. Students majoring in mathematics have the opportunity to learn about its diverse applications, as well as acquiring an understanding of both the foundations and the frontiers of the discipline.
Many students, understanding the importance of mathematical preparation for careers outside of mathematics, choose a second major or a minor in mathematics, and the department is prepared to guide their course selection with those goals in mind.
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.
|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
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 to
determine what course to take next. You can set up an appointment by
calling (847) 491-3299.
- 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. 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? Make an appointment with the appropriate person below.
|FOR||SEE||OFFICE||PHONE, EMAIL ADDRESS|
|Calculus placement; advice on 100- and 200- level courses||Martina Bode, Director of Calculus||Lunt 229||(847) 491-5598
|MENU program||John Alongi, Director of MENU||Lunt B3||(847) 491-3299
|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 308||(847) 491-3299
If you took AP or IB exams...
|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
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.
- 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.
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.