Santa Clara University

Mathematics and Computer Science department

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

About First Mathematics Courses

 

What are appropriate beginning math courses for my major?

Engineering Majors:
All engineering students must take the four quarter Calculus sequence for Science and Engineering Majors, Math 11, 12, 13, and 14.
Natural/Physical/Health Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science:
Students majoring in these disciplines take the Calculus sequence for Science and Engineering majors. At minimum, they take Math 11 and 12. Individual programs may also require Math 13 and, perhaps, Math 14 as well.
Business Majors:
Business majors may take either the Business Calculus sequence (Math 30 and 31), or the first two courses in the Science/Engineering Calculus sequence (Math 11 and 12).
Social Sciences:
Anthropology majors take an introductory statistics course from any department (Math 8 is one option). If majors do not take Math 8 as their statistics course, they must take some other introductory mathematics course (except Math 9, 44, and 45) for which they are qualified*.
Economics majors in the College of Arts and Sciences may take the first two courses in the Science/Engineering Calculus sequence (Math 11 and 12) or the two-course Business Calculus sequence (Math 30 and 31).
Political Science majors must take two mathematics courses from these options: Math 6 (Finite Math.) and 11 (Science/Engineering Calculus I); Math 6 (Finite Math.) and 8 (Statistics); Math 8 (Statistics) and 11 (Calculus I); Math 11 and 12 (Science/Engineering Calculus I and II); or Math 30 and 31 (Business Calculus I and II).
Psychology majors normally take Math 6 (Finite Math.) and Math 8 (Statistics). Those with an emphasis in psychobiology take Math 11 and 12.
Sociology majors may take any introductory mathematics course (except Math 9, 44, and 45) for which they are qualified*.

*Math 6 (Finite Math for Social Science) is taken by Psychology majors and many Political Science majors and is designed for other Social Science majors as well.

Arts and Humanities:
Students majoring in Arts or Humanities are free to take any introductory course (except Math 9, 44, and 45) to fulfill the Mathematics Core requirement. Math 4 (The Nature of Mathematics) is specifically designed for non-technical majors.

 

What books are used for the Science/Engineering Calculus Courses?

Math 11, 12, 13, and 14 use the two-volume Thomas' Calculus: Early Transcendentals by Weir and Hass (Addison-Wesley/Pearson Publishers). Books sold at Santa Clara also come bundled with an access code to MyMathLab, a set of on-line resources which may be used by some of the instructors (including the option for on-line homework). Students who purchase the text elsewhere may need to purchase access to MyMathLab independently with little or no cost savings.

NOTE: Included with the electronic resources of MyMathLab are electronic copies of both volumes of Thomas' Calculus, for those students who wish to use an e-book rather than a paper copy.

 

What about Advanced Placement Exam credit?

Full details about Advanced Placement Exam credit can be found at http://www.scu.edu/academics/bulletins/undergraduate/Academic-Credit-Evaluation.cfm.

To summarize, until the end of the 2012-2013 academic year,

  • Calculus AB Exam: score of 4 or 5 ==> Credit for Math 11 and 12, or for Math 30 and 31
  • Calculus BC Exam: score of 3 ==> Credit for Math 11, or for Math 30
  • Calculus BC Exam: score of 4 or 5 ==> Credit for Math 11, 12, and 13, or for Math 30, 31, 13
  • Statistics Exam: score of 4 or 5 ==> Credit for Math 8 or OMIS 40.
Starting in Fall 2013, AP Credit will be given in this manner:
  • Calculus AB Exam: score of 4 or 5 ==> Credit for Math 11 or for Math 30, and 4 additional units of elective credit
  • Calculus BC Exam: score of 3 ==> Credit for Math 11 or for Math 30
  • Calculus BC Exam: score of 4 or 5 ==> Credit for Math 11 and 12, or for Math 30 and 31, and 4 additional units of elective credit
  • Statistics Exam credit is unchanged.
Students who received credit for calculus courses via AP exam do not need to take the "Calculus Readiness Exam," and may register for the next mathematics course in the calculus sequence.

 

What about the "International Baccalaureate (IB)" program?

A student who has taken Topic 8 of the Mathematics Higher Level International Baccalaureate (IB)and received a score of 6 or 7 on their examination will receive credit for Math 8 (Statistics) at Santa Clara. A student who has taken other options of the Higher Level Math IB will receive 4 units of elective credit.

 

What about the "Calculus Readiness Exam (CRE)"?

Complete information about the Calculus Readiness Exam ("CRE") can be found at http://www.scu.edu/orientation/calctest/index.cfm.

To summarize,

  1. Only those who must enroll in Math 11 or 30 (i.e., majors in science, engineering, or business) need to take the CRE before registering;
  2. The test has 33 questions and should take no more than 50 minutes;
  3. Students scoring 19 correct or more are well qualified to take Math 11 or Math 30;
  4. Students scoring 16, 17 or 18 may take Math 11 or 30, but reviewing precalculus topics is recommended;
  5. Students scoring 14 or 15 should probably take Math 9 (Precalculus) unless there are special reasons explaining the low score (these should be discussed with a faculty member in the Mathematics and Computer Science Dept);
  6. Students scoring 13 or lower should definitely take Math 9 (Precalculus). (In some cases, a course in Algebra at a community college may be advisable before taking Math 9.)
Students who are not planning on taking Math 11 or 30 are not required to take the CRE. Students who are qualified (e.g., via AP exam) to go into a more advanced calculus course (e.g., Math 12 or 31) are also not required to take the CRE.You must take the Calculus Readiness Exam if you plan on registering for Math 11 or 30 (or take Math 9).

 

What is "Math 9" (Precalculus)?

Math 9, Precalculus, is a course designed to review algebra and trigonometry topics for those who must take Calculus I (either Math 11 or Math 30), and are not well-enough prepared. The topics covered are normally part of a high school mathematics curriculum. The expectation is that most students will not need to take Precalculus, since they are well-enough prepared, mathematically, to study the technical major they have chosen (i.e., engineering, business, or science). Precalculus is not intended for anyone other than Engineering, Science, Economics, or Business majors, and does not fulfill any University requirement.

Students who do choose to take Math 9 (because of their CRE score) should discuss their situation with an advisor in their chosen major (or a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science). Students may have difficulties with elementary algebra for many reasons. Advisors can help students experiencing certain problems with mathematics discern whether a technical major is a realistic choice for their college career.

 

What should I do if I received low math scores on my SAT/ACT exam and on the "Calculus Readiness Exam"?

Santa Clara University wants students to enroll in mathematics courses appropriate to their abilities and their majors. Students who enroll in a course which is not required for their major (or minor) or for which they are ill-prepared often end up withdrawing from the course and falling behind in their progress toward graduation.

Although Santa Clara University has no mandatory rules about minimum SAT/ACT or CRE scores as prerequisites for introductory mathematics courses, here are some general guidelines for Calculus and Precalculus courses based on what is published at other schools (e.g., Univ. of Miami or Seattle Univ. or Washington State Univ.).

The minimal Math SAT score to take Calculus I is around 680 (or 30 on the ACT exam).
The minimal Math SAT score to take Precalculus is around 580 (or 23 on the ACT exam).

Santa Clara University does not offer any mathematics course preparatory to Precalculus (Math 9). Thus, if a student scores low on the Math SAT/ACT and the CRE (e.g., 550 or below on the SAT [22 or below on the ACT], and 9 or below on the CRE) and needs to take Calculus for his or her major, we strongly recommend that such a student enroll in, and complete, an Intermediate Algebra course at a community college or other college offering such a course before enrolling in Precalculus at Santa Clara University.

 

How can I test my "pre-calculus" knowledge or review basic algebra or trigonometry?

Students who want to test their knowledge of pre-calculus subjects may wish to take sample exams created at other universities, such as:

http://www.math.umd.edu/undergraduate/credit/placement/index.cgi (Univ. Maryland)
http://math.berkeley.edu/courses/choosing/placement-exam (Univ. California, Berkeley)
http://mathonline.missouri.edu/mucgi-bin//munew.cgi?variable=calcready (Univ. Missouri)

Students who want to review topics from algebra and trigonometry may wish to review on-line videos available via:

http://justmathtutoring.com/page17.html (Algebra topics)
http://justmathtutoring.com/page12.html (Trigonometry topics)


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