Math Placement

Math Placement

Under the Magis Core Curriculum, that takes effect with the Class of 2023, all students take at least one mathematics course and may opt to take an additional mathematics course for Magis core credit. There are a wide variety of courses to choose from, although many majors and programs require specific mathematics courses.

Beginning mathematics classes and sequences of classes are described below, followed by the beginning mathematics requirements or recommendations by major. Students are expected to enroll in the highest numbered course for which his or her high school preparation allows.

 

Descriptions of First-Year Mathematics Courses (See the course catalog for more specific course descriptions)

MA 11 Precalculus: Primary emphasis is on techniques and concepts needed for calculus. This course does not count toward the Magis core mathematics requirement, and is meant to be taken only by students who are required to take MA 119, MA 145 or MA 171 for their majors, but who do not have a strong enough mathematical background. Three credits.

MA 15 Mathematics: An Exploration: This course introduces a variety of interesting ideas in mathematics at an elementary level. It is meant for the student who would like to fulfill a math core requirement and does not need to take mathematics for the major. Three credits.

MA 16 Concepts of Calculus: A brief, low-level, conceptual introduction to calculus that introduces the ideas of differentiation and integration and shows how they are related. It is meant for the student who would like to fulfill a math core requirement and does not need to take a particular mathematics course for the major. Three credits.

MA 17 Introduction to Probability and Statistics: An introduction to key ideas of elementary statistics. It is meant for the student who would like to fulfill a math core requirement and does not need to take a particular mathematics course for the major. Three credits.

MA 119 – MA 120 Applied Calculus I & II: A standard applied calculus sequence, with applications to business and the life and social sciences. This course is preparation for additional courses in mathematics, and satisfies requirements for the math minor. This sequence does not assume any previous knowledge of calculus. Students should be comfortable with high school algebra and precalculus. Each course is three credits.

MA 145 - 146 Calculus I & II for Chemistry, Engineering and Physics Majors: These courses provide the necessary preparation for the additional courses in mathematics required for a student majoring in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics or Engineering. This sequence does not assume any previous knowledge of calculus. Students should be comfortable with high school algebra and precalculus. Each course is four credits.

MA 171-172 Calculus I & II: An excellent and rigorous calculus sequence for those who have had at least a strong precalculus background from high school and an interest in and aptitude for mathematics; similar to an AP calculus course; preparation for additional courses in mathematics, including the major and the minor in mathematics. This sequence does not assume any previous knowledge of calculus. Students who have done well in a high school calculus course and, in particular, an AP course, may consider MA 172, instead of MA 171. By doing so, the student will be able to earn a mathematics major with 13, instead of 14, mathematics courses, and a minor with four instead of five courses. Each course is four credits.

MA 217 Accelerated Statistics: This course is a faster-paced introduction to statistics than MA 17. It includes additional topics, and students learn to analyze data with the use of standard software packages. Calculus (at least MA 119, MA 145 or MA 171) is a prerequisite. Students typically take MA 217 during their sophomore or junior year. MA 217 is required for all students in the Dolan School of Business, and suggested for many science majors. This core math course is often taken by students minoring in math.

MA 221 Applied Calculus III: For a student who has placed out of the first year of Calculus due to AP credits or course work. This is a course in multivariable calculus with applications to business, life sciences and social sciences. This course satisfies requirements for the math minor. Three credits.

MA 245 Calculus III for Chemistry, Engineering and Physics Majors: For a student who has placed out of first year Calculus due to AP credits or course work. This is a course in multivariable calculus designed for students majoring in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics or Engineering. Four credits.

MA 273 Multivariable Calculus: For a student who has placed out of first year Calculus due to AP credits or course work. This is an excellent and rigorous course in several variable calculus for students with strong aptitude and interest in mathematics. Four credits.

MA 231 Discrete Mathematics: For students with a very strong aptitude and interest in mathematics. This course introduces fundamental mathematical concepts at a high level including sets, functions, equivalence relations and partitions, the principle of mathematical induction, and countability. Three credits.

 

Suggested Courses By Major and Program

Majors in the Humanities and BA Degrees:

MA 15, MA 16, MA 17, MA 119, MA 120, MA 171, MA 172, MA 221, MA 273

Majors in Biology and BS Degrees in Economics and Psychology:

MA 119, MA 120, MA 171, MA 172, MA 217

Majors in Mathematics:

MA 171, MA 172, MA 273, MA 231

School of Engineering and Majors in Biochemistry, Chemistry:

MA 145, MA 171

Dolan School of Business, Including BS in Economics and Business undeclared:

MA 119, MA 171, MA 217; MA 11, only if needed

Egan School of Nursing:

MA 16, MA 17, MA 119, MA 217

 

Still Have Questions?

Students who are unsure about which mathematics course to select should contact Dr. Irene Mulvey, Chair of the Mathematics Department at mulvey@fairfield.edu.

 

Advanced Placement Credit

Students who earn a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam or a score of 4 or 5 for the AB sub-score on the AP Calculus BC exam earn 4 credits for MA 171 Calculus I. Students who earn a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam earn 8 credits for MA 171 Calculus I and MA 172 Calculus II.

After AP scores are received in the summer, if a student earns a score of 4 or 5, they will be contacted about adjusting their schedules as needed.

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