Math Placement

Math Placement

Guidelines for Math Placement

Below you will find descriptions of the first-year mathematics sequences, followed by the first-year mathematics requirements for each major. In general, it is recommended that the student enroll in the highest numbered mathematics course for which his or her high school preparation allows.  As a requirement of the core curriculum every student must complete two semesters of mathematics and at least one semester must be a calculus course.

Descriptions of Typical First-Year Mathematics Courses and Sequences of Courses

MA 11 Precalculus: Primary emphasis is on techniques and concepts needed for calculus. This course does not count toward the 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 16 and MA 15 or MA 17 Concepts of Calculus and Mathematics: An Exploration or Introduction to Probability and Statistics: A brief conceptual introduction to calculus and a course which explores various mathematical ideas or an elementary statistics course. MA 16 and MA 15 or MA 17 can be taken in either order.  It is assumed that the student who completes this sequence will take no other mathematics courses.  These courses are not prerequisites for any other course in mathematics.  Each course is three credits.

MA 119-120 Applied Calculus I & II: A standard applied calculus sequence, with applications to business and the life and social sciences; preparation for additional courses in mathematics, including the minor in mathematics. This sequence is somewhat similar to an AP-AB calculus course. It is highly recommended that the student have a reasonable background in high school algebra and precalculus before taking this sequence. Please note that this sequence does not assume any previous background in calculus.  Students who have taken calculus in high school should consider selecting MA 120 instead of MA 119. By doing so, the student will be able to earn a mathematics minor with only four, instead of five, courses. Students can satisfy the mathematics core requirements by completing MA 119 or MA 120 and MA 217 Accelerated Statistics.  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. Please note that this sequence does not assume any previous background in calculus. However, the student should be very comfortable with high school algebra and precalculus. Each course is four credits.

MA 171-172 Calculus I & II: A 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-BC calculus course; preparation for additional courses in mathematics, including the major and the minor in mathematics. Please note that this sequence does not assume any previous background in calculus. Students who have done well in a high school calculus course and, in particular, an AP-AB course, should consider selecting 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, includes additional topics and students learn to analyze data with the use of common 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. Required for all students in the Dolan School of Business and suggested for many science majors. This is a core mathematics course and is a typical course for students earning a minor in mathematics. Three credits.

MA 151 Functional Programming: Provides an introduction to the theory and practice of programming in the functional paradigm. No prior programming experience is required. May be taken as one of the courses in the core requirement in mathematics. MA 151 or an equivalent course is required for a major in mathematics. Three credits.

MA 273 Multivariable Calculus: This course covers the concepts of multivariable and vector calculus. Students who have done very well in a strong high school calculus course, or who will be receiving college credit for two semesters of calculus, should consider enrolling in MA 273. By doing so, the student will be able to earn a mathematics major with 12, instead of 14, mathematics courses, and a minor with three, instead of five, courses. Four credits.

College of Arts and Sciences

Majors in the Humanities and Social Sciences - BA

MA 16 & MA 15 OR MA 17            
MA 119 -120
MA 171-172
MA 273                                    

Concepts of Calculus & Mathematics: An Exploration or Introduction to Probability and Statistics
Applied Calculus I & II
Calculus I & II
Multivariable Calculus

Majors in Biology and Social Sciences - BS (Biology, Economics-BS, and Psychology-BS)

MA 119-120

MA 119-217

MA 171-172

MA 171-217

MA 273

Applied Calculus I & II

Applied Calculus I & Accelerated Statistics

Calculus I & II

Calculus I & Accelerated Statistics

Multivariable Calculus (if placement but no credit for MA 171 & MA 172)

Majors in Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics

MA 145-146

Calculus I & II for Chemistry, Engineering and Physics Majors

Majors in Mathematics

MA 171-172 & MA 151 (fall)
MA 273, MA 231 & MA 151 (fall)

Calculus I & II & Functional Programming
Multivariable Calculus, Discrete Mathematics & Functional Programming

Arts & Sciences Undeclared

It is recommended that the student enroll in the highest numbered mathematics course for which his or her high school preparation allows.

Charles F. Dolan School of Business

Majors in the Dolan School of Business (Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, International Studies-International Business, Management, Marketing, Undeclared) are required to complete a two to three-course Mathematics Business Core: MA 11 (if needed), MA 119-217 or MA 171-217. As mentioned above in the course descriptions, if a student is prepared to begin with MA 120 or MA 172, then he or she will follow that with MA 217.

(MA 11 if needed), MA 119 or MA 120 & MA 217
MA 171 or MA 172 & MA 217

(Precalculus) Applied Calc I or II & Accelerated Statistics
Calculus I or Calculus II & Accelerated Statistics

School of Engineering

MA 145-146

Calculus I & II for Chemistry, Engineering and Physics Majors

School of Nursing

Statistics is required of all students in the School of Nursing. The minimum requirement is MA 17. We recommend students with a stronger mathematics background take either MA 119, followed by MA 217, or MA 171 followed by MA 217.

MA16  & MA17                 
MA 119 & MA 217
MA 171 & MA 217

Concepts of Calculus & Introduction to Probability and Statistics
Applied Calculus I & Accelerated Statistics*
Calculus I & Accelerated Statistics*

* If, after completing MA 119 or MA 171, the student finds that he or she may have a difficult time completing MA 217, then please contact the Chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Students Who Are Still Unsure about Which Mathematics Sequence to Select

Contact: Dr. Irene Mulvey, Chair of the Department of Mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2199 or Mulvey@fairfield.edu

Advanced Placement Credit

Students who earn a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam or an AB Subscore of 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 & MA 172 Calculus I & II.

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

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