Information for First Year Students and Advisors

jFall introductory coursesMore advanced courses for FYsAdvanced Standing — Calculator Info


Fall Term Introductory-Level Courses (no placement test needed)

Every year, the Mathematics Department offers several types of introductory-level courses, none of which depend on the others and all of which satisfy the University’s FM requirement. Students can enroll directly into any of these classes, no placement tests are needed.

If you are pre-health, or are considering majoring in math, physics, or engineering, then please sign up for Math 101. (If you already have credit for Calculus I, see below.)

  • Math 101 Calculus I.
    • Offered every Fall and Winter.
    • Sections meet either 3 or 4 days a week, with material in the latter presented at a more casual pace.

If you don't need Calculus for your major, the following courses also satisfy the FM requirement and are strongly recommended.

  • Math 100 The Art of Mathematical Thinking.
    • Offered every Fall and Winter.
    • Topics vary. This course gives you a new perspective into the world of mathematics while also developing your analytical reasoning skills. 
  • Math 118 Introduction to Statistics.
    • Offered most Winter semesters.
    •  Elementary probability and counting. Mean and variance of discrete and continuous random variables. Central Limit Theorem. Confidence intervals and hypothesis tests concerning parameters of one or two normal populations.
  • Math 121 Discrete Mathematics.
    • Offered most Fall semesters.
    • A study of concepts fundamental to the analysis of finite mathematical structures and processes. These include logic and sets, algorithms, induction, the binomial theorem, and combinatorics.
  • Students can also meet the FM requirement without ever taking a math class:  CSCI 101, CSCI 111 and DCI 202 all qualify.

REGISTRATION TIP: Enrollment in all of the FM courses is heavy in the Fall Term. Students planning to take one FM course solely to meet the University’s FM requirement may wish to defer mathematics to the Winter Term, or until the following year.

More Advanced Courses for First-Year Students (placement test sometimes, but rarely, needed)

For first-year students with strong backgrounds in calculus, the Mathematics Department also offers

  • Math 102 (Calculus II),
  • Math 201 (Bridges to Advanced Mathematics),
  • Math 221 (Multivariable Calculus),
  • Math 222 (Linear Algebra).

Admission of first-year students into these courses is granted on the basis of transfer credit, AP or IB scores, or a placement test.  Note that W&L does not assign credit nor determine placement based on AB subscores.  Here’s how we award credit for AP scores.

  • 3 on the AB Calculus Exam: no credit; student should sign up for Math 101. However, student can instead decide to register for Math 102 under our Advanced Standing placement (see below).
  • 4 on the AB Calculus Exam: no credit; student should sign up for Math 101. However, student can instead register for Math 102 under our Advanced Standing placement (see below).
  • 5 on the AB Calculus Exam: credit for Math 101 (FDR: FM). Student should sign up for Math 102.
  • 3 on the BC Calculus Exam: no credit; student should sign up for Math 101. However, student can instead decide to register for Math 102 under our Advanced Standing placement (see below).
  • 4 on the BC Calculus Exam: FDR:FM credit, but no credit for Math 101. Student is recommended to take Math 102 under our Advanced Standing placement (see below).
  • 5 on the BC Calculus Exam: credit for both Math 101 (FDR: FM) and 102 (FDR: SC). Student should register for Math 221, Math 222, or Math 201.

If you took the IB (International Baccalaureate) Test and scored a 5, 6 or 7 then you will receive credit for Math 101 and you should register for Math 102.

Placement Test Information

In rare cases when students have neither AP scores nor transfer credit yet want to take an advanced course, the Department will administer a placement test during orientation. Please contact Professor Alan McRae (McRaeA@wlu.edu ) for details on how to take the test. The deadline for taking this test is June 23, 2021.

You can only take the placement test if you

  1. have completed at least a half-year of calculus in high school or elsewhere, and
  2. have NOT taken either of the AP calculus exams (Calculus AB or BC), and
  3. do NOT have IB credit or calculus transfer credit, and
  4. wish to be placed in a higher calculus course (either 102 or 221/221A) under W&L’s Advanced Standing policy (see below).

Advanced Standing Placement Policy

If a student is given Advanced Standing placement in Math 102 or 221 (by way of AP scores, or the department placement exam) and successfully completes that course Fall Term with a grade of C or better, full credit will be awarded for any calculus course(s) skipped. This Advanced Standing placement option is available only to first-years in their Fall Term.

No student will be forced to register for or remain in a higher-level course against his or her wishes.

Finally, for students who have already taken Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra in high school, you can take Math 201 Bridges to Advanced Mathematics, or we can place you into Math 332 Differential Equations, or other courses; see the department head (Professor Alan McRae, McRaeA@wlu.edu) for details.