Multivariate Calculus
MA 225 - Section A
Fall 2008
Paul Blanchard

Class time and location: MWF 10-11 in STO B50

Discussion sections:

Text: James Stewart: Calculus: Concepts and Contexts, Third edition (2005), ISBN 0-534-40986-5. This is the same edition that we used at BU for MA 123 and 124 during the 2007-2008 academic year.

In this course, we will study the calculus of functions of several variables. Since visualizing these functions involves the use of vectors and surfaces in three dimensions, we will begin with a modern approach to the geometry of three dimensions. Then we will study multivariable calculus using partial derivatives and multiple integrals. Our final topic is one of the most elegant and useful in the study of physical systems---vector analysis and the many forms of Stokes's theorem.

The course will follow Chapters 9-13 in the text, and occasionally we will review material from earlier chapters as well as Appendix H.

Course web page:

Exams and grading: We will have three in-class exams during the semester, all at the normal class time. They will be held on October 3, November 5, and December 3. The final exam will be held 3-5 on Friday, December 19. Please note the date of the final and make your travel plans now! University policy states that you must take the final at the scheduled time.

In addition to the in-class exams, you will be required to submit written work during the semester.

Grades for the course will be determined by applying the most favorable of the following two weighting schemes to your curved exam grades:

Scheme #1 Scheme #2
Each of your two best in-class exams 20% Each in-class exam 20%
The remaining in-class exam 10% The final 30%
The final 40% Discussion section grade 10%
Discussion section grade 10%

Make-up exams: I have an absolutely firm policy of not giving make-up exams. If you miss an exam, then you must provide an acceptable, written excuse (not an email message) for your absence or you will receive a grade of zero. A valid reason for missing an exam would be something serious like illness (not a slight cold) or a family emergency. Neither poor preparation nor sleeping through an exam are acceptable. If possible (particularly if you want to be sure that your excuse is an acceptable one), contact me before missing an exam.

Discussion section instructor: Eleanor Farrington. Her office is MCS 150, and her office phone number is 617-358-2377. Her office hours are Monday 3-4 and Friday 11-12, and her tutoring hour in MCS 144 is Wednesday 1-2. Her email address is

Homework: Assignments from the text will be made at the end of each class, and you are expected to work these exercises before the next class. In addition, you will be expected to submit your homework for review at discussion section each week. No late homework will be accepted for any reason.

Discussion sections: Each student must attend one of these sections. Although the lectures are important, you will need to do more than simply attend lectures to do well in this course. Mastering the subject comes from doing problems and getting help when you do not know how to do them. The discussion sections are the best place to get that help.

Office: MCS Room 255.

Phone number: 617-353-9555 (email preferred).

Email address: I find that email is a good way to leave messages, but it is not a good way to get help on your homework. For help with the mathematics in this course, I encourage you to visit me in my office. If you miss class, do not send me email asking for answers to questions that were covered in class.

Office hours: Monday 2:30-3:30, Wednesday 3-4, and Friday 2-3. I will be available in my office during these hours for consultation on a first-come-first-served basis. You do not need an appointment in advance. In addition, many brief matters can be handled directly after class, and in special cases, we can schedule appointments at other times.

Additional help: There will frequently be at least one teaching assistant available to give you some help with your homework in MCS 144. We will provide more information as soon as tutoring begins.

Academic conduct: Your work and conduct in this course are governed by the CAS Academic Conduct Code. This code is designed to promote high standards of academic honesty and integrity as well as fairness. A copy of the code is available in CAS Room 105 if you cannot access it on the web, and it is your responsibility to know and follow the provisions of the code. In particular, all work that you submit in this course must be your original work. Any cases of suspected academic misconduct will be referred to the CAS Student Academic Conduct Committee.

Class conduct: See the course web page for a discussion of conduct that is inappropriate during class and/or discussion sections.

Last drop date: Students cannot withdraw from a course after the tenth week of the semester. In other words, if you are in this course after November 10, you will receive an academic grade (A-F) for your work at the end of the semester. I will not let students who are doing poorly avoid a failing grade by granting an incomplete.