Choosing a Calculus Course

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics hopes that the information on this page helps you choose the best course for you to continue your studies in Calculus. We recommend that you discuss your choice carefully with your advisor and that you evaluate your choice carefully early in the semester when changes in course and section can still be made.

The information below applies to CAS students. Students in other colleges (e.g., ENG) may have different requirements for the AP exam. Check with an advisor in your college.


Recommendations based on AP Exam results:

AB Exam (or AB subscore):

With a score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB Advanced Placement exam or then AB subscore of the BC exam, then you receive credit for Calculus 1, MA 123. You may take MA 122 or MA 124 (two versions of Calculus 2) or MA 127 (Enhanced Calculus) or MA 129 (Honors Calculus). For information on these courses, see below.

BC Exam:

If you have taken the Calculus BC Advanced Placement exam and received a score of 4 or 5, then you receive credit for MA 123 and MA 124. If you received a 4 or 5 on the exam, you should consider MA 127, MA 129, MA 225. All of these courses assume that you remember and can apply the skills and ideas you learned in Calculus. For information on these courses, see below.

NOTE: You can not receive credit for the same course twice. Also, you may receive credit for only one of MA 121 or MA 123 and for only one of MA 122, MA 124, MA 127 or MA 129. However, if you receive creidt for MA 124 via the AP exam, you may still take and receive credit for MA 129.


Course information:

The Department offers two sequences in Calculus--MA 121-122 and MA 123-124.

The MA 121-122 sequence (Calculus for the Life and Social Sciences) focuses less on mathematical generalities and more on applications. This is a "terminal sequence"--if you take this Calculus sequence, you should not take Multivariable Calculus (MA 225). Be sure to check the requirments of your potential major before choosing this sequence.

The MA 123-124 sequence is the "standard" science/engineering Calculus sequence. Our experience is that students getting a 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB exam are prepared for MA 124 (Calculus II), however, you will be expected to remember your Calculus I material and to be proficient with pre-calculus algebra and trigonometry.

Enriched Calculus, MA 127, covers an entire year of Calculus in a single semester. It is more challenging than MA 124, and should be taken only by students who feel very confident in their Calculus background (e.g., a 4 or 5 on the Calculus BC exam or a 5 on the AB exam and solid experience with Calculus 2 material). It is a good way to transition to College level Calculus and prepares you for the Honors Multivariable course (MA 230). About 2/3 of the semester is spent solidifying the concepts of Calculus II (particularly sequences and series) and 1/3 of the semester is spent enhancing your knowledge of Calculus 1 material.

Honors Calculus, MA 129, has two sections HP and A1. The HP section is part of the CAS Honors Program, but the two sections meet together and have the same requirements. The goal of this course is to use the material of Calculus as a starting point for the introduction of more rigorous mathematics. You will be expected to read, understand and do proofs (one of the main goals of the course is to help you learn to read and do proofs). You will be assumed to have a solid background in the ideas and techniques of Calculus. You MAY take this course for credit, even if you have credit for MA 124 from the AP exam. This is the first course of the 4 semester honors sequence which includes Honors Multivariable Calculus (MA 230), Honors Differential Equations (MA 231) and Honors Linear Algebra (MA 442).

Multivariable Calculus, MA 225, is "third semester" Calculus. Students are assumed to have a solid background in Calculus and be able to draw on that background as needed. You should have credit for MA 124 via a 3, 4 or 5 on the BC Calculus exam. If you received a 3 on the BC exam you should consider taking a review course (MA 124 or MA 127). Since a 3 on the BC exam grants credit for MA 124, you may not receive credit for MA 124 or MA 127 again, but the review may be necessary to prepare you for MA 225.