Bucknell offers two essentially different introductory calculus courses, both of which presuppose a high school course in pre-calculus. MATH 201 is the first course in the core calculus sequence for mathematics, science, and engineering students; MATH 192 is a one-semester course designed for students in the social sciences. Students enrolling in MATH 201 must complete an online pre-calculus requirement (see below).
Calculus for Mathematics, Science, Engineering, and Liberal Arts
The core calculus sequence consists of MATH 201 (Calculus I), MATH 202 (Calculus II), and MATH 211 (Calculus III). This sequence or its equivalent is required of almost all mathematics, physical science, and engineering students at Bucknell. Most students in the life sciences are required to take only MATH 201 (and a statistics course), but may wish to complete the calculus sequence. Other students to whom we particularly recommend this calculus sequence include the more mathematically inclined management and economics students, and students wishing to explore college-level mathematics.
Calculus for the Social Sciences
MATH 192 (Topics in Calculus) is a one-semester calculus course offered in the spring semester only and is designed for economics and management students. It satisfies the minimum calculus requirement for economics majors. Students hoping to enter graduate school or who are mathematically inclined are encouraged to take MATH 201, thereby enabling them to continue the calculus sequence should they so desire.
The Bucknell Pre-calculus Requirement
To ease the transition to mathematics at Bucknell, the Mathematics Department requires all MATH 201 students to complete an online preparation course; students are encouraged to complete this course the summer before enrollment. Results from last year show that working through this online course will get you started on the path to success in college calculus. More information and details of how to get started are available here. Questions about this requirement should be directed to the mathematics pre-calculus administrator.
Many students enter Bucknell with one or more calculus credits obtained either from the Advanced Placement Examination or by transfer from another college. Furthermore, all entering students are asked to tell us whether they have taken a high school calculus course. This will form the basis of credit given and calculus placement.
- Students who have not taken a high school or college calculus class are placed in one of the higher-numbered sections of Math 201.
- Students are placed in one of the lower-numbered sections of Math 201 if they have done any of the following:
- scored 1, 2 or 3 on the AB exam;
- scored 1 or 2 on the BC exam, with an AB subscore of 1, 2 or 3.
- taken a high school calculus class without an AP or IB exam.
- Students are placed in Math 202 and receive credit for Math 201 if they have done any of the following:
- scored 4 or 5 on the AB exam;
- scored 3 on the BC exam;
- scored 1 or 2 on the BC exam with an AB subscore of 4 or 5;
- scored 5 or higher on the Higher Level Mathematics IB exam;
- attained college transfer credit for Calculus I.
- Students scoring 4 or 5 on the BC exam, or having college transfer credit for Calculus II, are placed in Math 211 and receive credit for Math 201 and Math 202.
No placement policy is perfect, and exceptions to the above guidelines are possible. Students who continue to be uncomfortable with their placement after attending a few classes should discuss their situation with the Chair of the Mathematics Department. Sometimes they may be placed in a more advanced course than is prescribed by the guidelines, although without receiving credit for the course skipped. Conversely, it is possible to make changes for students who find themselves unprepared for the course they have been assigned.
Drop-in calculus help sessions are held Sunday-Thursday evenings, usually 7:00-9:00 p.m. They are staffed by graduate students and upper-class undergraduate students.