# About Calculus

## Choosing the Right Calculus Course

There are two different tracks in Calculus. To choose a calculus course that best matches your requirements and abilities, you must first choose which "curriculum" or "sequence" of calculus courses you'll be taking. After you make this choice, another page will follow that helps you place yourself appropriately in that curriculum.

Please be sure that you have visited other areas of this website according to your choice of school/college and your intended major or program, and have determined whether you must or should take calculus. Please check also to see if any, and how many, specific calculus courses are required for your program.

### CHOOSE YOUR CALCULUS SEQUENCE

The first choice you must make in considering a calculus course is to decide which calculus sequence is most appropriate for you. Your options fall into one of these categories:

- Calculus courses for "math and physical science" majors - for students pursuing majors in mathematics, chemistry, geophysics, geology-geophysics, or physics, or following the B.S. program in computer science;
- Calculus courses for "most everyone else" - for students pursuing majors in the social sciences, biology, geology, environmental sciences, or following the pre-medical or pre-dental or pre-veterinary programs, and all students in the Carroll School of Management.

**What are the differences in these choices?**

- There is a stronger emphasis on technical and algebraic detail in the calculus courses for math and science majors.
- There is less emphasis on algebra and more emphasis on the use of a graphing calculator, the interpretation of numeric data, graphical data, and overall conceptual language in the "everyone else" sequence.
- The math and science major courses are a little more demanding than the others, and are recommended to students with strong mathematical backgrounds and high motivation.

**To continue learning about calculus options, you need to make a choice:**

### About Calculus for Math and Physical Science Majors

Students pursuing or likely to pursue majors in Mathematics, Chemistry, Geophysics, Geology-Geophysics, or Physics, or following the B.S. program in Computer Science, should take one of the Calculus courses required by their major in the first Fall semester. You will choose from the following:

- MT102 Calculus I - Math & Science Major
- MT105 Calculus II-AP - Math & Science Major
- MT202 Multivariable Calculus

These Calculus courses are also open to, and recommended for, students in other majors who are mathematically inclined and highly motivated.

#### Not Had (Much) Calculus Yet?

If you've taken no more than one semester of Calculus in high school, your choice is simple: take MT102 Calculus I (Math & Science Majors). In the Spring semester, you'll take its direct continuation MT103 Calculus II (Math & Science Majors), and then complete the basic Calculus with MT202 Multivariable Calculus in your third semester.

Even if you've taken no Calculus or PreCalculus, MT102 Calculus I (Math & Science Majors) is still the correct choice for a first-semester Calculus course.

#### Had (a lot of) Calculus Already?

Which of the MT102, MT105, or MT202 courses is the most appropriate for you is determined by these major factors:

- the type of high school Calculus curriculum you studied ("AB," "BC," or "Other");
- the results you achieved in these courses;
- the results you achieved on the AP exam, if you took one;
- your attitude towards mathematics;
- your motivation to pursue a demanding program; and
- your desire to advance more quickly through the requirements of your major.

Our general recommendations on which course you should choose as a first Calculus course can be found in the following table. In all cases where we suggest choosing one of two possible courses, you should almost always take the higher-numbered course if you have a positive attitude towards mathematics and are motivated to pursue a demanding program.

Calculus Curriculum You Studied/AP Test You Took | ||||

BC | AB | Other | ||

The Result You Achieved | AP Score of 5 | MT202 | MT105 | --- |

AP Score of 4 | MT105 or MT202 | MT102 or MT105 | --- | |

A year of high school Calculus with mostly grades of A | MT105 | MT102 or MT105 | MT102 | |

A year of high school Calculus with mostly grades of B | MT102 | MT102 | MT102 |

**Note**

- MT105 Calculus II-AP (Math & Science Majors) assumes that you've studied the transcendental functions (exponential and logarithm). If you studied Calculus but did not learn the Calculus of these functions, then you should take MT102.
- MT105 Calculus II-AP (Math & Science Majors) is a Fall-only course. Its nearest Spring equivalent is MT103 Calculus II (Math & Science Majors), which is the direct continuation of MT102 Calculus I (Math & Science Majors). If you feel you are not strong with integration, but that you know differentiation very well, the best option may be to not take math in the Fall, and then take MT103 in the Spring.
*Secondary Education students in LSOE having an A&S major that requires Calculus for Math and Science Majors (MT102 or MT105)*must ask registration staff to enroll them "by hand" in MT102 (when you register for courses on the second day of Orientation). This is a known problem with the system -- your registration can only be made by registration staff or the Mathematics Undergraduate Vice Chair.*CSOM and CSON students*may register for MT102 only after obtaining permission from the Mathematics Undergraduate Vice Chair.

### About Calculus for Most Everyone Else

Students pursuing majors in the Social Sciences, Biology, Geology (excluding Geology-Geophysics), Environmental Sciences, or following the Pre-medical or Pre-dental or Pre-veterinary Programs, and all students in the Carroll School of Management, will usually take their first Mathematics course at Boston College from among the following:

**Not Had (Much) Calculus Yet?**

If you've taken no more than one semester of Calculus in high school, your choice is simple: take MT100 Calculus I. In the Spring semester, if you wish to (or are required to) continue, you'll then take MT101 Calculus II.

Even if you've taken no Calculus or PreCalculus, MT100 Calculus I is still the correct choice for a first-semester Calculus course. The first three weeks of the course are essentially a self-contained (albeit brief) course in PreCalculus.

**Had (A Lot of) Calculus Already?**

Which of the MT100 or MT101 (or even MT202 Multivariable Calculus) courses is most appropriate for you is determined by these major factors:

- the type of high school Calculus curriculum you studied ("AB," "BC," or "Other");
- the results you achieved in these courses;
- the results you achieved on the AP exam, if you took one;
- your attitude towards mathematics;
- your motivation to pursue a demanding program; and
- your desire to advance more quickly through the requirements of your major.

Our general recommendations on which course you should choose as a first Calculus course can be found in the following table. In all cases where we suggest choosing one of two possible courses, you should almost always take the higher-numbered course if you have a positive attitude towards mathematics and are motivated to pursue a demanding program.

Calculus Curriculum You Studied/AP Test You Took | ||||

BC | AB | Other | ||

The Result You Achieved |
AP Score of 5 | MT101 or MT202 | MT101 | --- |

AP Score of 4 | MT101 | MT100 or MT101 | --- | |

A year of high school Calculus with mostly grades of A |
MT101 | MT100 or MT101 | MT100 or MT101 | |

A year of high school Calculus with mostly grades of B |
MT100 | MT100 | MT100 |

##### Note

- Please remember that these are only general guidelines, and no student will be forced to register for one of the courses that might be suggested by the table above.
- For students who have reservations about their abilities, or who are taking multiple science courses with labs, or who have heavy commitments in other disciplines, a conservative choice would be to "drop back" from a suggested course of MT202 to MT101, or similarly, to "drop back" to MT100 if MT101 is suggested.
- Nevertheless, be careful to not be overly conservative if you choose to "drop back" from our suggestions. Taking a course that mostly repeats your high school Calculus curriculum will not receive your full attention, can lead to poor study habits, and sometimes even results in a poor grade.
- Students looking for a deeper or more challenging mathematical preparation -- e.g., for those thinking about graduate work in Economics -- and students who would consider majoring in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science/BS, or Geology-Geophysics -- should see our advisement page for Math and Physical Science majors. In particular, there may be better options for students having a strong mathematical background and AP credit.