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2020-21 UCSC General Catalog
2019-20 UCSC General Catalog

Mathematics is both a fundamental discipline and an essential tool for students of biology, chemistry, computer engineering, computer science, Earth sciences, economics, electrical engineering, information systems management, physics, and psychology. Researchers in all these areas are constantly developing new ways of applying mathematics to their fields. A strong mathematics background is vital to the advanced study of many disciplines including the physical and biological sciences, engineering and the social sciences.

The UC Santa Cruz mathematics program offers a wide variety of undergraduate mathematics courses:

- Students interested in studying mathematics are strongly encouraged to take algebra, geometry, and trigonometry before entering the university. Students needing mathematics courses for their intended major are strongly encouraged to consider their options, and take the necessary steps for mathematics assessment and placement as early as possible. Progress in some majors could be delayed if the calculus series is not begun upon arrival at UCSC. Students concerned about their ability to place into courses above MATH 3 should consider taking MATH 2 or its equivalent prior to entering UCSC.
- Lower-division courses with numbers in the range MATH 11A through MATH 24 (calculus, linear algebra, vector calculus, and differential equations) prepare students for further study in mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, engineering, or quantitative areas of the social sciences. Science and engineering majors take some or all of these courses as part of their undergraduate studies.
- Upper-division courses, with numbers in the range MATH 100-MATH 199, are intended for majors in mathematics and closely related disciplines. Some of these courses provide students with a solid foundation in key areas of mathematics such as algebra, analysis, geometry, and number theory, whereas others introduce students to more specialized areas of mathematics. Calculus, linear algebra, vector calculus, and proof and problem solving are prerequisite to most of these advanced courses.

All students should review the requirements for their major or intended major and possibly consult with the department sponsoring their major (or expected major) before deciding which mathematics courses to take. More information on what courses are intended for the various types of students may be found here at the Mathematics Department website.

Students who plan to take a mathematics course at UC Santa Cruz must first demonstrate sufficient preparation for that course by completing mathematics placement, the College Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement (AP) calculus examination, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Mathematics Examination, or by passing the appropriate prerequisite course.

Students who have passed MATH 2 may enroll in MATH 3. Students who have passed MATH 3 may enroll in course MATH 11A or MATH 19A. Students who have passed a precalculus course at a college or university may enroll in course MATH 11A or MATH 19A, but they must first verify eligibility of the course (on Assist.org) and course completion with the mathematics adviser.

The mathematics placement process assesses student readiness for their first UC Santa Cruz mathematics class. Students whose areas of study require precalculus or calculus courses are strongly advised to complete placement and any required courses early in their academic careers. Students intending to take one or more mathematics courses at UCSC should begin the placement process as early as possible to fully benefit from the process.

Students completing placement by assessing using ALEKS PPL should familiarize themselves with the assessment instructions and guidelines, course eligibility cut-offs, and score posting schedule.

Students completing placement requirements by using their scores from the College Board Advanced Placement Calculus Exam should refer to the Admissions Office for assistance in deciding which course to enroll.

Students completing placement requirements by using their scores from the International Baccalaureate Exam should refer to the Admissions Office for assistance in deciding which course to enroll.