FAQ's

Following are frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding math course choices for incoming freshman. We also have a listing of View Graduate FAQs.

Q. What is the average class size?

A: The average class size is 25 with a maximum of 32. This enables the faculty to provide quality instruction to our students. Our courses are taught by faculty members; we do not use graduate assistants for teaching.

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Q: What are the mathematics requirements for liberal arts students?

A: Liberal Arts students must take one course in either mathematics or statistics.  Any course offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics fulfills the requirement, although the department offers courses every semester specifically designed for the Core Curriculum.

*Note: Please contact us if you are still under the old core curriculum system and have any questions about it.  The above answer applies to students in the new core.

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Q: Do I need a particular calculator or computer for my math classes?

A: Most students bring the calculator they used in high school (the TI-83 seems to be most common) and many instructors allow calculators to be used on tests. The calculator needs vary by class, so be sure to ask your instructor for details.

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Q: I am a freshman liberal arts major and I received my course selection form. I see a list of computer science and mathematics courses and I must choose just one. Which one is the best for me?

A: Students succeed in courses that most interest them. So, we hope you will read the course descriptions and we recommend any course that interests you. For the truly undecided Arts majors, we recommend Math 1230, Introduction to Statistics I, a course designed specifically for liberal arts students. Many of our majors (e.g., communication arts, political science, psychology, and sociology) have upper level research courses that are essentially statistics courses. Math 1230 can help prepare a student for such courses.

Your choice of math course might also depend on the major you are considering. For instance, if you are contemplating switching to business, you should take calculus MAT 1400. If you are contemplating switching to biology, then take MAT 1310. If you are considering computer science, you might take CSC 1051.

Math 1500 is the standard engineering/science calculus course. All engineering, chemistry, math, computer science, and physics majors must take Math 1500 and 1505. If you are considering a math minor, take Math 1500. If you get AP credit for Math 1500 and 1505, we can place you in the third semester of calculus, Math 2500, a requirement for the math minor and major.

If you have further questions, please call the Mathematics & Statistics Department at 610.519.4850.

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Q: What if I choose a course now and later change my mind?

A: You can call over the summer to adjust your schedule or request a change in major, or you can wait until you arrive on campus. The freshman orientation program has a time for students to adjust their courses, and all students can change schedules during the first five days of classes.

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Q: Can I get credit for my AP calculus course?

A: If you have taken the AB version of the AP Calculus exam and scored a 4 or 5, you will receive credit for one semester of Calculus (MAT 1500). If you have taken the BC exam and scored a 4 or 5, you will receive credit for two semesters of Calculus (MAT 1500 and 1505). You will receive credit for one semester of Calculus (MAT 1500) if a sub score of 4 or 5 was received on the BC exam. If you have taken the Higher Level IB exam and scored a 6 or 7, you will receive credit for two semesters of Calculus (MAT 1500 and 1505).   Finally, a score of  4 or 5 is required on the Statistics AP test in order to receive credit for MAT 1230.

Incoming freshman should request the scores be sent to Villanova University. Our school code is 2959. Most AP scores for incoming freshman reach Villanova by mid-July. Any schedule adjustments based on your AP scores are handled in August, generally before you arrive on campus or during the first week of classes. Guidelines for granting credit for the courses that are equivalent to Advance Placement are included in the Undergraduate Handbook, The Enchridion, under the Matriculation Requirements section.

Calculus and Statistics Options: Various calculus and statistics courses have overlapping content with differing applications. One cannot receive credit for two such overlapping courses. For instance, one cannot receive credit for both MAT 1310 and MAT 1500; a second example is MAT 1230 and MAT 1250. Contact the Department of Mathematics & Statistics for permission before taking two different varieties of calculus or statistics courses.

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Q: What are the differences between all these calculus and statistics courses?

A: We offer a variety of different first year calculus sequences. Math 1310-1315 emphasizes life sciences applications and is typically taken by first year biology majors. Math 1320-1325 is designed for liberal arts students and emphasizes the concepts of calculus. Math 1500-1505 is a four credit course sequence (the others are three credits) and is the standard "AP" type of calculus required for engineers, physics, chemistry, computing science and math majors.

The statistics courses are also varied. Math 1230-1235 is a two semester sequence designed for liberal arts students. The Math 1250 covers similar topics but focuses on nursing applications. Math 4310 has a calculus prerequisite, and a higher level statistics course that counts for math major or minor credit.

Many of the calculus and statistics courses have overlapping content with differing applications. One cannot receive credit for two such overlapping courses. For instance, one cannot receive credit for both MAT 1310 and MAT 1500; a second example is MAT 1230 and MAT 1250. Contact the Department of Mathematics & Statistics for permission before taking two different varieties of calculus or statistics courses.

 

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