Placement Guidelines

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If you have not taken any or very little calculus, your placement in Duke math courses will be based on your SAT or SAT II math scores.

If you have this background and/or these test scores: You may take this course:
  • You have not taken calculus
  • Your Math SAT score is at least 520
  • Your Math SAT II score is at least 500
  • Your ACT Math score is at least 22
MATH 105L
Laboratory Calculus and Functions I
  • You have taken little calculus.
  • Your Math SAT or SAT II score is at least 680
  • Your ACT Math score is at least 30

MATH 111L
Laboratory Calculus I

Note: If your SAT or SAT II scores are less than 680, or if your ACT Math score is less than 30, or if your scores indicate borderline qualification for MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I and you have taken no calculus whatsoever, you should start with MATH 105L.

If you are still not sure what would be the right course for you to enroll in or if you have a different placement question, go to Contacting the SFI to fill out and submit a request for assistance. The Supervisor of First-year Instruction will need this information to be able to respond to your question.

Generally, if you have earned credit based upon your Advanced Placement score, you should enroll in the next higher course. However, we have found that students may have difficulty in second-semester calculus unless they also meet certain minimum SAT or SAT II and achievement score levels.

If you have this background and/or these test scores: Take this course:

SAT Score Placement Guidance

  • You have not taken an AP test

 

  • Your SAT score is above 520
  • Your SAT II score is above 500
  • Your ACT score is at least 22
MATH 105L Laboratory Calculus and Functions I
  • Your SAT or SAT II score is below 700, but higher than 680

MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I

  • Your SAT or SAT II score is at least 700
  • Your ACT score is at least 32
  • You feel you have a strong background in calculus

It is recommended that you take MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I.  However, if you are willing to accept the inherent risk of taking a course for which you do not have credit for the prerequisite, you may enroll in second semester calculus such as MATH 122L Introductory Calculus II with Applications (offered in the fall semester) or MATH 112L Laboratory Calculus II (offered in the spring semester).

If you wish to place beyond second semester calculus, you will need to consult with the Supervisor of First-year Instruction and describe the contents of the math courses you have had (e.g., textbook and chapters covered), how well you did in those courses, your SAT and Achievement scores, and a statement of the placement you desire. It is especially helpful if you can email a copy of the syllabus, including the title of the textbook you used and the sections you studied.

Advanced Placement (AP) Test Score Placement Guidance

  • You took the AP test but did not earn credit
  • Your SAT score is above 520
  • Your SAT II score is above 500
  • Your ACT score is at least 22

 

MATH 105L Laboratory Calculus and Functions I
  • Your SAT or SAT II score is at least 680
  • Your ACT score is at least 30

MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I

  • You have earned AP credit for MATH 21 Introductory Calculus I
  • Your SAT or SAT II score is below 680
  • Your ACT score is below 30

Recommendation: Forego the AP credit and take MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I so that you gain experience in college-level calculus before you proceed to second-semester calculus.

Note: If you are not certain that you need credit for more than one semester of calculus, another strategy is not to take any math during your first semester. Then you can wait to decide after you have been in college for at least a semester and you have a better idea of the academic direction you will take. Depending on your interests for a major, you may not need any further calculus beyond the one AP credit you have already earned.

  • Your SAT or SAT II is at least 680
  • Your ACT score is at least 30

Take second semester calculus. In the fall semester, this would be MATH 122L Introductory Calculus II with Applications.

In the spring semester, your course choice would be MATH 112L Laboratory Calculus II.

  • You have earned AP credit for MATH 22 Introductory Calculus II
  • Your SAT or SAT II score is below 680
  • Your ACT score is below 30
  • You lack confidence in your mathematical preparation or abilities
  • You earned a grade of 4 on the BC AP exam and received Math 22 credit by the old rules
Recommendation: You are strongly encouraged to consider waiving your MATH 22 Introductory Calculus II credit and starting in MATH 122L Introductory Calculus II with Applications before going on to mutlivariable calculus. For many students this option will alow for a more successful experience in multivariable calculus by providing a significantly strong preparation in single variable calculus, and allowing the adjustment to Duke-level math courses to happen in the context of more familiar material, before you get to multivariable calculus.
  • Your SAT or SAT II score is at least 680
  • Your ACT score is at least 30
  • You earned a score of 5 on the BC AP exam
  • You are confident in your mathematical preparation and abilities

If you are considering majoring in math or are interested in a more rigorous experience in the subject, consider taking MATH 222 Advanced Multivariable Calculus.  Taking this Spring course would require that you begin in the Fall with MATH 221 Linear Algebra and Applications.  MATH 222 Advanced Multivariable Calculus should satisfy any prerequisite or major requirement on campus for MATH 212 Multivariable Calculus.

For many students, MATH 212 Multivariable Calculus is a good choice, including students in the natural sciences and engineering who are not interested in the more substantial experience of MATH 222 Advanced Multivariable Calculus, and students in economics who are planning to take more math classes after multivariable calculus (common choices include MATH 221 Linear Algebra and Applications and MATH 216 Linear Algebra and Differential Equations).

If you are considering majoring in economics or the social sciences, consider taking MATH 202 Multivariable Calculus for Economics.  This is a good choice for students majoring in economics who are not planning to take any further math courses after multivariable calculus.

Beginning in Spring 2016, enrollment in Math 202 or Math 212 requires credit for second semester calculus (Math 22, 112L, 122L, or 122) on your Duke transcript.

 

International Baccalaureate (IB) Test Score Placement Guidance

  • You have earned credit for MATH 21 and/or MATH 22, as determined by the Registrar
  • You have taken the IB, the British A-level, the French Baccalaureate or the German Arbitur test

If you have earned credit for MATH 21, see the discussion above for students with AP credit for MATH 21.

If you have earned credit for both MATH 21 and MATH 22, see the discussion above for students with AP credit for MATH 22.

If your situation is different in some way, or if you desire some other placement based upon work out of the country, then you should meet with the Supervisor of First Year Instruction to discuss placement options.

Note: Requests for credit based on an internationally recognized entrance examination, such at the IB, the British A-level, the French Baccalaureate, and the German Arbitur, should be sent to the Registrar. A student can receive up to two credits for one of these tests. In general if Duke grants you credit for a course, then you should enroll in the next higher math course.

If you are still not sure what would be the right course for you to enroll in or if you have a different placement question, go to Contacting the SFI to fill out and submit a request for assistance. The Supervisor of First-year Instruction will need this information to be able to respond to your question.

The Duke multivariable calculus course, MATH 212, has an important chapter on vector calculus that includes line integrals, Green's Theorem, surface integrals, and Stokes's Theorem. This material accounts for approximately one-fourth of the course. MATH 212 covers multivariable calculus at a level that is more rigorous and substantial than high school courses so even if you have studied all of the topics in MATH 212 you should still expect to find MATH 212 to be a challenging course.

Students who hope to skip multivariable calculus (or any math course) should be sure to consider carefully the math requirements of their intended majors, minors, and certificate plans. Math requirements for other departments are overseen and enforced by those departments – not the Department of Mathematics. Enrollment in and successful completion of a higher level course CANNOT be assumed to satisfy the requirement of a lower level course, and very often it will not. You must get written permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the appropriate department before you skip any such required course.

If you have this background: Take this course:
  • Your multivariable calculus course DID NOT include line integrals, Green's Theorem, surface integrals, and Stokes' Theorem
You should take multivariable calculus here at Duke. Please refer to the information in the Typical Sophomore Year Course Sequences table.
  • You have earned pre-matriculation credit for MATH 212
You may take the next higher level math course, which varies depending on your major.
  • You do not have credit for MATH 212, but you have studied all the topics covered in our course, and you feel you should take a higher level math course
Write to the Supervisor of First-Year Instruction to get guidance on which course to choose. In your email message you should describe the contents of the courses you have had (e.g., textbooks and chapters covered), the name of the school where you took the courses, how well you did in the courses, your SAT and Achievement scores, and a statement of the placement you desire. It is especially helpful if you can email copies of the syllabi, including the titles of the textbooks you used and the sections you studied.

If you are still not sure what would be the right course for you to enroll in or if you have a different placement question, go to Contacting the SFI to fill out and submit a request for assistance. The Supervisor of First-year Instruction will need this information to be able to respond to your question.

Note for potential math majors

If you are considering a major in mathematics, and if you have advance credit for first and second semester calculus (Math 21 and Math 22), then you should read about Math 222. Potential math majors should also contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Mathematics, Professor Leslie Saper or the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in Mathematics,  Prof. Sarah Schott.  (If you have placement questions, please Contact the SFI.)