The most frequently asked questions that the McIntire Undergraduate Admission Office receives are regarding math and the appropriate course to take.
As you are probably aware, McIntire requires only one Calculus course to enroll, but you may not know that there are at least eight different flavors of calculus offered at UVA that satisfy this requirement. So a question we get asked a lot is “Which Calculus course should I take?”
What are the three sequences of Calculus taught at UVA?
1. Applied Calculus sequence (MATH 1210 & 1220)
- Two 3-credit courses (no discussion sections), intended for non-math intensive majors in the College (e.g., Commerce, Biology, Economics, Psychology).
- Meets the Calculus requirement for almost all majors, but does not prepare students for further coursework in Mathematics.
- Note: MATH 1190 (“Applied Calculus I with Algebra”) does not meet McIntire’s Calculus requirement.
2. Traditional Calculus sequence (MATH 1310, 1320 & 2310)
- Three 4-credit courses (each with a discussion section), intended for Math and Natural Science majors in the College.
- MATH 1320 is a prerequisite for any 2000-level Math course or higher.
- MATH 2315 (“Honors Calculus III”) is offered each fall and intended for students planning to take graduate-level math courses. It’s rare that we see a McIntire applicant take this course.
3. Engineering Calculus sequence (APMA 1090, 1110 & 2120)
- Three 4-credit courses, intended for engineering majors.
- Essentially the Engineering equivalent of MATH 1310, 1320 & 2310.
I don’t have any Calculus credit. Which should I take?
We recommend MATH 1210. The workload is less intense, and it still meets the requirement. The only reason to take the more challenging MATH 1310 is if you are interested in higher-level mathematics and/or intend to pursue Math, Statistics, or Physics as a double major.
But I heard you have to take Calculus II or Calculus III to get in?
We’ve dispelled that rumor before. That said, there are a number of reasons applicants take additional coursework in mathematics.
What if I’m coming in with AP or IB credit for MATH 1310?
Then you’ve already fulfilled McIntire’s prerequisite requirement for Calculus; if you never want to see Calculus again, then you don’t have to.
So if I do take Calculus II, which one should I take?
If you intend to take higher-level math courses, then take MATH 1320. If not, we suggest taking MATH 1220 — even if you got AP credit for MATH 1310.
Additional notes about math
- The admissions committee likes to see math coursework done here at UVA, particularly if you received AP or transfer credit for the math requirement.
- Potential Finance concentrators are encouraged to complete additional coursework in mathematics.
- Economics and most science majors require two semesters of Calculus.
So what’s the gist?
- High school calculus and college calculus are very different, so unless you’re confident in your math skills, be sure to explore your options before committing to higher-level courses.
- There are several other ways to demonstrate your quantitative ability outside of taking Calculus II or III, including completing quantitative courses in the departments of Economics, Statistics, Psychology, Sociology, Computer Science, and more, that can show your ability to handle the quantitative curriculum at McIntire.
- Unless you want to take higher-level math, take the Applied Calculus sequence.
- You can take Calculus II to prep for finance or for another major, but there are many other quantitative courses you can take to demonstrate your mathematics proficiency on your application.
As always, if you have any questions, speak with an admissions counselor, either during open office hours or by appointment.