A few incoming students have taken a multivariable calculus course (Calculus III) before coming to Washington University, either in high school or in a university-sponsored course for advanced high school students. Washington University does not award credit for such courses.
If you took a "regular college course" that is equivalent to our Calculus III and the credits don't already appear on your high school transcript, then you can ask the University to transfer those credits. Usually, a "regular college course" means one taught in a classroom on a college campus and with full-time college students also enrolled in it. In that case, you should have the college send an official transcript of your work to your undergraduate school at Washington University (e.g., College of Arts & Sciences, School of Engineering, ... ) and ask your advisor about any other paperwork needed.
Students who have earned an "A" in a multivariable calculus course equivalent to our Math 233 may feel they can bypass Math 233. We do not want students to have to take Math 233 unnecessarily, even if they don't receive Calculus III credit. In such cases, the Mathematics Department will consider recommending that the Calculus III requirement be waived for such a student; if approved, then
- no credit is awarded, but the student is viewed as having completed Math 233 for the purposes of taking other courses that have Math 233 as a prerequisite, and
- a notation about the waiver is entered on the student's W.U. record
- if the student is in a major or school (such as Engineering) that requires Math 233, the Mathematics Department will recommend that major or school consider its Math 233 requirement to have been satisfied. The final decision on accepting our recommendation ultimately rests with the other school or major department, but this has never yet been a problem.
In order to be considered for such a waiver for Calculus III:
- You should make a request to the Mathematics Department by email to Professor Blake Thornton (Cupples I, Room 108A). Please do not make the request before June 15, and try to have everything submitted by August 1 if possible.
- You'll be asked to submit a syllabus from your previous course which includes, at a minimum, the name of the textbook (including the names of the authors) and a list of the chapters actually covered in the course
- Request that your course instructor provide a letter or e-mail to Professor Blake Thornton. This can be fairly brief but it should describe your course and whether, based on your performance in that course, the instructor thinks that it's a good idea for you to skip our Calculus III course. Here are links to our course descriptions. There are also links to recent syllabi for most courses.
If a student bypasses Math 233, then appropriate courses to take next could be Math 217 (Differential Equations), Math 309 (Matrix Algebra), or Math 3200 (Elementary to Intermediate Statistics with Data Analysis). The choice depends to some extent on the student's plans for a major. For example, Math 217 (Differential Equations) is required only for some math majors (see the information about Major Tracks); however Math 217 is important (and may be required) for other students majoring in certain sciences or engineering.
On the other hand, some such students might feel a but "shaky" about multivariable calculus; they can certainly just take Math 233 if that seems helpful.
For more information, or advice about placement beyond Calculus III, contact Professor Blake Thornton.