Undergraduate Program in Mathematics

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Incoming Freshmen Information

Calculus at Illinois

Calculus courses in the major scientific calculus sequence (Math 220/221, Math 231, and Math 241) are taught in various ways. Most classes are taught in a large lecture/small discussion format, but some sections use computer-based instruction with Mathematica and some are taught using small-group learning methods. How will I know which choice is right for me?

Your choice is personal. It depends upon your own preference for the manner in which the course is taught.

There is a page of information about methods of instruction for Math 220, 221, 231 and 241.

What is the difference between Math 220 and Math 221?

Math 220 is aimed at students with no calculus background and is five credit hours. Math 221 covers the same material, but goes faster over some topics which students already know well; it is four credits. Students who have taken a year of high school calculus may find Math 221 more interesting and thus work to achieve a higher grade than they might receive in Math 220.

What is Math 234? It is also labeled as a calculus course.

Math 234 is a calculus course geared to business and the social sciences. For example, if you are in the College of Business you may satisfy your mathematics requirement by taking Math 234 and Math 125 (a linear algebra course with business applications). You can always substitute Math 220 or 221 for Math 234. For example, you may have AP credit for Math 220 - then you would only need to take Math 125 to complete the mathematics requirement for the College of Business.

You cannot get credit for both Math 234 and Math 220 or 221. There is no additional calculus course you can take after completing Math 234. If you take Math 220, then you have the option of taking two more semesters of calculus (Math 231 and Math 241). If you take Math 234 and decide you want to take more calculus, you must take Math 220 for no credit.

Who teaches mathematics courses for freshmen?

The lecturers are either faculty members or very experienced, highly rated graduate teaching assistants. Graduate teaching assistants are graduate students who are working toward advanced degrees in mathematics. They support their study by teaching on a part-time basis. Graduate assistants without prior teaching experience are assigned to assist the lecturers in large-section calculus courses.

How large are math classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

Most sections of calculus are taught in a combination of large lecture and small discussion sections, with 200-300 students in lecture and 25-35 students in each discussion. Alternative methods of instruction allow smaller class sizes of 25-35 for every class period.


Undergraduate Program in Mathematics
Office: 313 Altgeld Hall
Telephone: 217-244-7310