Course Guide


Since many introductory mathematics courses are offered, you should be able to select a course to match your level.

Most beginning students will take Math 0090, 0100, 0170 or 0190.

For more information, watch this short video describing the calculus and linear algebra courses here at Brown.  Or this video introducing the 1000-level courses.


Here is a guide:


AB 1,2 none Math 0090
BC 1,2 none Math 0100 (or 0090)
AB 3 none Math 0100 (or 0090)
AB 4,5 Math 0900 Math 0170 (or 0190)
BC 3 Math 0900 Math 0170 (or 0190)
BC 4,5 Math 0090-0100 Third semester Math 0180, 0200, 0350


No calculus, weak grades in algebra and trigomonetry Math 0050
No calculus, grades OK (A's/B's) in algebra and trigomonetry Math 0090
One semester calculus, good grades Math 0100
Two semesters calculus, weak grades Math 0100
Two semesters calculus, good grades, no infinite series Math 0180 (or 0200)
Two semesters calculus, good grades, strong interest in Math Math 0350

If you returned the math placement card with your registration, placement into a fall math course was made for you and is listed on your registration notification in this envelope. Occasionally this placement is different from the one you chose. If you have not taken an AP exam, this placement can be regarded as tentative. However,

  • If you have had little or no calculus but your secondary school preparation is firm, take Math 0090. Don't take a placement test. Otherwise, consider Math 0050-0060.
  • If you have had two semesters of calculus, with good grades, take Math 0100 (or Math 0170 or Math 0190). You should not take Math 0090 except with permission of the Mathematics Placement Advisor.
  • If you have some questions about your placement, before or after the start of classes, please consult the Mathematics Placement Advisor.

Students who qualify for a third-semester (sophomore-level) course on the basis of AP scores or the Calculus Placement Test should consult the information below. For higher-level courses, please consult the Mathematics Placement Advisor (Professor Hoffstein) or the instructor for the course.

If you are having trouble deciding between two possibilities, it is strongly advised that you choose the higher-level class. It is relatively easy to drop down to the lower one within the first weeks of the course.

If you have studied third-semester calculus and/or linear algebra, please consult the Math Placement Advisor. If you have decided to take math, but didn't return the placement card, use the guidelines above.

A Guide to Second-Semester Calculus Courses at Brown

Math 0100 is the second semester of the introductory calculus sequence. It covers techniques of integration and applications of integration, sequences and series including Taylor series and power series, parametric curves, polar coordinates and first order differential equations.

Math 0170 is for students who have the equivalent of a one-year AB calculus AP course. It treats in more detail the topics of Math 0100, assuming that students already have studied integration and its applications.

Math 0190 is a version of Math 0170 especially suited for students of engineering and physics. It has an additional weekly problem session devoted to applied problems.

A Guide to Third-Semester Calculus Courses at Brown

There are three distinct third-semester calculus courses at Brown: Math 0180, 0200 and 0350.

All three courses include the topics of functions of two variables, partial derivatives, maxim and minim, gradients, space curves, constrained maxim and minim, multiple integrals, calculation of volumes, cylindrical and spherical coordinates, functions of three or more variables, line integrals and Green's Theorem
(and Stokes' Theorem).

Math 0180 ordinarily assumes that students have had the equivalent of Math 0170 or 0100 (or an honor grade in the Advanced Placement BC calculus exam).

Math 0200 is a version of Math 0180 specially adapted for concentrators in Engineering or Physics with an additional weekly problem session devoted to applications.

Math 0350 is the honors version of third-semester calculus. Students with high motivation and interest in mathematics, with high achievement in Math 0090-0100 or a 4 or 5 in the Advanced Placement BC calculus test, are especially encouraged to take on the extra work involved in such a course.

A Brief Comment on Linear Algebra Courses

Linear Algebra and Calculus form the foundations of the mathematics used in applications, as well as of most higher-level mathematics. Linear Algebra is taught in Math 0520, and in an honors version, Math 0540. For the latter, remarks analogous to those on Math 0350 apply.

Three semesters of calculus and a semester of linear algebra are the ordinary prerequisites for any 1000-level mathematics course (except for Math 1260, which does not require linear algebra).