About Mathematics

Do I need to take mathematics at F&M?

Mathematics is NOT required at Franklin & Marshall College, unless you choose to major in certain disciplines, or pursue the requirements for the health professions. Majors that have a mathematics requirement are Business, Organizations and Society (BOS), Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Economics and, naturally, Mathematics. You may, of course, take mathematics simply because you like it or are undecided about the future. If you don't like math and don't need math, then don't take it. There are plenty of other courses for you to take.

Should I take mathematics my first semester?

You should consider taking mathematics your first semester at F&M if any of the following apply:

You wish to continue your studies in math at the college level. You intend a major in Biology, Business, Organizations and Society (BOS), Computer Science, Chemistry, Earth and Environment, Economics, Mathematics, or Physics.

You intend to pursue pre-healing arts requirements, concurrently plan to pursue a science major, and have performed well in mathematics in high school.

How will my math placement be determined?

The Mathematics Department at F&M will place you in the proper mathematics course. First, however, all students must complete the Math Questionnaire that appear within the New Student Information Form. These questions will help determine if it is necessary for you to take the Calculus Placement Exam. For students who need to take the Calculus Placement Exam, they will automatically be directed to the exam.  Current students who are unsure about which math course to take should consult Iwan Praton in the Math Department (ipraton@fandm.edu).

Do I need to complete the Calculus Placement Exam?

If you wish to take mathematics at F&M AND you have taken a year-long calculus course in high school (whether or not you took the AP Exam), you must complete the Calculus Placement Exam in order to be registered for a mathematics course.

What if I have AP or IB credit in math and/or chemistry?

If you have AP or IB credit in calculus (including AB or BC), it is very likely you will begin mathematics at a higher level such as Calculus II (MAT 110). If you have scored a 4 or 5 on the AP test, you will receive AP credit for MAT 109. Questions about AP credit in mathematics should be directed to Professor Iwan Praton (ipraton@fandm.edu; 717-358-4238) in the Mathematics Department. If you have AP or IB credit in chemistry, it is strongly recommended that you consult with the chair of the Chemistry Department, Professor Kenneth Hess  (khess@fandm.edu; 717- 358-4124).

What is Math 105?

Students who have not taken precalculus or who did poorly in precalculus are placed by the Mathematics Department into Math 105, Introduction to College Math. The purpose of this course is to review and strengthen your math skills. Typically, these students are advised not to enroll in Chemistry 111 for the Fall Semester and delay enrollment in Chemistry 111 until the Fall Semester of the sophomore year.

We have found that students whose mathematics skills need strengthening traditionally do not perform well in Chemistry. Learning Chemistry at the college level strongly depends upon one's mathematical background. We believe that you will be in a better position for success in General Chemistry during your sophomore year after you have completed both Math 105 and Math 109 during your first year. Please note that you will begin Biology during the second semester of your first year along with Calculus.

If you hope to pursue a Biology major or prepare for health professions, be assured that delaying your enrollment in Chemistry 111 until the Fall Semester of your sophomore year will not jeopardize completion of the major or health professions requirements at the College.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Prof. Iwan Praton , ipraton@fandm.edu,  of the Department of Mathematics, or Professor Kenneth Hess, khess@fandm.edu,  of the Department of Chemistry .