Mathematics And Statistics

At the beginning of New Student Orientation, the Departments of Computer Science and Mathematics and Statistics send each first-year student a letter containing tentative CS/math/stats placements. Placements are based on transcripts and standardized test scores, but the College may not have received a full transcript before making a tentative placement. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics highly recommends meeting with a faculty member during NSO to determine the best possible starting mathematics and statistics courses for you. Faculty members are available at a wide range of times before registration. Please stop by to talk with us about your placement – no appointment needed! We look forward to seeing you.

MAT 115, Introduction to Statistics, introduces the notions of variability and uncertainty and statistical concepts such as confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. The depth and quantity of statistics material discussed in MAT115 is less then the amount covered in MAT209. A student who takes MAT 209 cannot receive credit for MAT 115.

MAT209, Applied Statistics, is also an introductory statistics course that covers the application of basic statistical methods. This course is intended for students who have strong quantitative skills. Students who have some previous experience with statistics are encouraged to consult with a member of the department to determine if this course is appropriate for them. A student who takes MAT 209 cannot receive credit for MAT 115.

MAT/SST-115 and MAT 209 are both introductory statistics courses, although each has a distinct purpose in the curriculum. Students should work closely with their advisers to pick the course that will meet their needs. For example, a student who is planning an economics major should take only MAT 209, as it is a necessary prerequisite to upper-division courses in that major, but students wanting to take statistics to fulfill the prerequisite for the psychology major may take either MAT 115 or MAT 209. Again, close consultation with the student’s adviser and with any other relevant academic department is encouraged. 

MAT 123-124, Functions and Differential Calculus, and Functions and Integral Calculus, is a year long sequence and is intended for students who have no calculus background or who feel they could benefit from a more thorough review of algebraic and trigonometric topics from high school.  The two semesters together cover the content of MAT 131 and serve as a prerequisite to MAT 133.

MAT 131, Calculus I, is a first course in differentiable and integrable calculus.  It assumes proficiency in high school algebra and trigonometry.

MAT 133, Calculus II, is the sequel to MAT 131 or MAT 123/124 and covers multivariable calculus topics.  It is intended for students with a strong grasp of differentiation and integration topics and applications of those topics.  The MAT 131-133 sequence provides the solid base in calculus needed for later mathematics courses, and for the study of the natural and social sciences.

MAT 215, Linear Algebra, introduces students to the study of systems of several variables and linear transformations of space.  Both computational techniques and conceptual ideas are developed, and students are introduced to short mathematical proofs. It requires Calculus II (MAT 133), or its equivalent, as a prerequisite.

After Linear Algebra students are prepared for work in a variety of areas, including Combinatorics (MAT 218), Differential Equations (MAT 220), Geometry (MAT 222), and Elementary Number Theory (MAT 246).

Further courses in the department are offered in pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistrics.  There are many ways to complete the major and students interested in pursuing a mathematics major should talk with a member of the department to devise a plan based on their goals and interests.  A flowchart of mathematics and statistics courses is available at the link below:

http://www.grinnell.edu/academic/math_stat/math_statcoursesequence