Math and Computer Science

Placement Information


Social and Natural Science Majors
Most Social and Natural Science majors are required to take Statistics (MAT52-114) and/or Calculus I (MAT52-154). It is extremely important to consult with your advisor before choosing your mathematics course.

Non-Science Majors
We recommend that non-Science majors take Explorations in Mathematics (MAT52-104), Statistics (MAT52-114), Calculus I (MAT52-154) and/or Computer Science I (CSC54-184). Although Elementary Function Theory (MAT52-124) is an option, it is primarily a course designed for EC-6 and 4-8 certification education majors for which it is a requirement and also designed to prepare students with a weak background for Calculus I.

Calculus I or Elementary Function Theory?
Students who wish to take Calculus I (MAT52-154) must have acquired mastery of high school level pre-calculus. This includes high school algebra, trigonometry, and exponential and logarithmic functions. Students are now required to take and pass a pre-Calculus Assessment prior to their fourth day of Calculus I. Please see the instructions below.  It may be advisable for unprepared students to first take Elementary Function Theory before attempting to take Calculus I.

Calculus I or Calculus II?
Students who wish to take Calculus II (MAT52-254) must have a minimum of C- in Calculus I (MAT52-154) or equivalent. Transfer credit for Calculus I allows entry into Calculus II without consultation. For AP credit, see below.

Exam Placement
An AP score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB exam yields credit for Calculus I. An AP score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus BC exam yields credit for Calculus I and Calculus II. Those with AP scores of 3 should consult with a Calculus instructor to aid their placement.

Computer Science 

Exam Placement
Earning a 4 or 5 on the AP Computer Science A exam yields credit for CSC 54-184: Computer Science I. Earning a 4 or 5 on the AP Computer Science Principles exam earns credit for CSC54-144: Explorations in Computing. While that course does not count for the CS major or minor, students are encouraged to consult with MAT/CSC department chair to determine course placement in subsequent CSC courses. Students who have taken the AP Computer Science A course but did not earn credit, or who are comfortable in a programming language (Java or a different one) are encouraged to contact Dr. Anthony and Dr. Schrum to talk about appropriate placement.

Non-Science Majors
Explorations in Computing is an appropriate course for non-majors. However, both Explorations in Computing and Computer Science I are appropriate for students with no previous programming experience. 

Community College Transfer
Many students are interested in transferring into our department using Texas Community College credits. Here is how these courses transfer:

  •  COSC 1336 Programming Fundamentals I: Transfers in as a selected topics course that does not count toward the major. However, it may still be appropriate to place into Computer Science II. Please contact Dr. Anthony and Dr. Schrum for guidance.
  • COSC 1337 Programming Fundamentals II: Transfers in as CSC 54-184: Computer Science I. However, if your previous programming experience is not in Java, you should consult with the CS faculty before taking additional courses in the department.
  • COSC 2336 Programming Fundamentals III: Transfers in as CSC 54-284, Computer Science II
Instructions on Placement for Calculus I:

In order to take Calculus I, you must have taken Pre-Calculus (a course that includes algebra, trigonometry, and logarithms) in high school (or in college) and passed that class with an A or B. You will take a placement exam the first week of class to make sure you are in the correct class. 

Nervous about Calculus I? You can use the ALEKS system (see below) to prepare for the course!

If you fall into any of the categories below, you are highly recommended to prep for Calculus I by completing the ALEKS Pre-Calculus course.

  • Scored below 570 on Math SAT (or below 25 on Math ACT)
  • Haven’t taken a math class in 2 years
  • Struggled in your Pre-Calculus class

Historically, students in these groups have not successfully completed Calculus I at Southwestern and we want you to not only succeed, but excel. Thus, we recommend spending time before the semester begins reviewing your Pre-Calculus knowledge to prepare you for Calculus using the ALEKS adaptive learning system. The cost of the ALEKS program is $25 for 6 weeks of access. Instructions on how to login to ALEKS should be emailed to you once you register for Calculus I.

For Non-Technical, Procedural Questions About ALEKS

Contact Dr. Alison Marr or Dr. Therese Shelton, ALEKS Coordinators, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, or

*Content regarding the ALEKS precalculus assessment adapted from LSU’s Department of Mathematics