Information
for Prospective Students
Welcome!
This page provides information about the Mathematics and Computer Science
Department at Grinnell College.
Curriculum
The department offers a broad range of courses covering may subareas within
mathematics and computer science. All courses develop logical thinking,
quantitative ability, and rigorous deductive analysis. The curriculum is
divided into two basic parts: mathematics and computer science. Each
provides a combination of fundamental theory and widely applicable material
of interest to all students of liberal arts. The curriculum further
prepares majors who plan careers in pure or applied mathematics,
probability and statistics, or computer science, in the natural or social
sciences, in teaching, or in other professions.
Additional information is available, as follows:
Information on some current course offerings are available via links from
the department's home page
Facilities
The Department runs a Local Area Network (MathLAN)
which includes more than 70 Pentiumbased workstations with 17'' or 19''
color monitors for graphics, computation, data analysis, and
experimentation. Each classroom in the department contains a computer
workstation and projector for presentations and demonstrations. In
addition, each of the two computer laboratories contains about 17
workstations, which are used by students in class, for laboratory sessions,
and for individual and group use. A printing area in laboratory contains two
blackandwhite printers and one color printer. A scanner also is
available to students in the laboratory. All MathLAn machines utilize
the Linux operating system; the computers in one lab also have a
dualboot capability with the Windows operating system.
Computing is a vital part of Grinnell's academic environment. The college
runs an extensive highspeed, fiberoptic network for connectivity
computers in residence halls, classroom buildings, laboratories, and
offices. For example, the college provides an ethernet connection for each
student in the dorms (one connection per pillow). In addition, wireless
networks support machines in most academic buildings and in the dormitories.
Currently, this network supports over 400 collegeowned computers that are
available to students, plus over 1000 studentowned computers that are
connected to Grinnell's residential network. Internet connectivity comes
through a redundant, fractional T3 network.
Placement of Incoming Students
Since each incoming student has a special background, any final decision
concerning placement in courses may involve discussion among the student,
his or her advisor, and the mathematics and computer science faculty.
Generally, the placement process involves these steps:

The mathematics and computer science faculty make a preliminary
placement recommendation, based upon results of standardized tests and the
high school transcript.

Upon arrival on campus, the student reviews this preliminary placement with
his or her advisor.

If the transcript is incomplete, if the student believes another placement
might be more appropriate, or even if the student feels slightly nervous
about the placement, then the student may talk with a member of the
mathematics and computer science department for a detailed discussion of
placement.

Final placement comes from the consensus reached based on discussions with
a student's advisor.
Specific Placement Information
Click here for your
tentative placement, based on your test scores and transcript.
Some General Placement Guidelines:
While the placement process considers may factors, the following guidelines
may provide some general information:
Mathematics

The normal first course is Math 131, Calculus I. This course usually is
taken by students having a solid mathematics background through precalculus
or trigonometry and by students with one semester of calculus in high
school.

Students with 2 semesters of calculus in high school typically begin in
Math 133, Calculus II. Since Grinnell's Calculus II covers multivariable
calculus, most of the material in Math 133 will be new to students with
calculus in high school.

Students with particularly strong backgrounds start in Math 215, Linear
Algebra.

Students with weaker backgrounds start in Math 123, Functions and
Differential Calculus.
Computer Science

Most students begin with CS 151152, Fundamentals of Computer Science III.
Since Grinnell's introductory computerscience sequence studies alternative
views of problem solving (functional, objectoriented, and procedural
problem solving), this material is new to most entering students.

Students with extensive programming experience may begin with CS 153,
Computer Science Fundamentals. This course assumes background with
procedural programming, and covers the main elements of functional and
objectoriented programming in one semester.

Students with weaker backgrounds start in CS 103, Problem Solving and
Computing.
Advanced Placement Policy

Our research indicates that a score of 3 on the AP AB Calculus Examination
is not a good predictor of success in calculus, and our placement considers
the rest of a student's transcript. A student may receive 4 credits for
this score upon placement in and successful completion of Math 133,
Calculus II.

Students scoring 4 or 5 on the AP AB Calculus Examination or scoring 3 or
better on the AP BC Calculus Examination receive 4 credits for Math 131 and
may begin in Math 133, Calculus II.

Students scoring 4 or 5 on the AP BC Calculus Examination may be allowed to
begin in Math 215, Linear Algebra. Such students receive 4 additional
credits for their AP score upon placement in and successful completion of Math
215. (Such students successfully starting in Math 215 would receive 8
credits overall, 4 for Math 131 and 4 for Math 133.)

Students scoring 4 or 5 on the AP CS A Examination or scoring 3 or betting
on the AP CS AB Examination receive 4 science credits and are encouraged to
start in CS 153, Computer Science Fundamentals.

Students scoring 4 or 5 on the AP CS AB Examination may be allowed to
begin in a 200level computer science course. Such students receive 4
additional credits for their AP score upon successful completion of the
200level course as their first computer science course.
International Baccalaureate Policy

Students scoring 4 or better on the IB Math Examination receive 4 credits
for Math 131 and may begin in Math 133, Calculus II.

Students scoring 6 or 7 on the IB Math Examination may contact the Chair of
the department to discuss the possibility of being awarded 4 additional
credits, pending initial placement in, and successful completion of, Math
215, Linear Algebra.

Students scoring 4 or better on the IB CS Examination receive 4 science
credits and may begin in CS 153, Computer Science Fundamentals.

Students scoring 6 or 7 on the IB CS Examination may contact the Chair of
the department to discuss the possibility of being awarded 4 additional
credits, pending initial placement in, and successful completion of, a
200level computer science course.