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Bio major-calculus vs. linear algebra

  1. Nov 18, 2009 #1
    I need to take a math class and my two options are either calculus I or elementary linear algebra. I want to take one that will help me with my future classes, but i'm not very good with math so i don't want to take a class that i'm going to fail. which one would be the most help to a bio major, and whch one is the easiest.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2009 #2
    any insight to either class would be helpful
  4. Nov 18, 2009 #3
    I would say calc I over linear algebra. I don't know exactly how elementary linear algebra would differ from linear algebra but I think knowing the basics of calculus would be more helpful overall. I could be wrong though.
  5. Nov 18, 2009 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    I agree with tmyer, calculus will be much more helpful in biology.
  6. Nov 18, 2009 #5


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Definitely calculus. Most bio majors aren't required to take linear algebra at all, but you'll need calculus for your biology courses.
  7. Nov 18, 2009 #6
    If a need for something from linear algebra comes up in an undergrad bio class, the professor will probably teach the linear algebra necessary for it, and move on. However, a basic knowledge of calculus is often assumed, and if something from calculus comes up, it often won't be explained. If you're only going to take one of the two, Calculus I is probably going to be the better pick of the two.

    As far as easiness goes, Calc I is pretty standard, but linear algebra classes vary greatly from school to school, so it's hard to know.

    You will see some applications of linear algebra in biology, depending on what areas you study. So, if you get the chance, you might want to study both.
  8. Nov 20, 2009 #7
    For what it's worth I found linear algebra easier than calc.Therefore.. probably better to take a course in calc.
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