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Calculus 3 vs Differential Equations

  1. Apr 22, 2015 #1
    My school requires me to take a calc 3 course and differential equations for my major. I am scheduled right now to take differential equations in the summer, and calc 3 in the fall of this year. My school recommends they be concurrent classes, but I'm just too strapped down by my already almost 20 credits. Does this seem advisable? Is differential equations before calc 3 a good idea? I would prefer to get these classes out of the way now so that I don't have to take, say, differential equations in the next spring, as I would like that available for another class.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2015 #2

    SteamKing

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    You don't say what your major is, so it's hard to judge if taking two math classes in one semester is too much. I don't think there will be much overlap between DE and Calc 3, if your Calc 3 course is vector calculus.

    I'm not familiar with what schools require now, but at least in an engineering curriculum, our course schedules were structured so that we took one math course per semester, primarily because we were taking a full load of science and engineering classes the rest of the time. A lot of the math, of course, was used in these other classes.
     
  4. Apr 22, 2015 #3
    Around here, people typically take calc 3 (multivariable/vector calc) before differential equations, but in my experience, a person would be just fine taking differential equations before calc 3. Some differential equations classes squeeze in basic linear algebra, and in that case it might be best to take calc 3 first but certainly still doable.

    Could you just take calc 3 in the summer and differential equations in the fall?
     
  5. Apr 22, 2015 #4
    I took differential equations befor calc 3. This is common among the EE majors at my university. Other majors take Calc 3 before DE. There's hardly any overlap (at at least there wasn't for me). After all, a regular introductory DE course is only focused on ordinary differential equations (one variable).

    We needed to know basic linear algebra (calculating determinants) and standard integration techniques for my DE course.
     
  6. Apr 22, 2015 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    "Calc 3" is only slightly more informative that "MATH 220". It can mean a lot of different things. If you posted the course descriptions for Calc 3 and for Differential Equations, people could give you more targeted advice.
     
  7. Apr 22, 2015 #6
    My major is Chemical Engineering, and yes Calc 3 is my Vector (multivariable) calculus.

    I can't take differential equations, as they aren't offering it in the fall, unfortunately. Vice versa for calc 3 in the summer, too.

    If there is a minor amount of some math I don't know, I should be fine catching up, I just wanted to know if it would be completely unspeakable to take DE before Calc 3.
     
  8. Apr 22, 2015 #7
    Calc 3:
    MATH 251 Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations (4) First- and second-order equations; special functions; Laplace transform solutions; higher order equations; Fourier series; partial differential equations.

    Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations (4)

    General Education: None
    Diversity: None
    Bachelor of Arts: Quantification
    Effective: Fall 1988
    Prerequisite: MATH 141 orMATH 141H
    -----------------

    Differential Equations:
    MATH 251 Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations (4) First- and second-order equations; special functions; Laplace transform solutions; higher order equations; Fourier series; partial differential equations.

    Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations (4)

    General Education: None
    Diversity: None
    Bachelor of Arts: Quantification
    Effective: Fall 1988
    Prerequisite: MATH 141 orMATH 141H
     
  9. Apr 22, 2015 #8

    SteamKing

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    In my engineering undergrad days, DE was taken before vector calculus.
     
  10. Apr 22, 2015 #9

    jasonRF

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    RyanTAsher,

    As you can tell from the various answers in this thread, different schools teach these things in different ways (for example, the engineering math sequence I took required a semester of linear algebra before differential equations and vector calculus).

    I think you will likely get the best advice from your your advisor, as she or he actually knows the curriculum at your school. Other faculty at your university may also help if your advisor isn't available - check with the math department if you are unsure.

    jason
     
  11. Apr 23, 2015 #10
    Thanks, I'll check in with my advisor, I just wanted to get some advice from some others who may have at least gone through the same thing, I'll check out the syllabus' for each class and see what I'm going to need to know.
     
  12. Apr 25, 2015 #11

    QuantumCurt

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    I took differential equations before calculus 3. I got an A in differential equations and will get an A in calculus 3 this semester. There is some overlap between the two courses such as the use of partial derivatives to solve differential equations of multiple variables. Multivariable functions aren't typically covered until calculus 3, but the amount of knowledge of the actual theory of functions of multiple variables needed to understand and solve these differential equations is fairly minimal, at least at the level of an introductory diff eq class. A lower division differential equations course may even assume that you've never seen these things.
     
  13. Apr 26, 2015 #12
    Thanks for the inspiration, I already know a little bit about differential equations, and taught myself a little about partial derivatives awhile back, so I think I'll be fine if I continue on this course.
     
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