# I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to drop it

1. Sep 12, 2011

### xdrgnh

Alright so I register for calc III and took my first two lectures last week in it. I was doing very well in the class and even was told by my teacher I was doing a good job. However I got a email from the department saying I need Linear Algebra before taking calc III. First of all from my understanding you only use determinants in calc III which I already know, also I know how to solve a system of Linear Equation uses Matrices. I have a meeting with the head of the department tomorrow, what should I tell him so that he can understand that I can handle calc III. Btw I did really well in my AP calculus BC class and got a 5 on the exam so my calculus is excellent.

Thanks a lot.

2. Sep 12, 2011

### micromass

Staff Emeritus
Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

What book are you using??

Maybe you can read up on the chapter of differentials and show that you understand all the linear algebra in it...

3. Sep 12, 2011

### xdrgnh

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

We are using Calculus Hughes Hallett Gleason Mc Callum which after looking through only uses LA once for computing cross products. Differentials? you mean determinants right?

4. Sep 12, 2011

### xdrgnh

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Oh and that was my plan, I still don't understand the reasoning though, most schools you take calc III then LA first I'm just checking to make sure I am not missing something here.

5. Sep 12, 2011

### micromass

Staff Emeritus
Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Hmmm, I can't seem to find the book, so I don't know how linear algebra intensive it is.

I would say that the logical thing to do is first take linear algebra and then calculus, but most school do it backwards for some reason (most likely the reason that calculus III is more important than linear algebra...).

I'd say, if you can convince the department head that you're comfortable with determinants, matrices, matrix multiplication and linear functions, then you should be set.

6. Sep 12, 2011

### xdrgnh

Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
7. Sep 12, 2011

### Robert1986

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Warning: slightly off-topic post.

I have often wondered this, myself. The only two things I can come up with are:
a)Linear algebra (at least for me) was vastly different from anything I had done up until that point and I think that it requires a certain amount of mathematical maturity and most departments feel that when a student passes calc I, he has shown that he has this mathematical maturity. Also, it is nice to understand differentiation before taking Lin.Alg. because it is a great example of a linear transformation, and it is a good example of a nilpotent transformation.

b)Calculus is really the culmination of high school algebra/trig/pre-calc. don't you think? While Linear algebra is somewhat of a fork in the road.

I took the Calc. Sequence and Lin Alg at a community college, but at the university I am at now, things are done more or less in the manner you described. Calc I is a really fast-paced course (covering up to various advanced integration techniques and series) and Calc II is the "rest" of one variable calculus (namely lots of applications of integration, some cook-book ODEs, a "rigorous" proof of FTC) for the first third to half of the course and linear algebra for the remainder of the course. Then Calc. III is pretty much just basic multi-variable stuff. This seems to work well for most students, but it is quite a load.

8. Sep 12, 2011

### QuarkCharmer

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

I would ask your professor about it first, he would know that you are doing well in the course and perhaps recommend that the university waive the pre-req.

This is strange to me. All of the universities down here either allow Linear Algebra to be taken any time after calc I, or require calc II to even take it. You never actually have to take it in order to take calc III though. But I see the logic behind it.

9. Sep 12, 2011

### Robert1986

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Here is another question: How in the world did you school even let you register for this class? I'm guessing you register on a computer, right?

10. Sep 12, 2011

### xdrgnh

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Idk I just registered and it said the only classes I need was calc II which I had. I bought the books for the classes which came to over a 100\$ dollars and now they want me to start over after a week of being in the class.

11. Sep 12, 2011

### ahsanxr

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Just tell them that you know the required LA. In my school they aren't strict about the pre-reqs at all. I'm in Quantum Physics without having taken Modern Physics and Advanced LA without taken a proofs class and no one seems to care.

12. Sep 12, 2011

### QuarkCharmer

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

That might not be an option in his case. At my university I asked to take Calculus I at the same time as Physics I (w/calc), I had a professors recommendation, offered to demonstrate that I already understood the calculus required for the course. The dean wouldn't budge at all. "This course expects you to know calculus before taking it", "I do know it", "Yes but this course requires you to have taken Calculus I prior to"...

I have never heard of anyone here waiving out of a pre-req.

13. Sep 12, 2011

### lawnphysics

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Look in the University/School catalog and see what the prereq/coreqs are first for that course. Then check your current syllabus and see if it mentions that Lin Alg is a prereq. or just recommended. If neither is true then you have some good arguments.

Other considerations: understand that prereqs can be waived if demonstrated knowledge of that material. Waiving prereqs is entirely an administrative issue. If your a Math Major Consult your department dean. If not make sure you consult your respective deans office.

Be clear that you are not asking them to waive the prereq so you do not have to take the course later. Yet that you just want to finish your current course. Make sure that he/she or anyone involved understands that you are NOT trying to waive a Graduation requirement/and or course and still wish to take this course next semester.

If dropping this course would advesely affect your financial aid make sure you show that to you advisor/dean as well. This could be a major issue possibly. So check with financial aid before you let them drop anything!

My University allows Calc 3 as a coreq (not
Required but recommended) with Lin Alg and intro to higher math...talk about too many math classes at one time!

Of course as always having the instructors blessings goes a long way as well.
Always do the leg work for the chair. Go in having all of his questions answered that you possibly can with as many recommendations and signatures required. They want to see action and determination not someone waiting for them to solve their problem. I know this personally! (which your not doing, your trying to go in informed just posting here).

If all else fails and this will significantly affect your academic career goals and/or graduation year/semester. See if your school has a student affairs appeal/grievance office then use it!

I doubt it very seriously your situation going that far and I would not tell anyone you talk to that you are going to do so, just use it as a last resort if you have no other choice!

Above all be respectful, and if waiting to take the class will not affect your financial aid or your academic goal or graduation date, then my advice is to take into serious consideration of dropping the course. Conditional that when to do they place it as an incomplete and take it during the summer, or make sure they back-date the withdraw date so you do not end up with a "W" on your transcript or can get a full refund. Keep in mind your advisor and the department should have caught this during the first week too, but if you knew this to be the case up front too it's just as much your fault as theirs.

Unfortunately I know most of this by experience. I have had several prereqs waived for courses and been able to register for the impossible. Just remember that prereqs being waived is a complete administrative issue and people who can help you are far more willing to help you if you do the work for them!

Lots of information I know but I have been there done that.Maybe I have just been lucky but I have shaved two years off my expected graduation requirements do to prereq waival, hard work, and lots of foot work.

Let us know how it turns out!

Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
14. Sep 12, 2011

### ahsanxr

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Wow, I did not know that this was such a big deal at other schools. In my school pre-reqs are just listed as "Class X or Instructor Permission", which I feel makes a lot more sense.

15. Sep 13, 2011

### Chunkysalsa

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

I guess my calc 3 class was quite weak because I dont see why you would need linear algebra. My ODE class didnt even have it as a prereq and I could see tons of LA stuff there.

But I guess its because of all the engineer and physicists who have to take cacl3 and ODE but not linear algebra.

My math order was Calc1>Calc2>(Calc3 + ODE)>(Proofs + LA + Stats)
Yea that last part is the current semester V_V, AND I'm an engineer so lol.

16. Sep 13, 2011

### Bourbaki1123

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

What makes you say that? A number of people, such as GIlbert Strang have expressed the opposite opinion, and at the very least linear algebra is hugely important for numerical analysis and other more computational areas.

17. Sep 13, 2011

### xdrgnh

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

I got my meeting at 3PM today, one of the reasons why I want Multi is because I am taking E@M next semester and it would help me in my understandings of Maxwell's equations. Also I want to take Complex Variable next semester which I need Multi for. Also I want to take LA next semester so I'm not trying to get my way out of a required coarse.

18. Sep 13, 2011

### Bourbaki1123

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

It's not so bad (maybe if you've got other courses); mine was Calc 1 > Calc 2 > (Proofs + LA + Abstract + Calc III + Mathematics Programming)

19. Sep 13, 2011

### xdrgnh

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

I talked to him and he gave me a problem to do I did it and now I get to stay in the class.

20. Sep 13, 2011

### QuarkCharmer

Re: I am in serious trouble in my calc III class and the school is threatening to dro

Awesome!