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In what order should I take courses as a math major?

  1. Apr 21, 2013 #1
    I got accepted into UIUC math programme (I will major most likely in applied math) and I wonder in what order I should take courses.
    My background is Math IB HL (7), so it is about calculus II. Additionally, as a preparation I decided to work with Spivak's Calculus to get more acquainted with analysis.
    I would like to pursue my degree in 6-7 semesters. Do you have any tips about order in which I should take courses + is it worth to pursue double major (i.e. math and finance)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2013 #2
    You should take your courses in the order recommended by the department or by your student adviser.
  4. Apr 21, 2013 #3
    I did not find recommended order on website.
  5. Apr 21, 2013 #4
    http://provost.illinois.edu/ProgramsOfStudy/2011/fall/programs/undergrad/las/math.html [Broken]

    Search harder.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Apr 21, 2013 #5
    I found this one, but there are listed only requirements to receive degree. There is no suggested order of courses I should take.

    I am especially concerned about choice of courses in my first semester.

    Since I receive only credit for Calc I, I will have to take Calc II during first semester in order to enroll to Calc III in 3rd semester. Is there any other course that I will be able to follow, which I can take during first semester? I do not want to waste my time at college, that is why I posted this question.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Apr 21, 2013 #6


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    The awesome thing about schools is they have these people within departments called academic advisors. Get this, they are literally partially paid to at least give you advice on the order of taking courses, so you don't have to resort to asking complete random strangers on the internet who has never attended your school on how you should go about your life. Because, in all seriousness, what makes sense at one school, wouldn't work at another school.
  8. Apr 21, 2013 #7


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    Elsewhere on the web site, there should be official descriptions of each course, including prerequisites. In principle, you can take courses in any order, so long as you satisfy the prerequisites for each one.

    At the college where I work, Calc II is prerequisite (directly or indirectly) for all other courses for the math major, except of course for Calc I. UIUC may have a different setup.

    There are probably general-education courses (English, science, history, whatever) that you have to take at some point anyway. You might as well get them out of the way now.
  9. Apr 21, 2013 #8


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    You might want to take honors calc 1 rather than calc 2 in first semester, to get a better background. I have had many students take my calc 2 in Fall only to realize that their high school preparation was less than I expected from them.

    After one variable calc, it is feasible to take linear algebra, and that will be very useful for several variable calc as well as for diff eq.

    at some point some topology is useful, and can be taken fairly early, probably after calc 1.

    after you know some calc, diff geom is also feasible. abstract algebra can be taken any time, but it helps to know a little linear algebra first.

    analysis usually follows calc 1 and topology.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  10. Apr 21, 2013 #9
    Just want to point out that IB HL Math, while much better preparation for math majors than AP BC, leaves out some Calc II topics. You may want to look through a book like Larson/Edwards to check which ones they are (I don't know them off the top of my head).
  11. Apr 22, 2013 #10
    I'm at UIUC doing computer science and math. Until you've finished calc 3, you're going to be very limited in which math classes you can take. Calc 3 is a prerequisite for math 347 which is the intro proofs class. Besides applied versions of linear algebra and differential equations, 347 is prerequisite for almost everything besides the calculus sequence.

    The math program at UIUC is really great. My calc 3 class was totally amazing and eye opening. I strongly encourage you to not be in such a hurry and enjoy the ride. What's the difference in 7 semesters vs 8 semesters when you're talking about the foundation for the rest of your life?
  12. Apr 23, 2013 #11


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    my advice is based on what is needed logically. the previous post is also important since it focuses on what is needed administratively.
  13. Apr 25, 2013 #12
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