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What colleges allow/don't allow calculators?

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  • Thread starter gmmstr827
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I know that some colleges forbid the use of calculators in high level math classes, but I can't find a place that tells me what colleges do this. Does anyone know if the following colleges allow or don't allow calculators, or if they allow a TI-89 or specific other calculators?

Penn State University Lehigh Valley
Moravian College
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Albright College
Muhlenberg College
Lehigh University
Cedar Crest College

I'm trying to decide where to transfer to, but would really like to avoid not being able to use a calculator to check my work and help me along with problems. I feel that I would do much better with its assistance. I'm most used to using my TI-89, so a place that allows this would be ideal.

Thank you!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1,086
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How would a calculator even be helpful in high level classes? Regardless, even if they do ban calculators, you can still use one when doing your homework, but I find it hard to imagine any university allowing them on finals and midterms.
 
  • #3
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I am a math major who have taken plenty of high level math courses, but calculator becomes absolutely useless once I finished taking lower-division math courses (e.g. calculus, diff eq, elementary linear algebra). This is because

1) Most of the high-level math courses are proof-oriented, so calculator is no use in there.

2) Even in a course that has some computations (e.g. probability, complex variables), instructors write exams so that the computations required are essentially basic arithmetic (the reason the calculators are prohibited is so that you can show that you actually understand the concepts behind the problem.)

In short, I would not even consider transferring schools just because you cannot use a calculator.

Also, are you planning to go to a grad school in math or physics? If so, be prepared that the you are NOT allowed to use a calculator on a GRE subject exam (in either mathematics or physics).
 
  • #4
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Eek, proofs? I might reconsider my major, ha. Thanks for the advise.
 
  • #5
G01
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,665
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A math major will focus on mostly proof based coursework, so a calculator becomes entirely useless, VERY early on.

Eek, proofs? I might reconsider my major, ha.
In all seriousness, if you do not like proofs and do not want to part with a calculator, you almost certainly should reconsider being a math major.
 
  • #6
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I've taken calc 3, linear algebra, diff eq 1, and an upper level stats class so far. I haven't needed a calculator in any of the classes because it's almost exclusively symbolic. Whatever calculations are on an exam are made purposely easy to work with.
 
  • #7
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
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In all seriousness, if you do not like proofs and do not want to part with a calculator, you almost certainly should reconsider being a math major.
Seconded. Completely WRONG major for you if you don't like proofs.
 
  • #8
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Well, I'm only just learning them now in Discrete Math. are those the kind of proofs you're talking about?
 
  • #9
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Hi. most colleges allows the use of calculators nowdays
 
  • #10
186
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Unless you're in an applied math program; yes, upper division math courses are very proof oriented.

I think the types of proofs you do in discrete math courses are more foundational than the ones you do in upper division math courses (at least that seems like it at my school). You learn mathematical logic, set theory, and some proof techniques like induction or "proof by contradiction." In upper division math courses, you are expected to know all of these in order to prove more challenging and abstract statements.

Also, not all math departments have a uniform policy on use of calculator during an exam; at my school, some instructors allow it at lower-division courses, whereas some others don't.
 
  • #11
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I wouldn't change majors just because you don't like proofs. A little more than a year ago, I was in the same situation. Then I took more classes that involved proofs and they began to grow on me. My advice is to ease yourself into the proof classes (most schools use courses in linear algebra and foundational discrete math as entry-level proof-intensive classes) and see how you feel in another couple semesters. You could very well change your tone. It worked for me.
 
  • #12
hotvette
Homework Helper
988
3
Even if you were able to find out which colleges do/don't allow calculators in high level math classes (which I doubt you can), it seems to me this item shouldn't even be on the list of factors to consider when choosing a college.
 
  • #13
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Even if you were able to find out which colleges do/don't allow calculators in high level math classes (which I doubt you can), it seems to me this item shouldn't even be on the list of factors to consider when choosing a college.
Agreed, seems kind of absurd to me.

Once you get to calc 1 and beyond there's really no need for a calculator. Only thing I can think of is to use them for matrix multiplication, but usually on an exam you might just be asked to set up the matrix.

Physics homework requires a calculator, but math is all symbolic anyways.
 
  • #14
jhae2.718
Gold Member
1,161
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Most of the physics homework I have is symbolic, as with much of the mathematics.

Calculators and computer algebra systems are useful tools, but with a proper understanding of the concepts, they should be superfluous.
 
  • #15
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Eek, proofs? I might reconsider my major, ha. Thanks for the advise.
Seriously: change your major right now! A math major who doesn't like proofs is like an english major who doesn't like to read books.
 
  • #16
Simfish
Gold Member
818
2
Just go to a college that has numerous take-home exams. All of Caltech's exams are take-home exams, so they can't forbid the use of calculators. A lot of other top-level colleges also have lots of take-homes.

That being said, Caltech is only suitable for a very small percent of students
 
  • #17
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You use a calculator to do your homework? And not, say, Wolfram Alpha?
 

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