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What do I take after Calculus II?

  1. Oct 8, 2008 #1
    I'm taking calc 2 right now and I want to start planning what classes in going to take next semester.

    I'm basically retaking the class for college credit, so I'm fairly certain im going to get a B+/A-.

    Some people are telling me to take vector calculus while the other half are saying linear algebra.

    What are the available courses that you would recommend for an econ major?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2008 #2
    I took Linear Algebra and Calculus II at the same time, and I'm now taking Multivariable Calculus (a.k.a. Vector Calculus or Calculus III).

    You are going to use some Linear Algebra when learning Multivariable Calculus; defining vector spaces and computing cross products through the algebraic definition (things I've identified thus far). Of course you will be taught these techniques (Linear Algebra isn't a pre-requisite), but it certainly doesn't hurt to have taken Linear Algebra before tackling Multivariable Calculus.

    Linear Algebra can be used to solve large linear systems and identify pivotal components. Some of the exercises we did involved defining a simplified economy in terms of one or two key resources. As mentioned above, it's also used in Multivariable Calculus.

    From the exercises and reading I've done so far in Multi, most economic models involve 10 or more variables, so learning the concepts and techniques to visualize and work in these dimensions seems important for someone interested in economics.

    EDIT: Learning Linear Algebra may seem like a step in a totally different direction from your Calculus sequence. Much of it involves abstract thought and doing proofs. You would certainly benefit from reading a quick book on Logic such as "Logic For Dummy's" before digging into your L.A. text.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  4. Oct 8, 2008 #3
    Linear algebra is about much more than solving systems of linear equations. You can get a computer to do that. One of the things about linear algebra is that it will get you doing proofs, which helps you to argue clearly and correctly. Let me tell you, vector calculus will have far more applications in economics, but linear algebra will be very useful, for its own sake too. If possible take both. If not, take vector calc (maybe pick up linear algebra later).
  5. Oct 8, 2008 #4
    I was just giving a couple examples; I didn't mean to sound as though solving systems of linear equations encompassed all it's potential.
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