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Will these Junior College Math Courses Be Sufficient?

  1. Aug 9, 2013 #1
    I am currently enrolled in community college with a transfer agreement to University of Virginia to double-major in pure maths and computer science. I have spoke with two of our advisors, however, neither of them could really understand what I was trying to major in so their advice was limited to following a pre-determined syllabus. Additionally, I have e-mailed several math professors at UVA with these questions but have yet to hear a reply. Because of this, I thought I would turn to my friends at Physics Forums for help.

    I would like to finish undergrad and pursue a maths PhD. However, I will be 31 years old when I finish undergrad so I am getting the computer science BS in case I decide that I no longer wish to attend graduate school.

    Unfortunately, our computer science courses do not seem to really prepare me for the program at UVA, however, I do not have any other option.

    As for the math courses that are offered, I am wondering if I will need to self-study a few courses towards the end of my time at Junior College in order to be prepared for the University of Virginia maths program. I have gone through their requirements and while technically I satisfy the pre-requisites to continue into their program, I do not know if the maths at this JC will be rigorous and expansive enough to prepare me properly. For instance we don't have a "Calc 3" or "Multivariable Calc" but when I read the Vector Calc description it seems like its a multivariable calc. Is it also calc 3 (or is Calc 3 just a name at different Universities and not universal)?

    Below are brief descriptions of the courses offered:

    Calc 2
    Continues the study of analytic geometry and the calculus of algebraic and transcendental functions including rectangular, polar, and parametric graphing, indefinite and definite integrals, methods of integration, and power series along with applications. Designed for mathematical, physical, and engineering science programs.

    Vector Calc
    Presents vector valued functions, partial derivatives, multiple integrals, and topics from the calculus of vectors. Designed for mathematical, physical, and engineering science programs.

    Ordinary Diff EQ
    Introduces ordinary differential equations. Includes first order differential equations, second and higher order ordinary differential equations with application. Designed for mathematical, physical, and engineering science programs.

    Linear Algebra
    Covers matrices, vector spaces, determinants, solutions of systems of linear equations, basis and dimension, Eigenvalues, and Eigenvectors. Designed for mathematical, physical and engineering science programs.

    Additional Question:
    I am currently enrolled in Calc 2 and there is an elementary statistics course that I can take (pre-req is like algebra/trig). I know this is a very basic course and nothing like Calculus but I have never taken any statistics courses and I thought it might help expose my mind to statistical thinking before I take a rigorous statistics course at Uni. Although if you do not think it will be worth my time, then I won't waste time taking it.

    Presents an overview of statistics, including descriptive statistics, elementary probability, probability distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing, and correlation and regression.

    I greatly appreciate any time, help or assistance you can offer. I hope you are having a wonderful day!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2013 #2


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    Names of classes are not universal. At most junior colleges you will have two years of basic math including in 4-6 semesters or 6-8 quarter classes some calculus differential equations and linear algebra. You can study some other things on your own or in a supervised study program. If you do only the minimum depending where you transfer you may lack a few classes. It will be possible to catch up. I do not feel any statistics course that does not use calculus is worthwhile, but you can decide for yourself if you want to take such a class if it is the only one available.
  4. Aug 9, 2013 #3


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    Regarding "Multivariable" and "Vector" Calculuses, check the course descriptions very carefully from both schools, and if possible, also the syllabus of each and compare. They may be in fact the same course, maybe just rearranged a little in the two different schools.

    I'm not too sure on this one, but Statistics at some community colleges, while not done as Calculus-based, are college level courses. They may be called, "Elementary Statistics". In any case, I see no harm in studying "Elementary" Statistics at the community college if you have the time. You can also choose as an option, to study the c. c. Statistics on your own from whichever book is suitable while spending most of your effort on the courses you need for credit.
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