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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Course Flow Chart

Information for students taking an algebra or calculus course

Math course flow chart

Let's face it. Taking an algebra or calculus course requires that you understand thoroughly the prerequisite material. We have put in place several mechanisms to determine which math course you are mathematically prepared to take, and several more ways in which you can review to become better prepared. The more effort you put into reviewing material on your own, the higher the math class you can start taking​.

The flow chart above provides the sequence of courses which, when followed, best-prepares students for mathematical success when started at the appropriate level. The first step is to get assessed to see which math class you are prepared to take. From this assessment, a student should know whether they are qualified to take MATH 1070, MATH 1110, MATH 1130, or MATH 1401.

*Note that the course title for MATH 1070 has changed from "Algebra for Social Sciences and Business" to "College Algebra for Business." (As of July 2015)​

Have your Mathematics Ability Assessed:

Upon admission to UCD, your goal should be to take the highest level math class which you are comfortable and have the skill set needed to succeed. UCD provides several options for students to determine which math class you are prepared to take. Some of the exams which can be used include the SAT, ACT, MyMathTest, and ALEKS. Information about assessing readiness for other UCD math classes such as MATH 1130 and MATH 1401 are also available.


UC Denver Math Course Prerequisites:

It should be noted that if you want to take Calculus I, MATH 1401, you must meet one of the prerequisite requirements before registering for the course, so if you have not already met one of the prerequisite requirements, it is particularly important for you to take one of these exams early so that you will have plenty of time to review material and if necessary, re-take a prerequisite exam before registering for classes. For MATH 1110 and MATH 1070 no exam prerequisite are enforced, so the scores are only recommended. For other MATH course​s, students must have the prerequisite course on their transcript before being able to register.

To summarize:

  • MATH 1401: Prerequisite exam is required before registering. No exceptions to the prerequisite requirements are made.
  • MATH 1070 and MATH 1110: Prerequisite exam scores are recommended only -- they are not strictly enforced. It is strongly recommended that students take one of these exams to determine whether they are sufficiently prepared, and if they are not, we recommend they spend some time reviewing the prerequisite material. Options for reviewing material are described below.
  • Other MATH classes: Students must have the prerequisite math course listed on their transcript with a passing grade of C- or better before they can register online. Exceptions to this, such as a course taken at another institution that may have a title not consistent with UCD courses, may seek approval from the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. Please bring course materials (place taken course, title, description, prerequisite course, text used) to the CU Building, sixth floor, and leave this information along with your contact information, and we will evaluate the course as soon as possible (usually within 2 working days).

For MATH 1070 and MATH 1110, it is your responsibility to be sure you are sufficiently prepared to be successful. The percentage of students who pass these classes who have not met the prerequisite requirement is less than 40%. Students who meet the prerequisite requirements are considered to have a sufficient mathematical background to pass their math class. Of the students who meet the appropriate prerequisites, between 60% and 80% successfully complete the course with a grade of C or better. Students who meet the suggested prerequisites and who do not pass the class often have poor study habits or have non-academic pressures or issues which keep them from focusing on their academics.

If you need to review prerequisite materials before taking MATH 1070, 1110, 1130, or 1401, and would like more specific information about which topics you should review, we strongly recommend taking MyMathTest, an online exam, for free at the UCD Math Education Resource Center (MERC) lab, located in the North Classroom, room 4015 any time the lab is open and available. See the MERC website for available lab hours. You should be prepared to spend about 1.5 hours learning how to input mathematical solutions into MyMathTest before taking a detailed assessment. MyMathTest also has tutorials available so that as you practice for the exam, you can click on tutorial links that allow students to get more information about particular topics.

What You Can Do To Be Better-Prepared: If results from MyMathTest or other tests indicate you are not prepared to take the desired course, we strongly recommend that you take one of the following actions:

  1. Use an online tutorial program such as ALEKS. We recommend ALEKS because it is relatively inexpensive, $30 for 6 weeks of access, and because it gives detailed feedback as far as which mathematical topics you are strong and weak. It is not meant to take the place of a math class, but to help students who are deficient in only a couple of topics or for whom it has been more than 6 months since they have seen the mathematical material and hence need to review. Tutorials are positively reviewed by students, and once students get to 80% correct in each topical math area they are considered prepared.
  2. Take or re-take the prerequisite course (see the flow chart above).
  3. Hire a tutor. It is well-known that the quickest way to learn new mathematical topics or correct mathematical misconceptions is to get immediate feedback directly. We recommend students meet with a tutor at minimum one hour per week.

International Students: UCD currently does not require international students to submit an SAT or ACT math score with their application prior to being admitted. We strongly urge students to consider taking a self-guided math test such as ALEKS prior to their program and then test at the UCD MERC lab (NC 4015). It is our hope that with some recent math experience, students will not feel as anxious when taking a UCD math placement exam. We also strongly encourage students to receive math-specific English as a Foreign Language (EFL) tutoring. What we are learning is that many students may have the math skills but lack proficiency in English to be successful in Calculus I or Algebra.

For international students, ALEKS is incorporated into their intensive English language learning curriculum at Spring International. It is hoped that these international students will be able to review the math they have taken and be prepared to take and successfully complete the highest possible level math class appropriate for the desired degree.