Policy on Competency Exams for MATH 211, 271/272, 350 and 355

Mathematics majors who wish to place out of MATH 211, 271/272, 350 or 355 must provide a transcript from a college or university for an equivalent course approved by the Department; courses offered by a high school will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Alternately, if the Department determines the outside course to be mostly but not completely sufficient, then the student may opt to take a competency exam, administered by the Department, on the material of the course. This competency exam is intended only for students who have actually taken a roughly similar course. Students are strongly discouraged from self-studying courses to avoid or skip them. 

In the latter case, it is important that the competency exam is taken in a timely fashion. In particular:

  1. If a math major wishes to place out of one of these four courses via a competency exam and wants to take a subsequent course requiring that course, then the appropriate competency exam must be taken before the subsequent course begins.
  2. It could happen that a student declares the math major as a junior or senior and has taken a course such as MATH 350 without having taken MATH 271 or 272.  For example, the student could be a Physics major who was given consent to take MATH 350 on the basis of having taken Physics 227.  In this situation, the student must take the competency exam for the skipped course by the end of the semester in which they declared the math major.

A student has only one chance to pass the competency exam, so careful preparation is strongly recommended.  Advisors are responsible for reminding their advisees of this policy (approved May 6, 2015).

Note: The College does not offer course credit for competency exams or for courses taken while in high school. Students who place out of Math 211 or Math 271/272 must replace the course with an additional mathematics course numbered between 225 and 490. (For Math 211, that rule applies to students in the class of 2027 or higher.) Students who place out of Math 350 or 355 must replace that course with an additional mathematics course numbered between 300 and 490.