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Haverford College
Department of Mathematics
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Frequently Asked Questions

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I took an Advanced Placement/IB exam; how does it affect my math placement/credit?

PLACEMENT in math courses is separate from the granting of college CREDIT. For the purposes of PLACEMENT, Haverford has its own math placement test, available on the Web. Your results on this placement test, together with your scores on AP exams, previous math courses taken, and your answers to questions such as "do you intend to be a math major?" are all used to give you a recommendation of the appropriate starting course at Haverford. This recommendation is a starting point for a conversation that you can have with members of the math department to find the course that best fits your needs.

As far as Haverford course CREDIT, the Registrar of the College will award you a half-course credit for a score of 4 on any AP test, and one full-course credit for a score of 5.

Is there a math requirement at Haverford?

No. There is a QUANTITATIVE requirement, which states that every student must take at least one course with a serious quantitative component, but this needn't be a math course. There is also a NATURAL SCIENCE distribution requirement, which states that every student must take at least three courses in the Natural Science Division. Again, these courses needn't be math courses.

Where is the Math Department at Haverford?

The department's headquarters are on the 2nd floor of Hilles Hall.

What kind of calculator do I need?

There are no math courses that require any particular calculator. Many courses in the math department are taught without much use of calculators or computers. All students are encouraged to learn to use the computer program Mathematica, which is available for use all over campus and may be downloaded to students' computers in their dormitory rooms. Read more about Mathematica.

What is the Math Question Center?

The Math Question Center (MQC) is an area in the basement of Hilles Hall that is staffed 5 nights each week (Sunday-Thursday) by a combination of faculty and student helpers. It is open to all students taking math courses, and is a great place to meet a study group. It's a place to get help if you need it on homework or other class matters, to get assistance with Mathematica, or simply to meet and work with classmates on homework. See the MQC in action.

Are tutors available?

Yes. The Deans' office pays for student tutors for students who are having difficulty and would like extra help. There is a limited supply of qualified tutors. BEFORE requesting a tutor, be sure that you've scheduled meetings for help with your professor and also visited the Math Question Center. If you'd like to find out about getting a tutor, you'll need to contact Jeff Tecosky-Feldman.

How is studying math at Haverford different than studying math in High School?

Many students find that math at college is significantly different than in high school. In particular, there is a lot less emphasis on memorizing facts or imitating worked out examples in the textbook. Haverford Math professors expect students to learn and understand CONCEPTS and apply them to new and different problems on homework and exams. Most students find that they need to pace themselves to work on the weekly homework assignment all week long, and not just the night before it is due. Similarly, "cramming" for exams doesn't work very well for most students. Expect to spend 6-10 hours per week outside of class on your math course.

What do math majors do after they graduate?

Just about everything! Some go to graduate school in mathematics, computer science, operations research, economics, etc. Some go on to Law or Medical Schools. Some go into business, consulting, actuarial science. Teaching is a popular interest of many of our majors.

What is Mathematica?

Mathematica is a computer program that can do all of the algebraic calculations learned in high school and college-level mathematics, and can additionally sketch curves of complicated functions. Mathematica is installed on all of the computers in the public clusters on campus. For more information on this powerful program, visit our Mathematica page.

Can I get my own copy of Mathematica?

Yes. The College has a site license for Mathematica which allows students to download a copy of Mathematica to use on their own computers. For more information on downloading Mathematica, visit our Mathematica page.

How do I get a job as a homework grader or tutor?

The math department employs students, majors and nonmajors in all classes, to grade homework, tutor other students and staff the Math Question Center. If you are interested in grading or tutoring positions, please contact Jeff Tecosky-Feldman; if you are interested in working in the Math Question Center, please contact David Lippel.

Can I major in math if I start by taking Calculus I?

Yes. Students have successfully majored in math who began their studies in Calculus I at Haverford.

Are there study abroad programs available for math majors?

Yes. Math majors have studied at Oxford and the London School of Economics, the University of Melbourne in Australia and at Budapest Semesters in Math (in English), to name a few. Read more about study abroad.

Last modified: Tue Aug 16 19:03:12 EDT 2011 by David Lippel.