Frequently Asked Questions

What is the placement test ?

The placement test is a tool to help you find the math course most appropriate for your level of preparation. It is advised that all first-year students intending to take an introductory calculus-based course should take the placement test. Topics covered on the test include algebra and trigonometry. The test does not assess your calculus knowledge, but rather readiness to enter a calculus-based course. It is unnecessary to take the test if you intend to take only such courses as Mathematical Ideas I or II (MATH 1009, 1010), Mathematics and Politics (MATH 1007), or Dean's Seminar (MATH 0801). For more information click here.

Can I retake the placement test ?


When should I take the placement test ?

To get the most accurate reading from the exam at the time that you need the results, you should take it shortly before you are deciding on which course you should register for. Since you cannot take the exam more than once, if you have been away from math for a while, then you are advised to brush up on algebra and trigonometry before you take the exam.

How do I get transfer credit ?

You will need to obtain the description of the course you wish to transfer, fill out a form, and deliver both to the math department. See the transfer credit page for more details. 

How can I find a tutor ?

Private Tutoring
Many of our math graduate and undergraduate students tutor. You can find a list of current tutors on the newsstand outside of math department office.

The GW Tutoring Initiative
Through this collaboration between the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Dean of Students, students can access 10 hours of free individual tutoring each semester for courses offered through CCAS. See the tutoring intiative page for more details. 

Drop-In Tutoring
There is also free tutoring for econ, math, and chemistry, available on Mt.Vernon campus. 

SEAS Tutoring Program
The SEAS offers walk-in and hourly tutoring in math, physics, biology, and chemistry

I took Calculus in high school. Can I place out of Calc I ?

The only way to get credit for Calculus I (MATH 1231) without actually taking it is via AP credit. We have a math placement exam, but it is for placing into different kinds of Calculus I, not placing out of it. Note that Calculus I (1231) is a prerequisite for Calculus II (1232), Linear Algebra (2184), and Intro to Computing in Math (2572), and while you could ignore the prerequisite (you do so entirely at your own risk), the department strongly discourages ignoring the prerequisites. It is a rare high school course that really replaces a college course.

I think I was graded unfairly. What can I do ?

If you are unable to clarify or resolve the matter with the instructor, you have the right of faculty peer review of complaints of "capricious or prejudiced academic evaluation" under the regulations outlined in The George Washington University Guide to Students' Rights and Responsibilities. To initiate such a review, the student must submit a letter and supporting documentation to the senior associate dean for academic affairs by the last day of classes of the semester following the semester or summer session in which the grade for an examination, paper, or other work product was awarded. The student has the burden of making a prima facie case, with appropriate documentation, that the grade was capricious or prejudiced. Mere disagreement with the grade is not a sufficient basis for initiating a faculty peer review.

Which math class should I take ?

If you're interested in sciences (physical, mathematical, biological, or the quantitative social sciences) you should be on the Calculus track. You should start with the math placement test. Your score on the test will provide you with advice on which calculus course to take (or not to take). If your potential major does not require calculus you might consider taking MATH 1007-1010, or 0801.
See the Introductory Math Course for more detailed advice. 


Which math courses satisfy GCR/G-PAC requirements ?

For students admitted Fall 2011 and later
General education requirements include 3 credit hours in an approved mathematics or statistics course to achieve learning goals for quantitative reasoning. The approved courses are:
MATH 1007, 1009, 1010, 1051, 1221, 1231, 1232, 1252, 2233
STAT 1051, 1053, 1111, 1127

Note: Credit by examination (AP, IB, etc.) and transfer credit cannot be used to fulfill any part of the G-PAC.

For students admitted prior to Fall 2011
General Curriculum Requirements include 6 credit hours of Quantitative and Logical Reasoning courses selected from Mathematics, Statistics and Logic. The approved courses are:
MATH 7/1007 and above
STAT (all)
PHIL 45/2045 121/3121

A course is closed, but I'm interested in taking it. Can I be signed in to the class?

Contact the instructor teaching the course. If the instructor agrees and the classroom capacity allows, fill out the RTF-EZ form, get the instructor's signature, and deliver the form to Colonial Central. Note: The Office of the Registrar cannot add students into a class beyond the room capacity.

What can I do with a math degree ?

The analytic skills and mental agility that is developed by studying mathematics make math students highly sought out by a wide range of employers as well as by professional schools such as law and medicine. Those who earn a bachelors, masters, or Ph.D. in mathematics have an excellent foundation for a broad range of positions in government, education, industry, business, and other areas. Mathematicians are employed by companies in the computer and communications industries, banks, insurance and financial services companies, and consulting firms, just to cite a few. Many branches of government, from local to federal, employ mathematicians in a variety of capacities; among such agencies are the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Census Bureau, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Agency.

What is the difference between a B.A. and a B.S. in Math ?

Prerequisite math courses are identical for both B.A. and B.S. Additionally students must complete 21 credit hours (7 courses) for the Bachelor of Arts, and 27 credit hours (9 courses) for the Bachelor of Science.

Bachelor of Science in the Pure or Applied Mathematics tracks provides a solid foundation for graduate study in mathematics. A Bachelor of Arts, while providing a strong background in mathematics, permits a wider selection of electives and should meet the needs of students interested in careers in teaching or graduate study in fields such as medicine, dentistry, or law.

How do I declare a major/minor in mathematics ?

To declare a major or minor in mathematics you must meet with one of the departamental advisors, complete a Declaration of Major form, and deliver that form to your Dean's Office.

Who do I see for advice on math major/minor ?

Please see our current Mathematics majors and minors page. 

Can I switch tracks after I declare ?

Yes. In order to do so, you need to fill out a new Major Declaration Form to show the change of major track and the change in the curriculum.

Will the track appear on my transcript ?


I already declared one major in CCAS. I want to declare a minor or second major in another field (within CCAS). What do I do ?

You will have to fill out a new Major of Declaration Form to add a new major (or minor), and meet with an advisor in the other department to discuss their requirements.

I want to add a major or minor in another school within GW. What do I do ?

Students in the Columbian College, the School of Engineering, and the Elliott School may pursue a second major among these three schools. If you wish to pursue this option you must declare the second major on the Major Declaration form (from your school) and consult an advisor in the appropriate department or School to discuss their major requirements. It is understood that requirements of the secondary major do not include the general education requirements of the second school.

A Secondary Field of Study is a minor completed in another division or school at the University. If you are interested in a minor you should declare it through the Major Declaration form (from your school) and consult a faculty advisor in the department concerned. Secondary fields are available in Columbian College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Business, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the School of Public Health and Health Services, and the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Columbian College students are limited in the number of hours they may take in courses outside the College ("professional credit" courses). No more than 18 credit hours of courses in schools of the University other than Columbian College may count toward the 120 credits required for graduation with a bachelor's degree in Columbian College. Pursuing a secondary field may increase the 18-hour limit, with prior permission of the dean of Columbian College.

How do I take courses at consortium schools ?

You may take any course at a Consortium School, provided that the same course is not offered by GW, and to the extent that the total number of credit hours does not exceed six (6) per semester or twenty-one (21) per degree program. Consult the Registrar's webpage for detailed registration procedures.