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Symbolic Reasoning Field of Study Requirement

Students who are interested in studying math at the undergraduate level, as well as students who simply want to fulfill their FSSR general studies requirement or a math prerequisite for another major, often ask what the most appropriate math course will be, given their strengths and past experiences. Students should look up the prerequisites for majors they might be interested in pursuing. If calculus is a prerequisite, you will probably begin with Math 211. Students who studied calculus in high school have the option to begin in Math 212 or Math 232.Generally, students should consider:

Math 211 if you have never had high school calculus or if your performance in high school calculus was fairly weak. In the class, you’ll review polynomial, exponential, and trigonometric functions and then jump into basic calculus concepts.

Math 212 or Math 232 if you completed a full year of AP calculus, do not need a review of Calculus I concepts and anticipate earning a Bachelor of Science degree.

Students may also fulfill the FSSR general studies requirement with the successful completion of MATH 102, or PHIL 251.

Students who are interested in studying computer science have similar questions about placement. An introductory computer science class can also satisfy the FSSR general studies requirement and in many cases, at least one computer science class will be a prerequisite for other majors. Students should consider:

CMSC 101 if you have little or no programming experience and don't think you will be interested in majoring in computer science, or just aren't sure. This course focuses on questions revolving around the differences between human thought and computation, and is required for Cognitive Science majors.

CMSC 105 if you have little or no programming experience and don't think you will be interested in majoring in computer science, or just aren't sure. The focus of this course is learning programming concepts using a three-dimensional visual programming environment called Alice.

CMSC 150 if you have little or no recent experience in programming. Regardless of whether you think you might be interested in majoring in computer science or are just fulfilling a prerequisite for another department, this is a good place to start.

CMSC 155 if you have little or no recent experience in programming but are interested in the sciences. Programming principles will be applied to fields like mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, medicine, psychology, economics, political science and engineering. You cannot receive credit for both CMSC 150 and CMSC 155.

CMSC 221 if you have prior programming experience or earned a 4 or 5 on the AP exam. Even without formal test scores, students who have experience writing their own subprograms (functions, procedures or methods), using arrays and searching and sorting algorithms will feel comfortable in CMSC 221.

Students who are concerned about appropriate placement should contact Dr. Lester Caudill with mathematics questions and Dr. Barry Lawson with computer science questions.