Math for Transfer Students

Prior College Math Courses 

Transfer students who took a math course at their previous college or university should speak with their academic advisor about the proper placement in a math course at Penn. Placement may depend, in part, on the approval for transfer credit received from the Math department via XCAT.

Starting Math at Penn

Students who did not take a math course at their previous college or university and plan to do so at Penn should see the following guidelines for determining placement.

  • Students whose high school math curriculum did not provide them with the necessary foundation in algebra and trigonometry should consult with their College advisor before continuing with a calculus course.

  • The Math department provides an online Math Diagnostic Placement Exam for any student who wishes to determine the proper level of calculus course to take. Transfer students wishing to take this placement exam should let their College advisor know as soon as possible, so that they may be given access to the exam.

  • Students who have had little or no calculus in high school, or who took AB Calculus but scored poorly on the exam, should take MATH 103 to prepare themselves for MATH 104. Students who took AB Calculus in high school and did well on the exam should register for the Calculus I course, MATH 104.

  • Students with A.P. credit for MATH 104 may choose may choose to continue in the calculus sequence with either MATH 114 and MATH 115. Some majors (such as Biochemistry, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics) specifically require MATH 104 and 114; otherwise students who need a second semester of calculus may take either 114 or 115. Not all students will need to take a second semester of calculus; when in doubt, consult a pre-major or department advisor. 

  • Students who are interested in math or science might also want to consider a more challenging honors version of Calculus, MATH 116 and MATH 260 (the analogues of MATH 114 and MATH 240). These courses will cover the material more in depth and involve discussion of theory as well as computations.

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