Mathematics Department


Many students arrive at Reed prepared to take Math 111 (Calculus), 112 (Introduction to Analysis), 113 (Discrete Structures), or 141 (Introduction to Probability and Statistics). Refer to for the role of these courses within mathematics and mathematics-interdisciplinary majors. Math 111, 113, and 141 have no prerequisites other than three years of high school mathematics, so any student may enroll in them. The department offers two tailored sections of Math 111 for students with particular backgrounds and interests; see Math 112 has 111 as a prerequisite, but students can place out of 111, as we explain below.

Students who have taken a calculus course may consider placing out of Math 111. Placement and credit are automatically offered to students who score a 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam, or a 4 or 5 on the BC exam; there are similar policies for scores of 5 or higher on the IB Mathematics (HL) and Further Mathematics (HL) courses. A student who receives a grade of B or better on the math A-levels may place out of Math 111 (for information on how to receive credit for A-levels, check Students may self-report scores in order to place out of Math 111, but credit will not be granted until the official scores are received by the College. If a student does not have an exam score but believes they have demonstrated ability with calculus, then they should discuss placement with mathematics faculty.

Students who have completed coursework beyond single-variable calculus should consult with mathematics faculty to determine which mathematics courses are appropriate for them. Math 112 is a proof-based course that establishes the analytic properties of the real number system that are the foundation of calculus. Reed’s linear algebra (Math 201) and vector calculus (Math 202) courses have 112 as a prerequisite and assume that students are familiar with reading, constructing, and writing proofs. In certain cases, students with significant preparation may be placed into Math 201 with the expectation that they will continue in 112, 202, or both based on their experience in 201.

Students who have not earned transfer credit equivalent to Math 141, but who have completed prior coursework in statistics that includes a significant R programming component and multivariate modeling may consult with the Math 241 or Math 243 instructor to determine whether it would be appropriate to waive the Math 141 prerequisite for those classes; students who are interested in statistics, but whose prior statistical experience did not include work with the R programming language or statistical modeling, should enroll in Math 141.

If you have further questions please contact Jerry Shurman, Luda Korobenko or Kyle Ormsby directly.