Calculus Courses and Classes Overview

Calculus courses are usually offered as part of undergraduate programs. They can be taken as electives, but some majors, like math, engineering, computer science and other science-related areas require at least one course in calculus. Some medical schools require applicants to have taken it as well.

Essential Information

Calculus courses are offered at most universities. While advanced calculus courses differ widely from program to program, the introductory courses follow a more standard format. Math and science students are often required to complete these early courses before moving on to more advanced subjects, such as engineering.

Here are a few concepts that students commonly encounter in calculus courses:

  • Differentiation
  • Inverse functions
  • Limits
  • Chain rule
  • Integration of functions
  • Tangent lines

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List of Common Courses

Pre-Calculus Course

A prerequisite for most calculus programs, pre-calculus incorporates elements of college algebra, trigonometry and analytical geometry into a comprehensive introduction to higher mathematics. This course provides the foundation knowledge required for success in introductory calculus. Concepts covered include non-linear regression, probability distribution, curve-sketching and functions - linear, quadratic, exponential and logarithmic. Pre-calculus, like other courses in the calculus program, is a 1-semester course.

Calculus I Course

This introductory calculus course focuses on the concepts of plane analytic geometry and integral and differential calculus. It includes subjects such as derivatives, differential equations and physical science applications of calculus. The course also usually includes a review of algebraic concepts such as polynomials and elementary functions, as well as an introduction to integration.

Calculus II Course

This second introductory calculus course picks up where calculus I left off, expanding on the basic techniques, applications and overall principles of integration. It also goes further into the concepts of elementary functions, analytical geometry and derivatives. Transcendental functions, polar coordinates, infinite series, vectors and other principles are introduced in calculus II.

History of Calculus Course

While this subject is often incorporated into calculus I and II, some schools devote a course to the history of higher mathematics. Depending on the specific curriculum, such a study might begin with the ancient mathematics of Egypt and Babylon before moving into the innovations of the ancient Greeks. From there, the history of calculus progresses through the Middle Ages and the work of such notables as Newton and Leibniz, through the 18th and 19th centuries and into the modern era. These courses also usually emphasize the practical and philosophical implications of mathematical developments across the course of history.

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