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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Undergraduate Programs in Mathematics


Students of unusual ability in mathematics often take one or more semesters of college-equivalent courses in mathematics while they are still in high school. Under certain circumstances, it is possible for such students to secure both advanced placement and credit toward the bachelor's degree. A decision as to placement and credit is made by the department after consideration of the student's performance on the Advanced Placement Examination in Mathematics (forms AB or BC) of the College Entrance Examination Board, and also after consideration of transfer credit in mathematics from other colleges and universities.

The department does not give its own advanced placement examination. Students can receive either 5 or 10 units of advanced placement credit, depending on their scores on the CEEB Advanced Placement Examination. Entering students who have credit for two quarters of single variable calculus (10 units) are encouraged to enroll in MATH 51-53 in multivariable mathematics, or the honors version 51H-53H. These three-course sequences, which can be completed during the freshman year, supply the necessary mathematics background for most majors in science and engineering. They also serve as excellent background for the major or minor in Mathematics, or in Mathematical and Computational Science. Students who have credit for one quarter of single variable calculus (5 units) should take MATH 42 in Autumn Quarter and 51 in Winter Quarter. Options available in Spring Quarter include MATH 52, or 53. For proper placement, contact the Department of Mathematics.


The Department of Mathematics participates with the departments of Computer Science, Management Science and Engineering, and Statistics in a program leading to a B.S. in Mathematical and Computational Science. See the "Mathematical and Computational Science" section of this bulletin.


The department offers two sequences of introductory courses in single variable calculus.

  1. MATH 41, 42 present single variable calculus. Differential calculus is covered in the first quarter, integral calculus in the second.
  2. MATH 19, 20, 21 cover the material in 41, 42 in three quarters instead of two.

There are options for studying multivariable mathematics:

  1. MATH 51, 52, 53 cover differential and integral calculus in several variables, linear algebra, and ordinary differential equations. These topics are taught in an integrated fashion and emphasize application. MATH 51 covers differential calculus in several variables and introduces matrix theory and linear algebra; 52 covers integral calculus in several variables and vector analysis; 53 studies further topics in linear algebra and applies them to the study of ordinary differential equations. This sequence is strongly recommended for incoming freshmen with 10 units of advanced placement credit.
  2. MATH 51H, 52H, 53H cover the same material as 51, 52, 53, but with more emphasis on theory and rigor.

The department offers four classes on linear algebra: 51 (or 51H), 104, 113, and 114.

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