Prerequisite Knowledge for Selected 100-level Courses
Here is a very brief description of what students should know before entering some
of the 100-level courses at MSU.
Students entering MTH 101 (Quantitative Literacy I) AND MTH 102 (Quantitative Literacy II) should have a foundation in Intermediate Algebra. The goal of these courses is to show how mathematical concepts apply to contextual situations in various areas of society. Upon completion of either of these courses, students would have the option of completing STT 200 if necessary for their major degree. However, completion of these two courses assumes no further mathematics courses will be taken. Completion of both of these courses satisfies the university graduation requirement.
Students entering MTH 103 (College Algebra) should be able to:
- Plot points in the Cartesian plane.
- Solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable.
- Write equivalent algebraic expressions involving polynomials, radical, exponents,
and fractions.
- Interpret points on the graph of a relation in the plane as solutions to an equation
in (possibly) 2 variables.
- Translate English phrases and sentences into mathematical expressions and equations/inequalities,
especially those describing how one quantity depends on another.
- Sketching the graph of a linear equation in two variables is covered in this course.
MTH 116 (College Algebra and Trigonometry) is a 5 credit course and covers material
similar to that in Mathematics 103 and 114, but moves at a much quicker pace, and
it is expected that students enrolling in Mathematics 116 will have a considerably
stronger mathematics background than those enrolling in Mathematics 103 . Mathematics
116 is one of the courses that satisfy the university mathematics graduation requirements.
Students cannot receive credit in both MTH 103 and MTH 116.
Math 114 (Trigonometry) is a bridge course, designed to prepare a student
who has completed MTH 103 for entry into Calculus (MTH 132), by providing
the necessary knowledge of trigonometry. A student entering this course should have
the same background as is needed for success in MTH 124. MTH 114, coupled with MTH
103 or a math placement test score of 15 or higher, will satisfy the University mathematics requirement for graduation.
MTH 124 (Survey of Calculus I) is a course intended for those who need to
be familiar with the concepts of calculus, but are not likely to use calculus in
great depth. Students entering MTH 124 should have a good understanding of algebra,
especially the concept of function, including graphs of functions, compositions,
and inverses. In this context, students should be familiar with several fundamental
examples of functions, such as polynomials, rational functions, exponential functions,
and logarithmic functions. In addition, students should have the related manipulative
skills. MTH 124 is one of the courses that satisfies the university mathematics
graduation requirements.
MTH 132 (Calculus I) is a first "technical" course in Calculus. It is intended
for those who will make serious use of calculus in their major area. A student entering
MTH 132 should have a HIGHLY DEVELOPED understanding of algebra, a SOLID knowledge
of trigonometry, and the related manipulative skills. Although MTH 132 is one of
the courses that satisfies the university mathematics graduation requirements, it
is expected that students taking MTH 132 will continue with MTH 133, and possibly
additional mathematics.
It should be noted that many of the freshman level mathematics courses at Michigan
State University require the use of a graphing calculator. Currently, the model
recommended is the TI 84+. Other models may be acceptable if they have the following
features:
- a. ability to graph several functions simultaneously,
- b. trigonometric functions,
- c. matrix computations, and
- d. statistics capabilities.
Of course, the exact capabilities needed will vary from course to course. Graphing
calculators which may have been used in connection with high school courses are
often appropriate for many of MSU's courses, but individual students should check
with the course instructor to be sure.