Tag: math

What can I do to prepare myself for graduate school in engineering?

There are things you can do now to prepare for graduate school.

Participate in undergraduate research

This is important. A PhD or thesis masters is a research degree, and doing research as an undergraduate can open many doors. This is true even if you eventually decide to do a coursework masters. We recommend looking for opportunities at Michigan Tech, and off-campus at another university, business, or research lab.

Take additional math classes

Graduate engineering classes are very math intensive and so additional math courses work can help prepare you. Statistics is useful in almost all areas. Dr. Morrison also has some recommendations.

Practice your writing and presenting skills

You need these skills to be successful in graduate school and your career. If you participate in undergraduate research there are opportunities to present a poster of your research during department events, campus events, and professional conferences.

Keep your books

Your books and notes will be useful for reviewing core engineering topics when you’re taking the more advanced graduate courses.

Attend research seminars and graduate defenses

These events happen on campus throughout the year and are open to the public. Look for posters and emails announcing them. Seek out presentations in areas that interest you, even if they are in other departments. Research is interdisciplinary and the things you learn and people you meet could help you in the future.

What are the requirements for a minor in mathematics?

The minor in mathematics is easy to fit in because you just need to take two more math classes. These classes can double count towards your technical electives.

Go to the Registrar’s Office minor page for the most current list of requirements.

Choose one course in Calculus I

You are already required to take calc I.

Choose one course in Calculus II, Linear Algebra, or Statistics

You are already required to take calc II (and linear algebra, but calc II works better for completing the minor.)

Choose at least one of the following

You are already required to take multivariable calculus, which is on this list. This works best for completing the minor because then you only need 6 more credits.

Choose at least one course that emphasizes mathematical logic and reasoning

You’ll need to pick one of these classes. Brush off your mathematical proof skills!

  • MA 3202 Introduction to Coding Theory
  • MA 3210 Introduction to Combinatorics
  • MA 3310 Introduction to Abstract Algebra
  • MA 3450 Introduction to Real Analysis
  • MA 3924 College Geometry with Technology
  • MA 4908 Theory of Numbers with Technology
  • MA 4330 Linear Algebra
  • MA 4760 Mathematical Statistics I

Elective Course

For this last requirement you need to choose either another course from the mathematical logic and reasoning list or any 3 credit, 4000-level MA course (except not MA 4945 which is History of Math).

Dr. Morrison’s Recommendations

Among the mathematical logic and reasoning choices Dr. Morrison recommends:

  • MA 3210 Introduction to Combinatorics
  • MA 4760 Mathematical Statistics I, if you have the prereq which is MA 3720 Probability.

For the elective requirement, Dr. Morrison likes:

  • MA 4525 Applied Vector and Tensor Mathematics
  • MA 4515 Introduction to Partial Differential Equations

Two more possibilities recommended by Prof. Todd King are on the numerical side: 

  • MA 4610 Numerical Linear Algebra
  • MA 4620 Numerical Methods for PDEs

In general, vector and tensor mathematics and PDEs have applications in transport phenomena; statistics is always a practical engineering subject; and combinatorics is a class that is accessible for chemical engineers.

If I get a CD or D in my math class, do I have to retake it?

No, you don’t have to retake it. However we recommend that you do because these topics are important for your junior and senior engineering classes.

You will be using math, chemistry, and physics in your ChE classes to solve various engineering problems.  In particular, using math to solve engineering problems intensifies in the junior year. Students usually struggle with this, even if they have previously done well in their math classes because the problems look different, the terminology is sometimes different, and you’re being asked to recall concepts that you learned a year ago (or longer!).  

To prepare for junior year ChE classes, review topics from calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. Review your notes from math classes, retake classes you did poorly in, and/or utilize online resources, like Khan Academy.

See also: What happens if I retake a class? and How can I succeed in ChE at Michigan Tech?

I’ve been enrolled in or taken a higher-level math class but I don’t have credit for the lower-level math class on my transcript. Does this matter?

Yes, this matters because you need to have credit for all of your required math classes in order to meet graduation requirements. This situation can also negatively impact future class scheduling if you are missing a math prerequisite for a class in which you trying to enroll.

The most common situation where this occurs is when a student receives a marginal score on their AP calculus test. Currently, if you receive a 3 on the calculus AB test, you are allowed to enroll in calculus II (MA 2160) but you will not receive credit for calculus I unless you receive a C or better in calculus II. There are similar rules for the AP calculus BC test. Go to the Admissions AP, IB, and CLEP Scores page for the latest information on these requirements. They are listed on the required scores page for AP credit.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are missing credit for a required math class then contact your academic advisor ASAP for assistance in resolving this issue.

Which math class should I take next?

Staying on track with your math classes is very important because you will need to be done with all of your required math classes before you can start the junior-level chemical engineering courses.

If you came in with credit for some of your required math classes then this is very helpful because it allows you to move forward with your math more quickly and will give you some flexibility in your class schedule down the road.

  • If you have completed calculus I (MA 1160 or MA 1161) then take calculus II (MA 2160) or linear algebra (MA 2320 or MA 2330).
  • If you have completed calculus I and II (MA 1160/1161 and MA 2160) then take multivariable calculus (MA 3160) or linear algebra (MA 2320 or MA 2330) or linear algebra/differential equations (MA 2321 and MA 3521)
  • If you have completed calculus I and II and multivariable calculus (MA 1160/1161, MA 2160, MA 3160) then take linear algebra (MA 2320 or MA 2330) or linear algebra/differential equations (MA 2321 and MA 3521).
  • If you have completed calculus I and II, multivariable calculus, and linear algebra (MA 1160/1161, MA 2160, MA 3160, MA 2320/2330) then take differential equations (MA 3520 or MA 3530 or MA 3560).

There are several options with the linear algebra and differential equations courses. Go to FAQ: Which linear algebra and differential equations classes should I take?

I’ve been placed into precalculus (MA 1032 or MA 1120) but would like to start in calculus. Can I challenge my math placement?

Yes. If you have been placed in a math class below calculus then you can take a math placement test to try to move to a more advanced course. The math placement test can place you as high as calculus I. The test is called ALEKS and information on taking it is on the Math’s Department webpage.

If you plan to take the placement test then you should do so as soon as possible because your math course determines the rest of your first semester schedule.

I’m starting out in precalculus (MA 1032 or MA 1120). Can I still graduate in four years?

If you are willing to take summer classes, then yes. You’ll need to take classes after your first year and maybe after your second year too. You can take summer classes at Michigan Tech or at a community college and then transfer in the classes.

If summer classes are not feasible or you can only take a limited number then you can instead adjust your classes so that you can co-op during the five years. Having engineering work experience through a co-op prior to graduation will help you with landing summer internships and your first full-time job because most employers look for this type of experience when hiring.

If you’d like help getting your options sorted out then set up a meeting with your academic advisor.

I’m enrolled in MA 1120 Single-Variable Calculus with Integrated Precalculus I and I don’t see this on the flowchart or sample schedules. What is this class?

MA 1120 Single-Variable Calculus with Integrated Precalculus I is a part of a new math course sequence for students starting out in precalculus. MA 1120 is equivalent to MA 1032 Precalculus. In the five-year schedule for students starting in precalculus, this course is being taken in place of MA 1032.

If you are enrolled in MA 1120, then the next math class you will take will be MA 1121 Single-Variable Calculus with Integrated Precalculus II. MA 1121 is equivalent to MA 1160/MA 1161 Calculus with Technology I. In the five-year suggested schedule, this course will be taken in place of MA 1161 in the spring.

After you are done with these classes then you’ll take the remaining required math classes: MA 2160 Calculus with Technology II, MA 3160 Multivariable Calculus with Technology, MA 2320/2321 Elementary Linear Algebra, and MA 3520/3521 Elementary Differential Equations.

Which math lab section do I enroll in?

The calculus math classes, MA 1160 and MA 1161 (calc I), MA 2160 (calc II), and MA 3160 (multivariable calc), require that you enroll in corresponding recitation and lab sections.  For example, if you are enrolling in R01 then you also will need to enroll in L01.  R02 enrolls in L02, R03 enrolls in L03, etc.  If you do not enroll in the corresponding recitation/lab sections then you will get a registration link error.