Calculus Placement

There are many factors that contribute to student success in calculus at Lehigh, including the rigor of the student's preparation and the student's motivation and work ethic.  In our experience, students are more likely to be successful in calculus if they have solid mastery of algebra and trigonometry, can work with functions without using a graphing calculator (calculators are not used in exams or quizzes at Lehigh calculus courses), are good at providing verbal descriptions of their mathematics problem-solving approaches, and scored at the 600-650 level or better on the SAT mathematics test. There is a considerable body of evidence that strongly suggests that students with no prior exposure to calculus are likely to encounter difficulties in MATH 021.  Students also need to motivate themselves to work hard.
The college has a 3 credit Mathematics requirement as part of its distribution requirements.  Only certain majors require calculus and there is no college-wide calculus requirement.  Students should not feel that they must take the most demanding course for which they meet the placement guidelines.  For example, if you want to major in biology and are nearly certain that will not want nor need to take advanced mathematics courses requiring MATH 022 as a prerequisite, you might want to consider taking MATH 051, with the majority of the other biology majors, even if your SAT Math score is 700.  With the above in mind, students should request a calculus course based on the following guidelines:
MATH 021 – Calculus I (mathematics, physics, certain chemistry majors for instance…)
  • SAT Math score of 650 or greater
  • ACT Math score of 28 or greater
MATH 051 – Survey of Calculus I (biologists, architects, for instance…)
  • SAT Math score of 600 or greater
  • ACT Math score of 26 or greater
  • Those with scores in the lower range (600-649) might consider the MATH 075/076 sequence, but should realize that 075/076 covers the material in greater depth than MATH 051 despite the slower pace.
MATH 075/076 – Calculus I, Part A & B (you need MATH 021 but also need to move more slowly…)
  • SAT Math score of 600-649
  • ACT Math score of 26-27
  • If you need MATH 021 but your SAT Math score is in the 600-649 range, then you are advised to request MATH 075 and the next semester MATH 076.  These are courses that break the material of MATH 021 into two 2 credit courses over two semesters.  Completing MATH 075 & 076 substitutes for completing MATH 021.
MATH 000 – Preparation for Calculus (for students not ready to start calculus at Lehigh)
  • SAT MATH score below 600
  • ACT Math score of 25 or lower
  • Students who need calculus and have an SAT Math score below 600 should enroll in MATH 000, Preparation for Calculus.  This course is for students who need more preparation before moving on to calculus. This 2 credit course does not count toward the total number of credits required for graduation or the CAS math distribution requirement, but the grade does count in the student’s GPA. Students taking MATH 000 must pass with a grade of C– or better before taking MATH 051 or 021.
Students with questions about calculus placement should contact