Calculus Placement

There is a big difference between calculus study at Lehigh and calculus at most high schools, A solid high school pre-calculus course is necessary background for calculus at Lehigh. Students need a strong foundation in functions and trigonometry to really thrive in calculus. Most students who take calculus in high school are accustomed to using a graphing calculator. Calculators are not permitted in exams or quizzes in Lehigh calculus courses With different calculus sequences the Math Department is able to tailor its offerings to students with different needs for studying calculus. 
Please remember, only certain majors require calculus and there is no college-wide calculus requirement.  Students need to earn 3 credits of mathematics (MA) to satisfy the college requirement, but should not feel that they must take the most demanding course for which they meet the placement guidelines.  With the above in mind, students should register for a calculus course based on the following guidelines:
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. 

Intensive review of fundamental concepts in mathematics utilized in calculus, including functions and graphs, exponentials and logarithms, and trigonometry. This course is for students who need to take MATH 051 or 021, but who require remediation in precalculus. The credits for this course do not count toward graduation, but do count toward GPA and current credit count.

MATH 051 – Survey of Calculus I (biological sciences, pre-health track, architecture, some economics majors)
  • 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 only if MATH 020 sequence is required, and students should keep in mind that 075/076 covers the material in greater depth than MATH 051 despite the slower pace.

Limits. The derivative and applications to extrema, approximation, and related rates. Exponential and logarithm functions, growth and decay. Integration. Trigonometric functions and related derivatives and integrals.

MATH 081: Calculus I with Business Applications 
  • SAT MATH score of 625 or greater
  • ACT Math score of 27 or great
  • Open only to students in the College of Business and Economics*
  • Students who may transfer to the College of Business and Economics are required to have MATH 081 or MATH 021. MATH 051 is not accepted for CBE. 

Limits and continuity; exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions; derivatives; extrema; approximations; indefinite and definite integrals. Applications with emphasis on business and economics.

*CAS students require special permission from the Math Department to enroll in MATH 081. May be used toward CAS majors in Economics or the joint International Relations and Economics. 
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 register for 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.

Covers the same material as the first half of MATH 021. Meets three hours per week, allowing more class time for each topic than does MATH 021.

MATH 021 – Calculus I (mathematics, physics, computer science, most chemistry majors, some economics majors)
  • SAT Math score of 650 or greater
  • ACT Math score of 28 or greater

Functions and graphs; limits and continuity; derivative, differential, and applications; indefinite and definite integrals; trigonometric, logarithmic, exponential, and hyperbolic functions.

You will receive an email with your recommended math course, based on your response to an onboarding survey as well as high school math record and SAT and/or ACT scores.

Note: Recommended math course does not take into account AP scores.

The Mathematics Department will introduce a new Calculus placement tool, ALEKS from McGraw-Hill, in the Summer of 2019. Every student who intends to take a Calculus class at Lehigh in the Fall of 2019 (except those who receive AP credit, see below) will have to use the ALEKS system for placement, starting approximately in July. ALEKS will administer an assessment that will provide a second recommendation for your Calculus course based on your results. ALEKS will also indicate the topics and areas where you can improve and will provide modules to help you get ready for the Fall semester. After working through these modules, you have the opportunity to test again and improve your placement recommendation. More details about ALEKS will follow soon.

Please note:

  • If your recommended placement is MATH 021 you may choose MATH 051 or 081 instead.
  • MATH 021 serves as a replacement for MATH 081 or MATH 051 but not vice-versa.
  • MATH 081 or MATH 021 satisfy CBE requirements but MATH 051 does not.
  • College of Arts & Sciences students require special permission to enroll in MATH 081.
  • Please note: Students seeking placement into calculus II or higher must provide credentials to the Registrar’s Office (this includes approved TR, IB, or AP credit) prior to registration. No change in registration will be allowed until the proper credentials arrive, and the deadline is the 10th day of class (Friday, September 6, 2019). No exceptions will be made.
  • The Mathematics Department offers an anticipatory exam for students who feel that they have mastered the material of Math 21, Math 22, or Math 23, but do not have the credentials for approved credit. Please be aware that the success rate on this exam is typically very low. You may contact Mary Ann Dent at for information on the contents of this exam.

AP Credit Information:

A score of 4 or 5 in the AB advanced placement exam OR a 4 or 5 on the AB subscore of the BC exam = *MATH 021 (4 credits)
A score of 4 or 5 on the BC advanced placement exam = *MATH 021 & 022 (8 credits)
*Receiving credit for MATH 021 exempts a student from having to take MATH 051 or 081
*Receiving credit for MATH 022 exempts a student from having to take Math 052


IBE Credit Information: Students are awarded MATH 021 credit for a score of 5 or higher on the high-level IB Mathematics Exam.

Students with questions about calculus placement should contact