# Math for the Biology Major or Pre-Med Student

A biologist or medical professional must be able to think mathematically (analyze graphs, interpret quantitative information, use clear logical patterns). An early decision to get a strong mathematical background, particularly in the core areas of calculus, probability and statistics, linear algebra (vectors, matrices, systems of equations), and computer programming, will multiply a student’s career options.

### The Formal Requirement for the Biology Major

Biology majors are required to take one semester of calculus plus a second math or statistics course. Sample programs include:

- two semesters of calculus, such as MATH 1110-1120 or MATH 1110-1220;
- one semester of calculus plus a course in finite mathematics, such as MATH 1105-1106
*;* - one semester of calculus plus an introductory statistics course, such as MATH 1710.

Advanced placement credit for calculus can be applied to this requirement.

### Medical School Entrance Requirements

College work in mathematics is required by some medical schools and recommended by almost all. A very few medical schools require one year of calculus. Also, a very few require one semester of statistics. See the book *Medical School Admissions Requirements* or individual medical schools’ web pages to verify premedical requirements.

### Calculus and Further Study

Students who may take more than one year of mathematics should definitely start with two semesters of calculus. (See First-Year Calculus.) The following options provide a good introduction to the core mathematical areas most useful in the biological sciences. Courses under Option 2 are a bit more challenging than those under Option 1.

Core Mathematical Areas Most Useful in the Biological Sciences |
||

Subject | Option 1 | Option 2 |
---|---|---|

Calculus | MATH 1110-1120 | MATH 1110-1220 |

Multivariable calculus | MATH 2130 | MATH 2220 |

Linear algebra | MATH 2310 | MATH 2210 |

Probability and statistics | MATH 1710 | MATH 4710-4720 |

Computer programming | CS 1110, 1112, 1114, 1115, or 2110 |

Of course, much more is possible and in some cases necessary. Further study in mathematics could lead to a math minor, which is available to students in all colleges. MATH 4710-4720 combined with two other upper-level math courses, one in algebra and one in analysis, would result in a math minor, for example.