Students love or hate math classes, depending on their interests and skills. Many people may want to avoid college math classes, and others would prefer to take them over other classes. So do you have to take a mathematics class in college?
Nearly all students have to take a math class in college, but the specific class will depend on their major. Math, science, and engineering majors will have to take multiple high-level math courses, and other majors may only take one math class if any. There can be ways to skip your math classes.
This article will explain when math classes are required, which ones tend to be required for certain majors, and when you may not have to take a college math class. There are also resources to help you succeed in a math class.
When a Math Class is Required
Nearly all colleges require students to take at least one math course as a general education requirement. Some students will be able to choose their math class or only be required to take a general math course. The classes offered and required will vary depending on your major.
Humanities and social science majors may have a special math class specifically offered for them. It will cover all the basics without getting too advanced for majors that do not need math as much as others. Psychology majors are typically placed in a college algebra course that will supplement some knowledge for their hands-on studies performed in their major classes.
Even though humanities, social sciences, and psychology majors have certain classes they are placed in, they can also take higher-level math courses if they want to. The most important part of a math class requirement is having a foundation in math that will supplement, or exceed, the amount of math you will use in your other classes.
Business majors have to take a few specific classes that are important for their other classes, like accounting and finance. The two typical business major math classes are statistics and finite math.
If you are a math or math-based majors like engineering or science, you will likely have to take more than one math course. And, they will be specific, higher-level courses like calculus, differential equations, and more (source).
No matter which math classes you need to take, your college will make sure to place you into the right class for your first year. But, sometimes AP credits from high school can get you out of a math class. The next section will explain this situation and the others where you might not have to take a math class.
When You May Not Have To Take a Math Class
You are not always required to take a math class in college. Some colleges do not require them for certain majors, and some colleges will accept outside credits in place of a math class.
One of the most common ways to get out of taking a math class is by having college credits from high school. An increasing number of high school students are taking AP classes. You can take an exam at the end of the school year, and if you receive a certain score, your college may accept the AP credit in place of taking a college course.
There are three AP math courses offered: two calculus classes and a statistics course. Your high school can help you determine which AP math courses you should take and determine what scores you need for them to count toward your college credit (source).
You can also take a math class at your local community college before enrolling in college full time. Just be sure that the class will count for credit at your university, and the class is a high enough level to complete your math requirement.
Finally, some colleges do not require math classes for certain majors; these tend to be humanities majors such as English, foreign languages, history, music, and the social sciences. Other majors include anthropology, criminal justice, communications, political science, and other liberal arts (source).
While these majors tend to not require math, this is not a complete list, and it does not apply to all colleges. You will have to check with your college to see their math requirements and how they vary by major.
College Math Class Resources
College math classes can be difficult if you are not good at math, and you want to make sure you pass any math class you have to take so you do not have to retake it. The resources in this section are great resources for anyone in a math class.
- Intro to College Math: Basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, probability, and stats (link to Amazon): This book introduces students to the four most common topics covered in a college math class. There are lecture notes, examples, and practice problems with full solutions.
- Basic College Mathematics (link to Amazon): This book covers basic college math topics with easy-to-understand writing, many practice problems, and study skills that will help you succeed while learning college math.
- This YouTube video from The Organic Chemistry Tutor introduces the most important topics you learn in a college algebra class, including examples and practice problems:
- This introductory calculus course by Oxford Mathematics will give you a look into what a college calculus class is like and what you will learn in the first few weeks of the course.
A majority of college students will have to take at least one math class, which will depend on their major. Science, engineering, and math majors will take harder math classes, like calculus, whereas other majors will take algebra or statistics.
But, some colleges will waive a math class for some humanities and social science majors and for students who have AP or other college math credit before enrolling. Be sure to check with your college about the math requirements and how they vary by major.