Incoming Students

A Guide to Filling Out the Freshman Questionnaire

Step 1. What major (or majors) are you considering?

  • Keep in mind that many freshmen either haven't chosen a major or change their minds later.
  • If you are not certain about which major you want, Math 115 (College Algebra) is more flexible than Math 112 (Investigations in Modern Mathematics).
  • For students who are certain that they will not go into one of the majors where Math 115 or higher is required, Math 112 can be an attractive alternative to Math 115 as it covers interesting topics you may not have learned before such as mathematics of voting, encryption and games of chance.
  • Also, Math 150 (Calculus 1) is more flexible than Math 130 (Survey of Calculus) but requires some knowledge of trigonometry.

Step 2. According to your choice of major(s), you will eventually need to take:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience: Math 150
  • Biology: Math 150 or 130
  • Business (including Economics): Math 130 or 150
  • Chemistry: Math 151
  • Computer Science: *Math 151
  • Engineering: *Math 250
  • Environmental Studies: *Math 115 (Math 130 or 150 is also recommended)
  • Liberal Studies (for future K-8 teachers): *Math 115
  • Marine Sciences: Math 150 (Math 151 is also recommended)
  • Mathematics: *Math 250
  • Physics: Math 250
  • Psychology: Math 115 (Math 130 is also strongly recommended)
  • Other majors: The Core requirement may be fulfilled by any 3 or 4-unit mathematics course numbered 100 or above.

Majors with * require additional math courses to be taken later.

Step 3. Using the diagram, decide what course you would like to start with, and then see if you qualify for the course.

math courses diagram

  • To qualify for Math 112 or 115, you must have a minimum Math SAT score of 530, or a minimum Math ACT score of 22 , or qualify using USD's Level 1 Math Placement Exam.
  • To qualify for Math 130, you must have a minimum Math SAT score of 570, or a minimum Math ACT score of 25, or qualify for the course using USD's Level 2 Math Placement Exam.
  • To qualify for Math 150, you must have a minimum Math SAT score of 600, or a minimum Math ACT score of 26, or qualify for the course using USD's Level 2 Math Placement Exam.

If you are planning to take one of the math placement exams, this must be done before you turn in your questionnaire. If you request a class that you do not qualify for, the freshman advisor will put you in the highest class for which you qualify.

If you received (or expect) an AB score 3, 4, or 5 on the AP Calculus exam, you will receive credit for Calculus I and qualify for Calculus II. A score of 3, 4, or 5 on the BC Calculus exam gives credit for Calculus I and II and qualifies you for Calculus III.

Do not delay in submitting your Freshman Questionnaire to wait for AP scores. Choose the course you think you want to take. It can be adjusted later.


USD offers a 1-unit Trigonometry course (Math 118). Students who wish to take Math 150 and feel that their trigonometry background is weak should take Trigonometry either before as preparation for Math 150 or concurrently with Math 150. You may sign up for Math 118 after you arrive on campus.

Logic for Math and Computer Science (Math 160) is available as an option for satisfying the Critical Reasoning Core Competency. Students considering majors in computer science or mathematics must take Math 160. Students considering minors in math or computer science should take it and other students may wish to consider taking it.

Usually students do not take Math 160 as first-semester freshmen. So if you think you might be interested in mathematics or computer science you should not request Phil 101 (Introduction to Logic).

Department of Mathematics
College of Arts and Sciences

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