Calculus serves as a foundation for many college students to help them understand complex mathematical computations. Many college majors require calculus as part of a comprehensive curriculum to show students how it can apply to and be useful in their field of study, though the amount and type of calculus that a student must take varies by major.
Since the engineering profession relies heavily on math to solve problems, students who choose to major in this field must take a series of calculus courses. Engineering majors at Rice University must complete both single variable and multivariable calculus. They must also complete calculus courses that focus on sequences and series, as well as courses that include ordinary differential equations. Students who major in areas such as aeronautical, mechanical, electrical and biomedical engineering find these types of courses helpful in being able to better understand how things work and how to improve their field.
For students who choose to major in areas such as finance, accounting and economics, calculus can play a major role in how they understand ways to manage large amounts of money. The University of Illinois at Chicago requires students pursuing a business major to take a calculus course that covers topics including logarithmic functions, integration and graphing of functions. Many institutions offer calculus courses that do not cover all concepts of calculus but are specifically tailored to business school majors to ensure that these students fully understand its applications to the business world.
Design is a significant part of study for many architecture majors, and while these students do not take as many calculus courses as their engineering counterparts, calculus still plays a vital role. At Ohio State University, architecture majors must complete one calculus course that focuses on polynomial, trigonometric, rational and exponential functions. Taking courses that cover these topics helps students better understand how to better plan building construction.
Science and Math Majors
Science and math majors also have curriculums that incorporate and build off calculus-based concepts. According to Georgia Institute of Technology, biology and chemistry majors must take calculus courses because they serve as the foundation for other required courses, such as physics. Science majors typically adopt an interdisciplinary approach to learning, and calculus serves as a gateway to a quantitative understanding of living things. Similarly, math majors use calculus as a basis for the concepts they will learn in the future, in classes such as differential equations and higher-level proof-based courses.
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