Information for New Engineering Students

If you are a new engineering first-year freshman student, you will most likely be pre-enrolled in an Applied Math (APPM) pre-calculus or calculus course based on patterns of prior experience including your admission application, high school transcripts, previous CU Boulder coursework, etc.  If you have not been pre-enrolled into pre-calculus or calculus, please connect with your academic advisor for guidance.

  At CU Boulder we have two different departments that teach the Calculus sequence courses: Applied Math (APPM) and the Math department (MATH).

The College of Engineering & Applied Science accepts credit from both of these departments for Pre-Calculus and Calculus 1-3. While most engineering students will take the APPM sequence of classes it may make sense for some students to take the sequence offered by the Math department. If you have questions about which sequence would be best for you, please contact your academic advisor. While students can be successful in either of these departments, and both MATH and APPM courses will apply towards engineering degrees, the College of Engineering strongly recommends students take the Applied Math Calculus sequence, as these courses are designed for the engineering curriculum.

  • Pre Calculus Options:

    • APPM 1235 Pre-Calculus for Engineers A four-credit course developing techniques and concepts prerequisite to engineering calculus through the study of trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, and other functions.

    • MATH 1150 Pre Calculus 

  • Two-Semester Calculus 1: 

    • APPM 1340/1345: Calculus 1A with Algebra (APPM 1340) and Calculus 1B with Algebra (APPM 1345) are each four-credit courses that together cover the material of Calculus 1 for engineering-bound students, spread over two semesters to allow for a slower-paced development of Calculus 1 foundation, knowledge and skills.
      • The APPM 1340/1345 two-course sequence includes a four-week review of algebra and trigonometry, although not as much as in APPM 1235 (Pre-Calculus for Engineers). Thus, the APPM 1340/1345 sequence is appropriate for students with high proficiency in trigonometry who want to take calculus at a slower pace. 
      • Note: The APPM 1340/1345 course sequence is equivalent to APPM 1350 (Calculus 1) plus 4 credits of algebra/trig review. Students must complete both APPM 1340 and APPM 1345 to receive credit for Calculus 1.

Note for either option above: It is essential to have a strong math foundation for success in engineering and both APPM 1235 (or MATH 1150) and APPM 1340/1345 can provide that. Your advisor may recommend that you take Calculus 2 during the summer after your first year to stay on track for a four-year engineering degree program.

  • Calculus 1 Options: 

    • APPM 1350 Calculus 1 for Engineers: A four-credit course in analytical geometry and calculus including limits, rates of change of functions, derivatives and integrals of algebraic and transcendental functions, applications of differentiations and integration
    • MATH 1300 Calculus 1

Do you already have college credit for Calculus 1 (or more) ?

More Questions?

If you have further questions about your choice of Applied Math class, you may contact your academic advisor or Professor Anne Dougherty (303-492-4011 or