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Learning Objectives

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand the theoretical concept of a limit; use algebraic means to compute the values of limits and identify when they don't exist.
  • Understand the theoretical concept of the derivative; compute them using the standard rules of differentiation.
  • Understand the theoretical concept of the integral; compute both definite and indefinite integrals using the fundamental theorem of calculus.
  • See how the mathematical concepts of integration and differentiation are the natural result of an investigation into the nature of the physical world and perform further investigations using the new tools presented in class.
  • Communicate mathematically, including understanding, making, and critiquing mathematical arguments.

Class Meetings

Lecture sections meet MW or TR for 75 minutes each class period. In addition, each lecture is supported by four recitation sections which will also meet for 75 minutes.  Every student must register for one of the recitations associated to their lecture! A list of sections, their meeting times and locations, and their instructors can be found on through the Registrar's Course Search (enter "MATH-UA 121" in the first search field).


There are two media for homework in Calculus I.

There will be weekly on-line assignments administered through the on-line homework software WebAssign, which is a required course material. WebAssign problems are computational in nature and assess the techniques introduced in class. Many of these problems will resemble examples in the textbook or from class. You will get immediate feedback on your progress and will get several chances to ensure it. WebAssign is accessed directly through the course's  NYU Classes website.

There will also be problems to write up on paper each week and turn in. These problems will require more than just procedure, might connect two or more things together, and will typically be the most difficult exercises you will work on over the semester.

One of the major goals of college-level mathematics education is to move students from computational processes to conceptual thinking and communication. That is the biggest difference between this course and a high school course, even an Advanced Placement course. Mathematics is more than a bag of tricks and there are not a limited number of "types" of problems that can be asked. The goal in class is to prepare you to do the homework and not necessarily to show you how to do your homework. The learning occurs when you can move yourself into the unknown territory.

Graders will grade the written homework promptly. Graders will be expecting you to express your ideas clearly, legibly, and completely, often requiring complete English sentences rather than merely just a long string of equations or unconnected mathematical expressions. This means you could lose points for unexplained answers, or poorly prepared and presented papers.

In fairness to fellow students and to graders, late homework will generally not be accepted. Because sometimes things more important than math homework come up, you have some free passes: Your lowest problem set score will be dropped in the final grade calculation.

By all means you may work in groups on the homework assignments. Collaboration is a big part of learning and of scholarship in general. However, each student must turn in his or her own write-up of the solutions, with an acknowledgment of collaborators.

There is free math tutoring sponsored by the math department, meeting in room 524 of Warren Weaver Hall. Check the signs posted throughout Warren Weaver Hall and the tutoring web page.


During the semester there will be one midterm exam in class. There will also weekly quizzes which will not weighted as high as the midterm.

The final exam for all sections of Calculus will be Thursday, May 16, at 2:00 pm. EARLY TRAVEL IS AN UNACCEPTABLE EXCUSE FOR RESCHEDULING THE FINAL EXAM!

Exams will contain a mixture of computational and conceptual problems. Some of them will resemble homework problems, while some will be brand new to you. The final exam is likely to be a mixture of multiple choice and free response problems.

Quizzes will also be given during recitation. Quiz scores will be averaged together, again dropping the lowest. Quizzes may be traditional individual timed assignments, or they may be group exercises, or untimed take-home exercises, or other. The quiz schedule and assignment type will be determined by your instructors and you will be notified in advance about the schedule.

Policy on out-of-sequence exams and missed quizzes

We are only able to accommodate a limited number of out-of-sequence exams due to limited availability of rooms and proctors. For this reason, we may approve out-of-sequence exams in the following cases:

  1. A documented medical excuse.
  2. A University sponsored event such as an athletic tournament, a play, or a musical performance. Athletic practices and rehearsals do not fall into this category. Please have your coach, conductor, or other faculty advisor contact your instructor.
  3. A religious holiday.
  4. Extreme hardship such as a family emergency.

We will not be able to accommodate out-of-sequence exams, quizzes, and finals for purposes of more convenient travel, including already purchased tickets.  Please note again the date of the final and plan your summer  travel accordingly.  

Scheduled out-of-sequence exams and quizzes (those not arising from emergencies) must be taken before the actual exam. Makeups must occur within one week of the regularly scheduled exam or quiz, otherwise a zero score will be given.

If you require additional accommodations as determined by the Center for Student Disabilities, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.


Students who wish to enroll in Calculus I must meet one of the following prerequisites:

  • An SAT Math score of 750 or higher.
  • An ACT/ACTE Math score of 34 or higher.
  • A score of 4 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB test
  • A score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus BC test
  • Completion of Algebra and Calculus (V63.0009) with a grade of C or higher.
  • Our department's Calculus I placement test.


Your course score will be determined as the following weighted average:


We will convert this score to a letter grade beginning with these values as cutoffs:

CutoffLetter Grade

These cutoffs might be adjusted, but only in the downward direction (to make letter grades higher).

Textbook and Materials

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE TEXTBOOK EDITION HAS CHANGED FOR CALC I!  We will be using the 2nd edition of Stewart's Essential Calculus: Early Transcendentals

You need a textbook and you need WebAssign access, and you have several options for getting these.

Essential Calculus, Early Transcendentals
 2nd edition by James Stewart is the official textbook for the course. NYU has a custom imprint of this text which is sold bundled with access to Enhanced WebAssign. Enhanced WebAssign includes videos of worked-out problems and a hyperlinked electronic format of the textbook.  NYU students report finding the videos extremely helpful for mastering procedural problems.

In addition to the hardcover custom textbook, the NYU bookstore also has a limited number of looseleaf printings on three-hole punched paper, bundled with access to Enhanced WebAssign. These are less expensive up front, easier to carry around (since you don't have to carry the entire textbook at once), but cannot be sold back to the bookstore.

You may also buy the latest edition of Essential Calculus, Early TranscendentalsISBN-13 978-1-133-11228-0 non-customized, elsewhere. Then you can buyWebAssign (regular or Enhanced, single-semester or multi-semester) from them on-line directly or via class website on NYUClasses. There is a two-week grace period to buy a WebAssign license so you need not buy it before the semester begins.

Finally, you may decide to go completely electronic with Enhanced WebAssign alone.  It includes the textbook in digital format.

With all those options, here are some combinations, in (likely) decreasing order of total cost before resale.

  1. Premium Bundle.  Buy the hardcover volume in the NYU bookstore, which comes with a multi-semester Enhanced WebAssign license.  Good for those who plan to take two or more semesters of calculus at NYU and want one-stop-shopping with the option to sell the book back. 
  2. Premium Portable Bundle. Buy the looseleaf volume in the NYU bookstore, which comes with a multi-semester Enhanced WebAssign license. Good for those who plan to take two or more semesters of calculus at NYU and want one-stop-shopping and a lighter but still physical textbook.
  3. Economy Bundle.  Buy a used textbook.  Buy a WebAssign license through NYUClasses after the grace period.  Buy Enhanced if you want the digital resources; buy a multi-semester license if you may take more than one semester of calculus (if you choose a single-semester license and want to take another calculus course you will need to purchase another license, and the cost of two single-semester licenses is much more than the cost of a multi-semester license).  Good for those who want to shop around and resell the book.  
  4. Digital Bundle.  Buy Enhanced WebAssign alone.  Buy a multi-semester license if you may take more than one semester of calculus.  Good for those who are comfortable reading texts on their computer and want to save the most money.
Please be aware of the University's policy on illegal downloading of copyrighted material: don't.

The calculator question

A graphing calculator is encouraged for class discussion and on homework, butnot allowed for exams or quizzes. No specific calculator is endorsed, so do not buy a new one. If you have one already, continue to use that one; if you do not, try free alternatives such as Wolfram Alpha.