Choosing the right Mathematics Course

In order to graduate, each Lafayette student is required to pass at least one Quantitative Reasoning (QR) course in which students learn to use mathematical methods to solve problems, represent and interpret quantitative information, and critically analyze mathematical results.

  • Most students will fulfill this requirement by taking an introductory course in mathematics. However, Economics 218, Psychology 203, and advanced placement credit for a course in mathematics also satisfy the quantitative reasoning requirement.
  • Furthermore, many major programs have specific mathematics requirements. You should consider what major(s) you may want to pursue and identify the mathematics requirements for those majors. We encourage you to choose a mathematics course that preserves your opportunity to pursue those majors.
  • If none of the major programs you are considering have a specific mathematics requirement, then you may satisfy the Lafayette mathematics requirement by completing any course offered by the Department of Mathematics, Economics 218, or Psychology 203. (Lafayette College Mathematics Course Offerings)

As you engage in this process it may be helpful to read the Mathematics Frequently Asked Questions.

Preparing to Take the Survey and Placement Exam(s)

Once you have an idea about the mathematics course you might select, you are ready to begin the online mathematics placement process. The purpose of this process is to gather information that will help us advise you on your choice of a mathematics course. To do that, we need an honest assessment of your interests and skills. The placement process has four components:

  • A short online Mathematics Survey, completion of which is required of all students in the Class of 2021. Please complete this mathematics survey even if you don’t plan to take a mathematics course in the fall.
  • An online test of algebra and trigonometry, Mathematics Placement Test A, which is also required of all students in the Class of 2021.
  • An online test of first-semester calculus, Mathematics Placement Test B, which you must also take if you have studied calculus and are considering any mathematics course numbered 162 or higher.
  • An online test of second-semester Calculus, Mathematics Placement Test C, which you must also take if you are considering any mathematics course numbered 263 or higher.

To complete the survey and the placement tests, log in using your Lafayette NetworkID and Password.

Once you are logged in, you will see a block on the left of the screen labeled “My Courses.”  Click the “2017 Math Survey and Placement Tests” link to access the survey and all three mathematics placement tests.

Begin the Mathematics Placement Examination

Your test results will be held in confidence and will be used only to advise you on your mathematics placement.

After You Finish the Mathematics Survey and Exam(s)

After you have completed the mathematics survey and placement exam(s), and have submitted your registration for the fall semester, we will review your course selection in light of the data you have provided. We will contact you if we believe that your selection of a mathematics course is not a good one. If we agree with your course selection, you will not hear from us on this issue. If you choose not to take a mathematics course in the fall, we will use these results to advise you on possible course selection in a future semester.


If you have questions about the mathematics survey, about placement exams, or about what mathematics course you should choose for the fall, please feel free to contact Professor Thomas Hill, (610) 330-5282.