At Seattle Pacific University, mathematics and several other majors begin with Calculus, which is a three-quarter sequence at SPU, including MAT 1234, 1235, and 1236.

General course information

As of Autumn Quarter 2020, the textbook for MAT 1234 is Calculus, 9th edition, by Stewart, Clegg, and Watson. You are strongly encouraged to purchase the textbook from the SPU bookstore since other materials needed for the course will be bundled for free with the textbook. (Note: There are several versions of calculus texts by Stewart, Clegg, and Watson; some have subtitles such as “Early Transcendentals.” The correct textbook has no subtitle.)

During the first quarter, you will cover most of the material in the first four chapters of the textbook. This textbook is also used for MAT 1235 (Calculus II), MAT 1236 (Calculus III), and MAT 3238 (Vector Calculus).

Calculus classes will meet in computer classrooms equipped with one PC for every two students. A variety of mathematical and statistical software is available on these computers, including the computer algebraic system Maple. Substantial use of Maple will be made in Calculus and in many subsequent math courses. Maple will be available for use on computers in labs throughout the campus.

Students in classroom

Calculus Placement Exam

All students are required to take the Calculus Placement Exam prior to enrolling in MAT 1234 (“Calculus I”). The Calculus Placement Exam, which is administered online, covers pre-calculus algebra and trigonometry skills necessary for success in calculus. Calculator use is not permitted on the exam. Scores on the exam will be used to determine appropriate placement, typically in either “Calculus I” (MAT 1234) or “Precalculus” (MAT 1110).

Students currently enrolled at SPU who wish to register for MAT 1234 should contact to request access to the Calculus Placement Test. Newly admitted students will receive information about taking the placement exam before coming to campus for New Student Advising.

You can take advantage of some exercises to help review key ideas of algebra and trigonometry. Note that this review does not cover every type of problem that might be on the Calculus Placement Exam. It is also not intended as a sample of what the exam will look like; it is merely intended as a good starting point for reviewing your pre-calculus skills. Solutions for the practice exercises are also available.

Note: The Calculus Placement Exam is only used for placement into calculus courses (MAT 1221 and 1234). For placement into other introductory mathematics courses, students must take the General Mathematics Placement Test.

Robbin O

Why I Teach at SPU

Robbin O’Leary, Professor of Mathematics

“At SPU I am able to teach a broad spectrum of mathematics and encourage students’ learning and growth.  I teach students who love math, and help them understand mathematical structure, to follow an elegant proof and catch the intricacies of the creation that follows. I also teach students who find math difficult. With them, I find joy in providing a positive mathematical learning experience where they can succeed beyond their expectations.”