Calculus for the Life Sciences

Are you a student in the life sciences (agricultural sciences, biological sciences, medical sciences, etc.) taking calculus? Would you like to learn how mathematics can help you understand biology?

Consider taking MATH 134, Calculus for the Life Sciences!

Course Details

This course teaches calculus from the perspective of the life sciences. While the mathematical content is the same as the standard calculus course (MATH 114), biological examples are used to motivate the material and mathematical results then are applied back to the biology.

Examples are drawn from many areas of biology, including:

  • biomechanics,
  • ecology,
  • epidemiology,
  • genetics,
  • medicine,
  • pharmacology,
  • physiology,
  • and more.

For example, in conservation biology, calculus is used to determine the effect of habitat fragmentation on population dynamics; in epidemiology, calculus is used to explore the antigenic change that occurs during an influenza epidemic; and in physiology, calculus is used to show how blood pressure depends on the radius of an artery, etc.

Instructors of Calculus for the Life Sciences are interdisciplinary mathematicians who are experts in the field.

Course Delivery

Calculus for the Life Sciences is offered in a blended learning format, with both an in-person component and an online component. The blended learning format means that some of the time that students spend on self-study and homework in a standard calculus course will be replaced by a requirement to work through online resources (primarily short videos) before coming to class. In-class time then is spent on more active learning activities (problem solving, discussions about the online material) rather than passive note taking. Online resources are available to students throughout the term and can be accessed as many times as needed by students.

Please note that the requirements for many programs in the life sciences have not yet been updated to reflect the existence of this new course. Most of these programs should accept MATH 134 in lieu of MATH 114. But you should contact your program advisor to ensure that this is indeed the case.