Changes are happening quickly, as we gear up for the Fall semester. As we know more, we will make changes to this page.

Welcome to Colby!

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers courses in mathematics and statistics to many Colby students, ranging from those who just want to take one or two quantitative courses to those who want to major in the mathematical sciences. As a new student, you will probably have questions; these pages are our attempt to answer some of them and to tell you where to go for more answers.

Do you want/need to change Calculus courses?

(Information as of August 5)

Currently, we are in the pruning/balancing phase of registration. This means that the registrar is distributing students across the Calculus sections. You may not end up in the section you registered for. Why do we do this? We want to ensure that everyone who wants or needs to take Calculus in the fall is able to do so and that each student can take the Calculus course that is appropriate for them. We are committed to relatively small class sizes and are also committed to allowing non-remote students to switch from MA 161 to MA 122 or from MA 122 to MA 121 if necessary. This means that we must preserve space in certain sections so that students can switch into those sections. Just because it appears as though there is space in a certain section, does not mean that it is available to you. Generally, we do not permit students to change sections within a course.

If you wish to change which Calculus course you are registered for, please fill out this form. We guarantee* that if the Calculus course you are registered for turns out to be inappropriate for you, you can switch to a lower numbered course. You are NOT guaranteed to be able to be enrolled in your desired section. (Caveat*: Due to covid19-related course caps and the need to accommodate remote students, we are somewhat more constrained than usual. In particular, we do not have a remote MA 121 course. All Calculus students will be informed if at some point it becomes necessary to not allow course changes.)

All students who hope to take Calculus in the fall should now be registered for a course. If you are not currently registered but wish to take Calculus, please email Scott Taylor (sataylor AT ASAP.

Do you want/need to take a Calculus section remotely?

(Information as of August 5)

We have no online sections of MA 121. Email Scott Taylor (sataylor AT if this presents a hardship for you.

MA 122B is an online section of MA 122. Remote students will have priority for this course.

MA 161 is online, but synchronously. So you will need to reserve the scheduled time slot for that course.

Initial Calculus Placement Guidance.

First read the information below, Follow the links, consider the advice, use the placement worksheet. Then fill out the questionnaire. Every student considering mathematics in the fall should return a completed questionnaire. We must receive your questionnaire before June 30.

Read the mathematics course information for first year students. This describes the courses that are available, but also includes some advice and some information on what mathematics courses you might need to take for your major or to fulfill college requirements.

If you are considering Calculus, use the calculus placement worksheet (PDF) to see what course is recommended for you. Please keep the following advice in mind:

When choosing between a harder course and an easier course, we suggest you try the harder course for a few days. It is much easier to move from a harder course to an easier course than from an easier course to a harder course.

If you are planning to take a Calculus course at any point during your time at Colby, we recommend that you take it during your first semester here. Mathematics is cumulative and calculus relies on what you learned in high school, so it’s best to start before you forget anything.



If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

When you arrive at Colby, if you are unsure of your choice of math courses, we encourage you to attend the informational meeting held during orientation. Several faculty members will be there and offer advice based on your specific situation. Take early advantage of the close student-faculty relationship that we cherish here!

During the summer, you can contact
Fernando Gouvêa
Fernando.Gouvea AT colby DOT edu

When you arrive on campus in the fall, you can contact
Scott Taylor
in person at Davis 207
sataylor AT colby DOT edu

In either case, please include a phone number in case we need to call you.