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Enhanced Course Opportunities

Enhanced Course Opportunities

Case Western Reserve University offers enhanced versions of math and physics courses. Please read the descriptions listed below. Enhanced course opportunities are not required or preferred for a major. Both the standard and enhanced calculus and physics courses offer exceptional preparation and learning opportunities for students; the enhanced courses provide an alternative for students with particularly strong preparation. Invitations are required and will be sent via students’ CWRU webmail account in early July. Participation is completely voluntary. Students who are invited to participate should think carefully about whether or not they would prefer to study course material in the ways described below.

MATH 124 – Calculus II, and MATH 227 – Calculus III

  • MATH 124 is an alternative to MATH 122, and MATH 227 is an alternative to MATH 223.

MATH 121 is the regular first semester course in the standard science and engineering calculus sequence. This course covers functions, limits, derivatives of algebraic and trigonometric functions, related rates, applications of the derivative, definite integrals, antiderivatives, and fundamental theorem of calculus.

MATH 122 is the regular second semester course in the standard science and engineering calculus sequence. Calculus of a single variable is covered. MATH 124 also covers calculus of a single variable but is taught with more emphasis on the underlying theory. Students taking this course should have a high level of computation proficiency and a willingness to be challenged. Having a well-grounded theoretical understanding of the first semester (MATH 121 or equivalent; see the course description on the schedule of classes) of single variable calculus is a plus.

MATH 223 is the regular third semester course in the standard science and engineering calculus sequence. Calculus of several variables is covered. MATH 227 also covers calculus of several variables but with more emphasis on the underlying theory. The material is covered in more depth and includes some linear algebra. Having a well-grounded theoretical understanding of single variable calculus is a plus.

The enhanced calculus sequence is intended to provide deeper preparation to strong prospective math, science and engineering students with an in-depth understanding of complex phenomena. The enhanced math sequence covers the same material in MATH 121, 122, and 223 but covers these topics in greater depth with an emphasis on the underlying mathematical concepts. If you have questions about these courses or would like help deciding, you may contact Professor Chris Butler at christopher.butler@case.edu.

Prerequisites: Invitation only. Students who enroll in MATH 124 must have credit for MATH 121; students who enroll in MATH 227 must have credit for MATH 122.

PHYS 123 – Physics and Frontiers I – Mechanics

  • PHYS 123 is an alternative to PHYS 121.

PHYS 123 is the first of a two-course sequence in the "enhanced" introductory sequence. PHYS 123 is an option for students who are interested in physics, possibly but not necessarily as a major. A central goal in this class is to learn to "think like a physicist,” to cultivate methods to solve a wide range of problems. In addition to the standard Newtonian dynamics, the course incorporates a series of frontier lectures on fractals and chaos theory. As in PHYS 121, there is an associated series of laboratory experiments, with certain experiments tailored to the special topics covered in PHYS 123, including a chaos experiment. Students who have earned AP credit for PHYS 121 will forfeit that credit if they opt to enroll in PHYS 123. PHYS 123 is designed to make this an attractive option for students interested in physics. Further details about this course option can be found here.

Prerequisites: Invitation only. Students who have successfully completed calculus and physics during high school and who have demonstrated a strong mathematics background on standardized entrance exams will be considered for invitation. Students planning to pursue a physics, math and physics, and/or engineering physics major are especially encouraged to consider enrolling in Physics 123.