PSU Mark
Eberly College of Science Mathematics Department

FAQ Math Courses

Frequently Asked Questions for Math Courses

Below please find a number of questions that are frequently asked in the Undergraduate Office of the Mathematics Department. If you have additional questions, please contact your advisor or the Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising in Mathematics.



  • I will be taking a mathematics class next semester. What calculator should I buy?

You do not need to purchase a calculator because a calculator is not required for any of the following courses: MATH 4, 21, 22, 26, 41, 110, 140, 141.



  • What kind of tutoring programs exist for mathematics courses?

   MATH 110

The Mathematics Department and Penn State Learning offer Guided Study Groups for students enrolled in MATH 110. During an GSG session, 
you will meet with the GSG leader and other students in your class to discuss readings and lectures, ask questions, and share ideas. This program
is free for students. The meeting times and places for GSG can be found at the following website:

The Penn State Learning provides free tutoring for mathematics courses from Math 2 - Math 251. This service is free and provided on a
walk-in basis. Drop-in hours and locations can be found at the following website:



The Mathematics Department provides a list of names of people interested in tutoring. Students will be expected to pay for their tutoring session. Click here for The Private Tutor List 

The undergraduate Math Club offers free tutoring for certain mathematics courses.


Evening Exams

  • What is the difference between a conflict exam and a makeup exam?

A conflict exam is given on the same day as a regularly scheduled evening exam (6:30-7:45 pm).  The conflict exam takes place prior to the regular exam from 5:05-6:20 pm. Students will be released at 6:25 pm.


A makeup exam is given a week and a day after the regularly scheduled evening exam. The makeup exam is scheduled the same time as the regular evening exam from 6:30-7:45 pm. 

  • How do I sign up for a conflict exam?  You are required to sign up for a conflict exam with your instructor during your class by the deadline (one week) in advance of the exam date.  A valid documented reason, such as class conflict or other scheduled activity with PSU is acceptable.
  • How do I sign up for a make-up exam? You are required to sign up for a make-up exam with your instructor during your class by the deadline ( 2 days) in advance of the make-up date. A valid documented reason, such as class conflict, illness during both the conflict and regular exam times are permitted to schedule a make-up exam. Personal business such as travel, employment, weddings, graduations, or attendance at public events such as concerts, sporting events, and Greek Rush events are not valid excuses.
  • I signed up for the makeup exam, but I do not remember what room it is in. What can I do?

    This information should be documented when you sign up, it is located on the sign up sheet. If you have not done this, contact your instructor to verify location and time or you may call the Undergraduate Office for the location. Your name must appear on the Make-up Sheet to be accommodated for the exam.

  • I missed my exam. What can I do?

Notify your instructor immediately (via email, for example). If the makeup exam has not been given, you will have until the deadline (2 days prior) to the exam to sign up. You will need to document the Make-up exam location. With a valid verifiable reason, the makeup will be given with no penalty. Otherwise, a penalty may be imposed. If the makeup exam has been given, then the instructor and course coordinator will decide on how you will make up the missed exam.

  • My TA is no longer at the university. With whom can I speak with about my grade?

You can call the Undergraduate Mathematics Office (814-865-7528). A staff assistant will then put you in touch with the appropriate person.


Acquisition of Credit

  • How do I get credit by examination?

When a student requests an examination as a substitute for completing all the usual requirements of a course, the credits received are described as "credits by examination". Such credits in courses offered by the University are accepted as fulfilling degree requirements. A grade of "C" or higher must be earned in the examination for credit to be awarded. A fee for each credit shall be charged. Authorization is required to acquire credits in this manner. Such authorization may not be granted for the purpose of acquiring credit for a course previously completed for which a quality letter grade has been assigned. Credit by examination may not be attained on the satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Senate Policy: 42-50.


  • I took a MATH course at another institution and it transferred as GEN credits. How can I have it transferred as a specific Penn State MATH course?

You will need to complete a PSU Department of Mathematics COURSE REVIEW FORMand bring the form to the Undergraduate Mathematics Office in 104 McAllister Building. Please include a course syllabus that was used in the course.


Course Substitution

  • I am planning to complete a mathematics course this summer at a school near my home. Will Penn State count the course? How should I go about finding out if the course will transfer back to Penn State? What should I do before I take the course?

 The best recommendation for this is a two step process:

 a) Go to the Transfer Course Evaluation Guide.  After walking through this process,if the course already appears in the Penn State system, then the course will transfer (assuming you complete the course successfully).  If you have any difficulty, print the results and take them to the Admissions office.

b) If your course does not appear in the system described in part a), then you will need to complete a COURSE REVIEW FORM  and obtain a syllabus.  You can either send digital copies to or bring them to 104 McAllister Building. If you haven't taken the course yet, contact the other institution and request the most recent syllabus of the course you intend to take.

 Course work completed at an accredited college or university may be evaluated for transfer credit if passed with a grade equivalent to A, B, or C. Course work completed on a pass-fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis normally cannot be evaluated for transfer credit.

  • I took MATH 231 and I am now required to take MATH 230. What can I do?

Schedule MATH 232 (2 credits) because together MATH 231 (2 credits) and MATH 232 (2 credits) cover the material in MATH 230 (4 credits).


  • I took MATH 250 and I am now required to take MATH 251. What can I do?

Schedule MATH 252 (1 credit) because together MATH 250 (3 credits) and MATH 252 (1 credit) together cover the material in MATH 251 (4 credits).


  • Numerous MATH courses appear to be cross-listed with other departments (such as MATH 414 and STAT 414). Are there any differences between the courses?

None whatsoever.


  • May I sign up for STAT 414 even though I need MATH 414 as one of my mathematics major or minor requirements?

Yes, the degree audit will handle this situation with no problems.


Course Availability

  • I need to take a certain MATH course, but all the sections are full. What can I do?

It may be possible to sign you into a section that has reached its full enrollment. However, there are two conditions: [1] There are available seats in the classroom and [2] The instructor agrees to accept students beyond the course enrollment limit. In such a case, the student needs to take a Drop/Add form (available in 104 McAllister Building and the registrar's web page to the instructor of the course. If the instructor is willing to sign the student into the class, then the student can bring the completed Drop/Add form (signed by both the instructor and the student) back to 104 McAllister Building for processing. If there are still seats physically available in the room (the number of seats in the room are set by the fire code, not the Mathematics Department), then the Undergraduate Mathematics Office in 104 McAllister Building staff will sign the student into the course.