The Walla Walla University entrance requirement in mathematics includes three years of high school mathematics up through the material traditionally covered in Algebra II. The mathematics placement process is used to ensure students start with a mathematics course in which they have a good chance of succeeding. The placement process uses high school grades and a placement test (in most cases) to make this determination. Students who have already earned college level mathematics credit (via an AP exam, dual-enrollment class, or transfer class) will be placed based on these classes instead of the placement process shown below. The Department of Mathematics offers two placement tests. Each test is thirty minutes long and must be taken without the aid of books, notes, or calculators.
Basic Algebra Test
This test covers high school algebra I and II. Students who pass this test may enroll in the following courses
- MATH 106: Introduction to Statistics
- MATH 121: Precalculus I
Calculus Readiness Test
This test covers high school precalculus (which includes some right-angle trigonometry). Students who pass this test may enroll in MATH 171: Calculus I
What math class should you take first?
Use the statement below that best describes your academic situation (along with guidance from your academic advisor) to help you determine the first math class you'll take at Walla Walla University. A flowchart is also provided as an alternate method of finding out what your first math class will be. Right-click on the image and select "open in new tab" to enlarge it. If you have questions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will take MATH 105.
You will take MATH 112.
If you are a STEM or Business major and your preliminary placement is Precalculus, you will take the Basic Algebra placement test. If you pass you will take either MATH 121 (precalculus) or MATH 106 (statistics) depending on your degree need. If you do not pass the Basic Algebra placement test you will take MDEV 003.
If you are a STEM major and your preliminary placement is calculus you will take the Calculus Readiness placement test. If you pass you will take MATH 171. If you don’t pass you will take MATH 121.
- If you have not passed High School Algebra 2 you will take MDEV 003.
- If you have not completed 3 years of high school math but did complete Algebra 2, contact the Director of Academic Advisement for guidance.
Developmental Math Courses
Walla Walla University offers two developmental mathematics courses: MDEV 001—Elementary Algebra, and MDEV 003—Intermediate Algebra. The grades received in developmental mathematics courses will be recorded on your college transcript, but will not be included in your cumulative GPA. Because these courses are not considered to be at the college level, they are generally not transferable to other colleges and universities. However, these course serve two important purposes:
- They provide students a means of making up missing entrance requirements.
- They prepare students for college-level mathematics courses.
MDEV 001—Elementary Algebra: Designed for students who enter university without having met the mathematics entrance requirement of a one-year course in high school algebra. Topics include fractions, radicals, factoring, linear and quadratic equations, and graphing. Credit does not apply toward graduation. Together with MDEV 003, elementary algebra is taught as a non-traditional self-paced computer lab-based course offered in Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters. Those who complete the entire course in one quarter will be given credit for MDEV 003. Students who require a slower pace may complete the course in two quarters, in which case they will receive credit for MDEV 001 in the first quarter and MDEV 003 in the second quarter. Students must start this course during the Autumn or Winter quarter in order to allow them two quarters in a single academic year in which to finish.
MDEV 003—Intermediate Algebra: Designed for students who enter university without having met the mathematics entrance requirements of a one-year course in high school Algebra II. Topics include sets, numbers, exponents, polynomials, factoring rational algebraic expressions, graphs, first and second degree equations, and inequalities. Credit does not apply toward graduation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Must I take a placement test?
You may qualify for the course you want without taking a placement test. We first look at your preliminary placement. If the course you wish to take is below that level, then you do not need to take a placement test.
For example, if your preliminary placement is MATH 181: Calculus I but your major requires you to take MATH 106: Introduction to Statistics (which is at the precalculus level), you may enroll in MATH 106 without taking a placement test.
What can I take with me to the placement test?
The placement test is taken on a computer in a proctored environment, but you may use pencil and paper (which we provide) to work out your answers. You may not use a calculator or any notes and you will need to turn in your phone before starting the test. Don’t worry: the test is designed to not require a calculator and we will give back your phone!
Courses such as MATH 105 and MATH 112 have no prerequisite. Why are we required to take three years of high school mathematics if our major requires only one of these courses?
Studying data from five years of classes, we discovered that the majority of our students needed three years of high school mathematics in order to succeed in college level mathematics. The vast majority of students entering WWU meet this requirement. Note that these three years must include Algebra 2 (or equivalent), and you must have a grade of “C-” or higher in these math courses. This is an admissions requirement; students who don’t meet this requirement have a specific time frame to meet or are unable to continue at WWU.
Why am I being required to take a developmental mathematics course such as MDEV 001 or MDEV 003?
Students must take one or more of these courses if they do not meet our entrance requirements, which includes three years of high school mathematics up through material traditionally covered in Algebra 2. However, some students will need to take MDEV 003 to review in preparation for a higher-level mathematics course even though they have had three years of high school mathematics. We make this determination by giving you a math placement test before you sign up for college math classes. It is possible that you need a refresher course before tackling high school math. It is extremely important to have a solid foundation in mathematics; MDEV 001 and 003 can help you get that foundation. Taking an extra course is far better than starting a more advanced course and not successfully finishing it.
What is the difference between MDEV 003 and MDEV 001?
MDEV 003 is a one quarter class that covers material traditionally covered in high school Algebra 2. Successful completion of MDEV 003 allows students to enroll in MATH 121 (Precalculus 1), MATH 106 (Introduction to Statistics), and meet any missing admissions requirements. However, some students benefit from a slower pace through this material. These students start in MDEV 003 but elect to switch into MDEV 1 partway through the quarter after consulting their professor. This allows them to then continue that class for a second quarter, at which point the student receives a grade for MDEV 003. Note that this extended pathway requires students to pay tuition for both MDEV 001 and MDEV 003.
Do students who start in MDEV 001 or MDEV 003 ever succeed in majors that require a lot of mathematics?
Yes, students who do well in these classes are well prepared to take subsequent math courses.
Do I get credit for taking MDEV 001 or MDEV 003?
You get 4 credits for taking each developmental math course. These credits count toward the minimum load required for financial aid and immigration, but do not apply toward the 192 credits required for graduation.
Will I get a grade for MDEV 001 or MDEV 003?
You will get a letter grade for each of these courses and it will be recorded on your transcript. However, the grade will not be included in your overall GPA.
I took algebra I in the eighth grade, and then I took algebra II and geometry in high school. Have I met the entrance requirement?
Yes. But if you are ahead in your high school math classes you should keep taking mathematics courses while in high school to keep your mathematics skills sharp for college.
What do I do if I want to attend Walla Walla University but don’t meet the entrance requirements for mathematics?
Consider taking the missing coursework through an accredited high school program or community college prior to attending WWU. You need to have a solid foundation up through the contents of algebra 2 before you take college level mathematics. Note that you may still need to take a placement test even if you meet these requirements.