Message to Students Who Are Considering Taking 300


Math 300 introduces students to the basic notions, thinking, and communication methods of a professional mathematician. It bridges the gap between computational courses and more abstract courses based on reading and writing mathematical proofs.

Math 300 is a challenging course. Despite its number, it is more challenging that many upper-level math course with higher numbers. This course is a gateway course, designed to prepare students for success in our higher-level proof-based mathematics courses.

The formal prerequisite for this course is Math 250 or 251. However, most students will benefit from having taken both of these, or at least two courses at the 200-level or higher. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to take at least one math course at Rutgers before taking Math 300.

Students whose math course grades are in the C or C+ range are strongly cautioned against taking this course. Additionally, if this is the last math course that you plan to take or if you are just looking to fill a slot in your schedule, you should not be taking Math 300. As noted above, it is designed as a gateway course to help students make the transition to proof-based courses. It is certainly not intended as a terminal math course, and C or C+ students are likely to find it very different from any math course they have taken, and very difficult. In recent years, about a quarter of registered students either withdrew with a W or received a D or F in the course, but most of those students should never have registered for this course.

Who, then, should register for this course? Math 300 is primarily designed to prepare math majors for the proof-based courses Math 311, Math 350, and Math 351. The grading standards for Math 300 are based on readiness for these courses. Hence, students can only earn a grade of C or better if they are truly ready to read and write basic proofs about nontrivial mathematical objects.

If you are not planning on taking further proof-based math courses, Math 300 is probably not for you. This is the case for most students pursuing a minor in mathematics, or working towards a biomath or actuarial math major; Math 300 is not required for any of these degrees.

In particular, students pursuing a major in computer science and a minor in math are generally better off taking CS 205 for their major and a different math elective for their minor. Math 300 will only be accepted as a substitute for CS 205 if you earn an A or a B+, which is no easy task.