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Symbolic Reasoning Requirement

All Richmond students are required to fulfill a symbolic reasoning requirement. This may be via 1) calculus-based options and 2) non-calculus-based options.

Calculus Options

Many students prefer to satisfy the Symbolic Reasoning requirement with calculus. In some cases, such as the Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), calculus is required for the degree. Calculus is not required for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, but can be taken to satisfy the Symbolic Reasoning requirement. Math 211 is sufficient for the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree and the Symbolic Reasoning requirement; Math 212 is required for the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Math 211 begins with a very brief review of polynomial, exponential, and trigonometric functions, and then introduces the basic calculus concepts. Its only prerequisite is pre-calculus in high school. Math 212 begins with techniques of integration; there is no review of Calculus I concepts. Its prerequisite is a full year of AP calculus or the equivalent.

Non-calculus Options

There are a number of non-calculus options that can be used to satisfy the Symbolic Reasoning requirement. Many of these are offered in departments other than Mathematics, including Philosophy and Computer Science. The non-calculus symbolic reasoning options that are offered on a regular basis are listed below. There are other options as well that are offered occasionally, typically in the spring semester.

  • Philosophy 251 (Elementary Symbolic Logic): This course provides a non-mathematical introduction to symbolic reasoning; translating arguments from English into a symbolic language, and demonstrating which ones are valid and which ones are invalid via truth tables, formal rules of substitution and inference, and simple quantifiers. This course has no prerequisites.
  • Computer Science 101 (Minds and Machines): This course explores such questions as what are the logical principles behind how computers work, will computers ever think, and could humans understand the brain if the brain is computational. This course has no prerequisites.
  • Computer Science 105 (Elementary Programming): Designed for non-majors, this course uses programming as a problem-solving tool in some specific application area. This years offering will focus on three-dimensional interactive virtual worlds (think “the sims”). No prior programming experience is expected.
  • Computer Science 150 (Introduction to Computing): This course focuses on developing programming skills in a widely used high level programming language and serves as an introduction to the computer science major. It has no prerequisites, but success in CMSC 150 is highly correlated with success in high school mathematics.
  • Computer Science 155 (Introduction to Scientific Computing): This course is similar to CMSC 150 but includes applications from the sciences.
  • Mathematics 102 (Applications of Finite Mathematics): This course is designed specifically to be a mathematics course that does not depend on calculus topics. The prerequisite is Algebra II/Geometry in high school. This course is available in the spring only.