Should I take Math 250B or should I take Math 255 and/or Math 260?
Math 250B is a combined, linear algebra and differential equations course that was created for engineering students in an attempt to reduce the number of units required to earn a degree. Traditionally, linear algebra and differential equations were taught in separate courses because, while there is some overlap, the two topics are quite different. In Math 250B, roughly one third of the course covers linear algebra and the other two-thirds is differential equations. Math 250C is a 2-unit course that covers additional topics in linear algebra that are not covered in Math 250B.
Math 255 is a unified treatment of all linear algebra topics covered in Math 250B, 250C and partly in 172. If your degree does not require differential equations, this is the class for you.
Math 260 is a dedicated course on differential equations, including a full treatment of systems of equations, while allowing time for applications and other related topics of interest. This class goes beyond what you would learn about differential equations in Math 250B.
Why take Math 250B?
- A combined course offers a brief introduction to both topics in one, 4-unit course, saving students time and money.
- There is some overlap in the two topics. Having exposure to some linear algebra can help when trying to understand specific material in differential equations.
Why take Math 255 and/or Math 260?
- There is not enough time in one, 4-unit course to thoroughly cover both topics so students sometimes have to retake one or both of these courses after they transfer.
- For some majors only one of these courses is required so taking a single, dedicated course is preferable.
- One downside of taking a combined course is that the course can seem disjointed because the overlap is minimal and in general the two topics are quite different.
Will My Class Transfer?
Ultimately, the decision you make depends on your major and the university to which you intend to transfer. Some universities offer a class comparable to our Math 250B others do not. All universities offer a dedicated Differential Equations course and a dedicated Linear Algebra course, but sometimes those offerings are upper-division only. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that our lower division course will not transfer. You should contact your university or check ASSIST.org before making your decision.
As a reference, below is a summary of the courses offered at some of the California universities.
|Cal Poly Pomona||X||X||X|
|Cal Poly SLO||X||X|
|CSU Dominguez Hills||X*||X*|
|CSU Long Beach||X||X*|
|CSU Los Angeles||X||X|
|CSU San Bernardino||X*||X|
|San Diego State||X||X*|
|UC San Diego||X||X|
|UC Santa Cruz||X||X|
|*Upper division only|