Math 42
Fall 2015

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Course Description and Prerequisites

This is a 5-unit second-term course in single-variable calculus with an accelerated pace -- specifically, Math 42 will cover techniques of integration, applications of integration, differential equations, infinite sequences and series, and Taylor polynomials. Although everyone is welcome in the course, it is aimed primarily to students who will continue taking more advanced quantitative classes which require a strong calculus background. This course also requires a strong background in the first half of single-variable calculus, as covered in Math 41 (or equivalent): differential calculus and applications, the foundations of integral calculus up to and including u-substitution techniques, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.

  • Syllabus: For a detailed schedule of topics, see the Schedule page.
  • Textbook: The textbook is Single Variable Calculus: Concepts and Contexts, 4th edition, by James Stewart. Older editions are not recommended; the problem numbering differs, for example.
  • Classes: Each week you will attend three lectures and two discussion sections. The lectures are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The discussion sections are on Tuesday and Thursday. If you miss a lecture or a section, it is your responsibility to catch up on the topics that you missed.
  • Assessment: 15% homework, 25% each for midterms exams, 35% final exam. Only final course grades will be curved. The historical grade distribution is roughly 30% As and 40% Bs.

Switching to Math 20

Statement from Undergraduate Advising and Research concerning the special provision for fifth-week switch to Math 20:

"Any student registered for either MATH 42 or MATH 42A who wishes to switch to MATH 20 after the Add/Drop Deadline may do so by submitting a Petition to Change Course Enrollment no later than 5:00 pm on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. Students will receive full credit for MATH 20 (3 units) upon earning a passing grade for that course. (Students switching from MATH 42A to MATH 20 may also add the 1-unit ACE course EE 191A, before the above date.)"

Note: Because of the discrepancy in units between either MATH 42 (5 units) or MATH 42A (6 units), and MATH 20 (3 units), students should be advised to consider the possible impact this change may have on their university enrollment requirements. For this reason, students switching from either MATH 42/42A must meet with a UAR Advisor.

"Specifically, students should complete the Petition to Change Course Enrollment form in the following manner:

  1. Complete the personal information section.
  2. Select 'Section change' and enter the information for both courses in the Change Requested section.
  3. Obtain signature from the instructor of the new course, MATH 20. This may require advance notice of 1-2 days, so prompt attention to this is imperative. [Click to contact Math 20 instructor] (Students switching from MATH 42A may also submit a separate petition form to request a Late Add for EE 191A at 1-unit, signed by Professor Brad Osgood.)
  4. Sign the form(s).
  5. Meet with an Advisor from the office of Undergraduate Advising and Research to discuss the situation and obtain the Advisor's signature.
  6. Submit the form to VPUE in the office of Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR) by 5:00pm, October 21, 2015.

"Students will not need to write a statement regarding why they wish to submit the petition. But they will need to obtain the instructor's signature, as well as the signature of a UAR Advisor. The request will be routinely approved and rather than a withdrawal with the notation of 'W,' MATH 42 or MATH 42A will be dropped from the student's record and MATH 20 (and EE 191A, where appropriate) will be added. Students should be directed to speak with their new MATH instructor regarding the grading policy for the MATH Switch."

Additional details concerning switch to Math 20:

When switching to Math 20, all of your grades from Math 42 will be deleted. You will be excused from all work from Math 20 that was due before you enrolled in Math 20; your final grade in Math 20 will be computed using the work turned in during the rest of the quarter. In particular, when necessary, the weight of the first midterm will be made up by increasing the weights of the pre-quizzes, homework, second midterm, and final exam proportionally to their original weight in Math 20. Note that Math 20 does not have a discussion section. Please see the Math 20 course website for more details on that course, and please contact the Math 20 instructor listed there if you have additional questions.

To ensure that you can receive the signature of the Math 20 instructor in time for the UAR deadline listed above, you must email the Math 20 instructor for permission by 5:00pm on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015. In your email, you must include the following:

  • Your full name
  • The Math 20 lecture you wish to enroll in. To choose your lecture, you can visit the Math 20 course website for a list of lectures offered, along with the lecturer contact information. Please note that by the fifth week some of the lectures might be full; if possible note a second choice in case your first-choice lecture is full and otherwise state clearly that this is the only time slot you are able to attend. Make sure to send your email to the instructor of your first-choice lecture.
  • Your SUNetID (for example "gocard12") and your student ID number (for example "05555555")

Discussion Sections

Enrollment in discussion sections is done via Coursework. Please log in today and sign up for a section. Failure to do so will mean your grades will not be recorded properly. You can find times and locations listed below, under each TA.


  • Dr. Robert J. Lemke Oliver
    Office: 380-383a
    Email: rjlo(at)stanford(dot)edu
    Office Hours: TWTh 4-5, and by appointment

  • Peter Diao
    (ACE Teaching Assistant)
    Office: 380-381J
    Email: pdiao(at)math(dot)stanford(dot)edu
    • (ACE) 42A-02, 1:30-3:20 TTh, 380-381U

  • Evita Nestoridi
    (Teaching Assistant)
    Office: 380-381D
    Email: evnestor(at)math(dot)stanford(dot)edu
    • 42-03, 9:30-10:20 TTh, 380-380Y
    • 42-04, 10:30-11:20 TTh, 320-106

  • Jesse Silliman
    (Teaching Assistant)
    Office: 380-384M
    Email: silliman(at)stanford(dot)edu
    • 42-05, 11:30-12:20 TTh, 380-380C
    • 42-06, 12:30-1:20 TTh, 380-380W


Single Variable Calculus: Concepts and Contexts, 4th edition, by James Stewart. Most homework exercises and reading assignments are taken from the book, so you should have a copy. Contact your instructor if you cannot find a copy of this book in the bookstore. It is not recommended that you use a copy of a different edition, since the homework problems will come from the 4th edition and the numbering may be different.

For your convenience the textbook is available for purchase at the Stanford bookstore. However, this is a pretty standard textbook and you might be able to find it elsewhere.


Your grade will be based on the following components:

  • Homework: 15%
  • Midterm Exam 1: 25%
  • Midterm Exam 2: 25%
  • Final Exam: 35%

There are no predetermined numerical cutoffs for letter grades.

Throughout the quarter your grades will be posted on CourseWork. It is your responsibility to periodically check that there have been no errors entering your scores into the system.


There will be weekly homework posted on the Homework page. The discussion problems will not be collected; however they are an important part of learning calculus and you should solve most of them every week.

Your solutions to the assigned homework will be graded and returned to you. Your work on the assigned problem will be graded on clarity of exposition as well as correctness.

Homework will be typically be due in discussion on Tuesdays. We will drop your lowest homework score from your total score at the end of the quarter when computing your final grade. Late homework will be accepted only under very exceptional circumstances; the purpose of the dropped homework score is exactly to account for the less exceptional circumstances when you are unable to hand in your homework on time.

Your homework must be stapled and have your full name. Otherwise, you will receive a score of zero on this homework. This is a firm policy; no amount of complaining or arguing will give you back your points.


There will be two midterm exams and a university scheduled final exam. Most of the problems on the exams will be similar to the problems in the weekly homework, but there will always one or two harder problems. The material covered by each exam is given by the reading assignments and homework, including the discussion problems. All exams for Math 42 this quarter are closed-book, closed-notes, with no calculators or other electronic aids permitted. Individual exams will be neither curved nor scaled.

The midterm dates are given below; it is your responsibility to verify right now that those days work for you. Please contact your instructor as soon as possible if you will not be able to attend one of the midterms. In any case, if you need to reschedule the exam you must do so no later than two weeks before the exam. The final exam cannot be rescheduled, per university policy.

If an emergency occurs and you need to miss an exam, contact your instructor as soon as possible.

  • Midterm 1: Tuesday, October 13, around 7 PM (exact time and location TBA)
  • Midterm 2: Tuesday, November 3, around 7 PM (exact time and location TBA)
  • Final exam: Monday, December 7, 7:00pm - 10:00pm (location TBA)


If you are an athelete and will be traveling for events, please provide your instructors (both Dr. Lemke Oliver and your TA) with your travel schedule as soon as possible. If you will be traveling when homework is collected, it is your responsibility to arrange for someone to turn in your assignment. If you will be traveling during one of the exam days, you must also contact the instructor at least one week in advance so that appropriate accommodations can be made. Failure to do so might mean that appropriate accommodations cannot be made.

OAE Accommodations

If you have OAE accommodations, please let your instructors know as soon as possible. Contact the instructor at least one week in advance of exams so that appropriate accommodations can be made.

Other important policies

  • Extra credit assignments: Occasionally students ask for extra credit in order to improve their grade. While we can recommend additional practice problems, we cannot offer them for credit as it would be unfair to the entire class if only a small number of students were allowed a chance to improve their grade. If you become worried about your understanding and grade in the course, please see your instructor as soon as possible for advice.
  • Handing in other students' papers: Sometimes it is necessary to have a friend hand in a homework assignment for you. Please note however that if your friend forgets, hands in the paper late or in the wrong location, then the late assignment cannot be accepted.
  • Calculator policy: Calculators are not used in a systematic way in Math 42. Calculators are not allowed or needed on any of the exams. Occasionally, homework problems may call for the use of a scientific or graphing calculator, and it is fine to use them for this purpose. You may also use a calculator to check your work on homework, but not in lieu of writing out full solutions by hand.
  • Honor code policy: By math department policy, any student found to be in violation of the Honor Code on any assignment or exam in this course will receive a final course letter grade of NP.

Fall 2015 -- Department of Mathematics, Stanford University
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