This page contains general information on the General Education B4 (Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning) requirement. For information on how students in specific majors and specific math placement categories meet this requirement, see What's My First Math Class?.
Entering freshmen are required to complete the GE B4 (Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning) requirement within their first year. (To be precise, all basic subjects [including GE B4] must be completed within the first 30 semester units counted toward the degree.) Depending on the major, either a specific GE B4 course will be required or there may be a choice of courses to select from.
Most students in non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) majors should take either MATH 1000, MATH 1090, EDFN 1090, PHIL 1081 or ESM 1090 (or versions of these courses without built-in support) to fulfill the GE B4 requirement.
- MATH 1000 (Quantitative Reasoning in Today’s World) This is a practical course in which students learn skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Topics include proportional reasoning, probability, statistics, finance, and voting. These topics will feature a diverse host of skills ranging from reading an electric bill, to understanding blood alcohol content, to analyzing a mortgage for a home, to discovering misleading features in statistical studies, and analyzing apportionment for the US House of Representatives.
- MATH 1090 and EDFN 1090 are statistics courses. Students will learn about collecting and summarizing data (descriptive statistics) and also how to draw conclusions from data (inferential statistics). Readily connected to life outside of the classroom, these courses help students become critical consumers of statistics to understand, for example, election statistics and comparisons of drugs. EDFN 1090 has a focus on the health sciences and human services, while MATH 1090 has a more general focus.
- PHIL 1081 (Quantitative Reasoning: Proof and Probability) Students will be introduced to deductive and inductive reasoning, proofs, models, set theory, probability and statistics. The overall aim of the course is to bring students to a level of mathematical aptitude so that, in having completed it, they can interpret, represent, communicate, and analyze quantitatively and rigorously.
- ESM 1090 is the Early Start Math version of MATH 1090 and EDFN 1090.
Each of the above courses includes a 3 unit lecture and a 1 unit built-in support course. They are intended for students in Math Placement Categories III and IV. MATH 1002, MATH 1092, EDFN 1092 and PHIL 1080 are 3 unit versions of these courses without built-in support and are intended for students in Math Placement Categories I and II.
Students in most STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) majors should take precalculus, usually followed by calculus. Depending on the major and Math Placement Category, this course sequence will begin either with ESM 1082, MATH 1081, MATH 1082, or MATH 1040. Any of these courses fulfills the GE B4 requirement for these majors. Biology majors and Exercise Science majors should take MATH 1081 (or MATH 1082), followed by MATH 1085 (Discrete Mathematical Models).
- MATH 1081 (Precalculus: Functions) is the first half of precalculus.
- MATH 1082 (Precalculus: Functions, with support) is intended for students in Math Placement Categories III and IV. It includes a 3 unit lecture that is equivalent to MATH 1081, and a 1 unit built-in support course.
- MATH 1040 (Precalculus) combines the first and second halves of precalculus into a single semester.
- ESM 1082 is the Early Start Math version of MATH 1082 with identical content, that is, it can be used in lieu of MATH 1081 for prerequsite and program requirements.
When students are admitted to Cal State LA, the university looks at a variety of measures to determine their Math Placement Category. These multiple measures include high school math courses, high school grade point averages (GPA); and exam scores from the ACT, SAT, SAT Subject test, or the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). CSU places students into four categories in mathematics.
Math Placement Category I (GE Requirement completed): Students have already fulfilled the GE B4 requirement. Most of the students in Math Placement Category I received a passing score on an AP exam (Calculus AB, BC, or Statistics) and received credit for the corresponding college course. Math Placement Category I students are exempt from Early Start Math.
Math Placement Category II (Academic support course not needed with GE course): Students are ready to take the GE B4 course. Math Placement Category II students are exempt from Early Start Math.
Math Placement Category III (Academic support course required with GE course): Students will take their GE B4 course in their first semester and will be placed into a co-requisite support course. Math Placement Category III students may elect to take Early Start Math in the summer.
Math Placement Category IV (Early Start required, and academic support course required with GE course) Math Placement Category IV students should take Early Start Math in the summer. If the GE B4 requirement is not met in Early Start Math, then the student will take a GE B4 course in the fall semester with a co-requisite support course.
What's my Math Placement Category?
At the bottom of your transcript you should see one of the following:
- Math Placement - Has Fulfilled GE Math Requirement (Cat I)
- Math Placement - Eligible for GE Math Course (Cat II)
- Math Placement - Eligible for Supported GE Math Course (Cat III)
- Math Placement - Eligible for GE Math Crse w/ Supp & ESP (Cat IV)
Your unofficial transcript is available from GET.
Students who are placed into Math Placement Category IV (Academic support course required with GE course) are expected to participate in Early Start Math in the summer before their first fall term. The following courses are available:
ESM 1082 and ESM 0082 Early Start Precalculus: Functions (8 weeks)
ESM 1082 and ESM 0082 are for incoming freshmen who are in majors that require precalculus or calculus. This includes most STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors. The content of ESM 1082 is equivalent to MATH 1081, that is, a standard precalculus class (functions, exponential and logarithmic functions; polynomials and rational functions; systems of linear equations and matrices; sequences and series including arithmetic and geometric series). ESM 1082 can be used in place of MATH 1081 as a prerequisite or as program requirement. Students in ESM 1082 must also enroll in ESM 0082, a co-requisite course designed to provide students with additional math support.
Course Credit: This course meets the Early Start Math requirement. Passing ESM 1082 will confer 3 units of college credit and fulfill the GE Block B4 requirement. ESM 0082 does not carry college credit or count towards the degree.
ESM 1090 and ESM 0090 Early Start Quantitative Reasoning with Statistics (8 weeks)
ESM 1090 and ESM 0090 are for incoming freshmen whose major requires them to take a statistics course to meet GE B4. The content of ESM 1090 is identical to that of MATH 1090 or EDFN 1090. Students in ESM 1090 must also enroll in ESM 0090, a co-requisite course designed to provide students with additional math support.
Course Credit: This course meets the Early Start Math requirement. Passing ESM 1090 will confer 3 units of college credit and fulfill the GE Block B4 requirement. ESM 0090 does not carry college credit or count towards the degree.
You may be able to place into calculus in fall using ALEKS PPL over the summer. ALEKS PPL is an online assessment, preparation and placement system that is free for calculus-bound Cal State LA students.
You qualify for ALEKS PPL if
- You are an incoming freshman, and
- Your major requires calculus (Math 2110 or Math 2045), and
- You would otherwise be taking the precalculus classes, Math 1081 or Math 1040, in fall. (Math Placement Category I or II)
If your major is in the college of engineering (ECST) you will get access to ALEKS PPL though the ECST STEP Program. If your major is not in ECST, you should receive an email from the Mathematics Department early in the summer containing information about registration in ALEKS PPL. For further information, contact the Mathematics Department.
Most transfer students will meet the GE B4 requirement by completing a course at a community college that transfers in as one of Cal State LA's GE B4 courses.