Who should be taking the honors versions of our mathematics courses?A lot of questions have come up among individuals about the role of the honors versions of our service courses, and who is really qualified to take them. We have updated our advice page:
Before the change, the advice page recommended the honors version of multivariable calculus, 110.211 Honors Multivariable Calculus, to anyone with a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement BC-level exam. While this score certainly opens up access to the course, really the focus and intent of the course is different from that of the regular version 110.202 Calculus III.
The honors version, like all of our honors versions, is really a course in "mathematics taught the way mathematicians would really like to teach mathematics" (my quote). It is a highly theoretic versions of the standard curriculum, focusing to a large extent, on the underlying theory of a topic and focusing less on the applications and techniques. It is a great course for budding mathematics majors and those who aspire to learn mathematics in a more formal way. In fact, it is a great course to use as a bridge to higher level mathematics, and we encourage our mathematics majors to take the honors versions of all of the courses where we offer such a version.
On the other hand, the honors versions of our courses are not really for someone who simply wants to have the title "honors" on their transcript. Nor are they for students who are not interested in gaining a deep understanding of why topics like calculus are so foundational to higher level understanding of all mathematical modeling.
We have found that many students were jumping directly into this course (and the other honors courses) and having to reassess their choice after a couple of weeks into the semester. Many of these students found themselves switching "down" to the regular version of the course. Not a good way to start one's career here at Hopkins, no?
With this new advice page, we hope to better inform students of our intent, as well our offerings in courses. We always welcome any and ALL commentary of our curriculum, and strongly encourage questions about our programs.
And for ALL of the incoming freshmen out there, welcome to Hopkins. My door is always open!