MATH 180: Calculus I




Math 180 is the introductory calculus course in our standard three-semester calculus sequence. As such, its goal is to introduce the study of calculus on the real line, which includes limits, differentiation, and basic integration techniques while also covering applications of said topics.

Calculus is a beautiful and venerable subject, whose main aim is to understand the properties of functions, and how they can be used to describe and predict the behavior of various physical systems. The prominence and importance of such study reaches far beyond the pure mathematical endeavor into numerous applications, among others in engineering, natural sciences, and economics.

Students enter Math 180 from a variety of backgrounds: some of you have taken Pre-Calculus at UIC, some have transferred from other schools, or placed directly into Calculus I following your mathematical studies in high school. Regardless of your background coming in, our goal is to help every one of you succeed, and enjoy yourselves as much as possible in the process!

However, calculus is often a subtle and challenging subject, and experience has taught us (both as students once ourselves, and as educators) that success in Math 180 requires a lot of work, many hours of study and problem solving, and your active involvement in learning, both inside and outside the classroom. We have designed our course with the aim of helping you stay constantly involved with the course and the material, and within easy reach of some of your best resources: your instructor, your teaching assistants, and your colleagues! Working (quite hard!) together, you will find that at the end of the semester you have not only learned the basics of the course, but mastered the concepts, their connections, and many of their possible applications!



Depending on your instructor, you will either need the textbook or a MyMathLab access code. The access code comes with an electronic version of the book, but if your instructors requires the access code, you are welcome to also purchase the hard copy of the textbook. You can purchase the textbook and access code separately or together.

The textbook is Calculus: Early Transcendentals by William Briggs and Lyle Cochran, published by Addison-Wesley.

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A custom UIC edition of the textbook is available in an unbound, looseleaf, 3-ring binder design.

We will cover chapters 2 through 5 in Math 180. A brief description of the material covered each week is given in the weekly schedule below.

You are expected to read the textbook before the lecture of each topic, as indicated on the schedule of homework and reading assignments.

Course Structure

The class contains three hours of lecture on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and two hours of discussion/problem solving on Tuesday and Thursday. Please see your class schedule for specific time and classroom. In addition, your instructor and TA will be available during their office hours. Their office hours can be found under the Sections link above.


Grade of C or better in Math 121 or appropriate performance on the department placement test. The prerequisite is enforced throughout all sections of the course without exceptions. Students that have not met the prerequisite will not be allowed to take the course.


The Math Learning Center (MSLC) is located in SEO 430. It is a spacious and comfortable place to study. Staff will be available during its hours of operation to assist students with Math 180. You should visit the center and get to know different TAs and peer tutors that can provide you with instant help.


Cell Phones

You may not use your phone during lecture or discussion/problem solving sessions for any reason. We ask that you stay focused on the material while attending class. If this becomes a problem, your instructor or teaching assistant will ask you to leave the room.

No Calculators

The use of any electronic devices with computing capabilities is prohibited during exams and quizzes.


Given the variety of students taking the course, it is important to ensure that every one of you has the necessary mathematical background which allows you to fully focus on the wealth of new material which you must learn in Math 180. Therefore your instructor will administer a short (roughly 20-minute) diagnostic exam on Wednesday of the first week of classes. This exam will consist of problems based on topics from basic algebra and pre-calculus that are required for Math 180. It will be graded based on a simple S atisfactory/U nsatisfactory system. The results of the diagnostic exam will not affect or in any way be counted towards your final grade for the course. The grade of U means that your current skills may not be sufficient to continue in Math 180 without substantial difficulties and danger to fail the course, unless you take steps to improve. If you receive a U, you are encouraged to talk to your instructor/advisor to discuss your options. Those may include (re)taking Math 121, enrolling in additional ESP-sections, seeking tutoring help, etc. All these options are subject to availability, so you have to act quickly.


The course grade is based on the following categories with the point values associated to each. Students are expected to be present for all exams. Makeup exams will only be given in case of a verifiable emergency or a formal request by the UIC atheletic department. Do not schedule travel on an exam date.

Attendance 5 points
Quizzes (in lecture) 5 points
Written Homework 20 points
Midterm 1 20 points
Midterm 2 20 points
Final Exam 30 points


80 -- 100 A
65 -- 79 B
55 -- 64 C
40 -- 54 D
0 -- 39 F

There will be no curve for the final grade.



As explained in the course description, your active involvement in learning is essential in order to successfully complete the course! A basic requirement of the course is therefore a serious commitment on your part to attend both the lectures and the discussion/problem sessions.

Attendance in the course will be taken as follows:

In lectures: Attendance will be taken on random days through a pop quiz. There will be a minimum of 14 pop quizzes throughout the semester. The pop quizzes will be 5-10 minutes in length and will be problems chosen by your instructor.

In discussion/problem sessions: The TAs will take attendance in each discussion/problem session.

At the end of the semester, a student who does not have an attendance percentage (in-lecture pop quizzes and discussion/problem sessions combined) of at least 80% will receive an F for the course.

Excused Absence Policy: In order to be excused from attendance, students must inform the instructor and/or TA (as appropriate) in advance (except in cases of emergency), and must provide documentation (for example, a letter from a doctor).


The pop quizzes will be graded by the instructor, and returned in lecture. There will be no make-up quizzes given, but only the largest 80% of quiz grades (rounded up the nearest whole quiz) will be considered when computing the points corresponding to the Quizzes on the final grade. The pop quizzes will be 5-10 minutes in length and will be problems chosen by your instructor. The instructor reserves the right to not accept a quiz from a student who was not present during a significant portion of lecture on that day; in other words, a student cannot walk in for the last 10 minutes and take the quiz and count that as attending class that day.


Homework for the course is assigned in two ways, only one of which will count towards your grade.

Optional (but strongly encouraged!) Homework – If your instructor required you to purchase a MyMathLab code, then the optional problems will be completed in MyMathLab. MyMathLab is a wonderful tool to provide instant feedback to problems that cover the basic material of the course. Your instructor will provide you with a MyMathLab course code where you can enroll in your instructor’s course to practice problems that help you gain an understanding with the basic concepts. The homework in MyMathLab will be graded by MyMathLab but will not count towards your course grade.

If your instructor is not using MyMathLab, then he or she will assign homework problems from the textbook that will help you gain an understanding of the basic material.

Required (Written) Homework – Each week, the MATH 180 coordinator will publish a set of homework problems that are to be turned in during discussion/problem solving sessions. These written problems will (generally) be more challenging than the optional homework problems and will require you to show your full work. You are strongly encouraged to work together with a group of colleagues on these (and any) homework problems, but you must write up the solutions by yourself! The written homework will be submitted to you via your instructor, posted on Blackboard if your instructor uses Blackboard, and the coordinator will post the assignment on the Homework link above.

Some subset of the written homework problems will be chosen from each homework assignment and will be graded by the TAs. It is very important to note that the solutions to the problems will be graded in full, and just an answer will not earn any credit. You should pay a lot of attention to the comments made by your TA on each graded homework, since the midterms and the final exam will be graded in a very similar way.

Homework will be due on the specified date (listed on the homework itself) at the beginning of your discussion class. No late homework will be accepted.

The goal of these written problems is to help you learn how to write mathematics as you will need to do on the midterms and final exam. Solutions to the written homework will be posted online along with grading rubrics for the problems. We will also try to post incorrect solutions to help students learn from their and others’ mistakes. Of course, a policy of anonymity of the work will be strictly adhered to.

Midterms Exams

The midterm exams will be administered in the evenings of Wednesday, February 11 and Wednesday, March 11, both being from 6-8pm. The first midterm will cover material from Sections 2.1-3.5 and the second midterm will cover material from Sections 3.6-4.3.

Final Exam

The final exam will take place on Thursday, May 7 from 1-3pm and will be a cumulative exam.

Models of midterm and final exams can be found by clicking the Exams link above.

With all exams, make-ups will not be given except under extreme circumstances.


It is MSCS policy to assign midterm grades to all students in MATH 180. Midterm grades will follow the same cut-offs as for the final course grade, but with the following contributions

Attendance 10%
Quizzes 10%
Written Homework 40%
Midterm 1 40%

Tips on interpreting your midterm grade can be found at


Here is a brief overview of the material we will cover each week. (See also: detailed schedule and homework list)

1 §2.1-2.3 Limits: Introduction, computation (Diagnostic Exam on Wednesday with results on Friday)
2 §2.3-2.4 MLK Day, squeeze theorem, infinite limits
3 §2.5-3.1 Limits at infinity, continuity, introduction to derivatives
4 §3.2-3.4 Derivatives: basic rules, product/quotient rules
5 §3.5 Physical applications of the derivative, Review & Midterm 1 on Wednesday
6 §3.6-3.8 Derivatives: chain rule, implicit differentiation, log/exponential
7 §3.9-4.1 Derivatives: inverse trigonometric functions, related rates, extrema
8 §4.2-4.3 Monotonicity, concavity, graphing functions
9 §4.3 More graphing, Review & Midterm 2 on Wednesday
10 §4.4-4.6 Optimization, linear approximation
11 §4.7-4.8 L'Hopital's Rule, antiderivatives
12 §5.1-5.2 Definite integrals
13 §5.2-5.3 Definite integrals, Fundamental Theorem of Calculus
14 §5.4-5.5 Applications and Substitution
15 Review Review
16 Final Exam Final Exam on Thursday 1-3pm

Academic Integrity Policy

As an academic community, UIC is committed to providing an environment in which research, learning, and scholarship can flourish and in which all endeavors are guided by academic and professional integrity. All members of the campus community - students, staff, faculty, and administrators - share the responsibility of insuring that these standards are upheld so that such an environment exists. Instances of academic misconduct by students will be handled pursuant to the Student Disciplinary Policy:

Academic Deadlines

Current academic calendar and the list of deadlines can be found at

Disability Policy

The University of Illinois at Chicago is committed to maintaining a barrier-free environment so that students with disabilities can fully access programs, courses, services, and activities at UIC. Students with disabilities who require accommodations for access to and/or participation in this course are welcome, but must be registered with the Disability Resource Center (DRC). You may contact DRC at 312-413-2183 (v) or 312-413-0123 (TTY) and consult the following:

Religious Holidays

Students who wish to observe their religious holidays shall notify the faculty member by the tenth day of the semester of the date when they will be absent unless the religious holiday is observed on or before the tenth day of the semester. In such cases, the student shall notify the faculty member at least five days in advance of the date when he/she will be absent. The faculty member shall make every reasonable effort to honor the request, not penalize the student for missing the class, and if an examination or project is due during the absence, give the student an exam or assignment equivalent to the one completed by those students in attendance. If the student feels aggrieved, he/she may request remedy through the campus grievance procedure.

Grievance Procedures

UIC is committed to the most fundamental principles of academic freedom, equality of opportunity, and human dignity involving students and employees. Freedom from discrimination is a foundation for all decision making at UIC. Students are encouraged to study the University's "Nondiscrimination Statement". Students are also urged to read the document "Public Formal Grievance Procedures". Information on these policies and procedures is available on the University web pages of the Office of Access and Equity: