Mathematics Requirements by Major

 This information is designed to help students who participate in the Early Mathematics Placement Tool (EMPT) program for high school juniors to interpret and assess their test scores in relation to requirements at University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses.

The score report, which each student receives, indicates the level at which the student would likely start, if he or she were to take a mathematics course right now, at one of the University of Wisconsin System or Wisconsin Technical College System campuses.  The descriprions of the levels are provided for each odd number scale point.  Students placing at an even numbered scale point have skills that fall between those provided for the points immediately above and below it.

A broad description of the Early Mathematics Placement Tool levels appears below. How the levels are defined in terms of actual courses may vary from campus to campus and can be found in the beginning course sequence chart for each campus.

The campus specific information also outlines the minimum mathematics requirements for specific college majors. Students can find out what mathematics course they are prepared for at this time and how many more mathematics courses they would need to fulfill requirements of a particular institution or major program.

With this information, students will have a chance to improve their mathematics preparation in high school by taking an appropriate mathematics course in their senior year. A mathematics teacher or counselor can assist students in interpreting the EMPT results as related to students’ college aspirations and suggest an appropriate mathematics course to bridge any gaps in their mathematics preparation. Even if students are right on track in their mathematics preparation, they should enroll in a mathematics class in their senior year, because mathematics skills tend to become rusty if not continuously practiced.

Adequate mathematics preparation prior to entering college saves a student both time and money. A student taking high school level courses at college must pay tuition, but does not receive credits which count towards a college degree. Such a student thereby extends the time it takes to finish college with a degree.

Please note that both mathematics curricula and majors requirements are continually reviewed by campuses and thus the information contained in this booklet is fluid. Students should always check with their intended campus prior to enrolling for the most up-to-date information.

The UW System Mathematics Placement Test is required of students entering a UW institution. It is similar to the EMPT but somewhat longer. Hopefully, for students taking a college preparatory mathematics course in their senior year, the UW Mathematics Placement Test scores will be higher than the EMPT scores. But they could turn out lower if students do not take such a mathematics course.

Description of Early Mathematics Placement Tool Levels


Level 1

Students at Level 1 have a weakness in basic mathematics skills and need to commit to a great deal of preparation in order to be ready for college-level mathematics. The student will start the college mathematics course sequence at the lowest level and will start with a course which does not carry degree credit.

Level 2

Level 3

Students at Level 3 demonstrate skills in basic mathematics, but have weaknesses in algebra.  Students at this level need to commit to further algebra preparation in order to be ready for college-level mathematics.  If preparation is not undertaken in high school, the student will most likely start the college mathematics course sequence at a low level and does not carry degree credit.

Level 4

Level 5

Students at Level 5 have basic algebra skills and are usually ready for a college algebra course. Further strengthening of these skills is usually required for most college and university programs.

Level 6

Level 7

Students at Level 7 have the algebra skills to take courses at the pre-calculus level, but need to develop better algebra and trigonometry skills to take calculus.

Level 8

Level 9

Students at Level 9 have the skills required for the calculus sequence.

NOTE: Not all UW System or WTCS campuses have courses at all levels.


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