Math Placement

Math placement at UM depends on two criteria:  a student’s declared major and placement level.  Many incoming freshmen (and transfer students still needing to meet their math requirement) will need to take a math placement exam before registering for a math course at The University of Montana. The University has chosen to use ALEKS, a web-based, artificial intelligence testing and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately zero in on the strengths and any weaknesses in math, determining a placement level report for you. You and your advisor will use your ALEKS score and/or other placement criteria to help determine the most appropriate math course(s) for you to register for.  The diagram below provides an overview of math placement and course sequencing at UM.

Math placement and sequencing diagram

If you are majoring in one of the following programs, please click the button below for more information on your math placement criteria.  Please read ALL of the information after clicking the button:  

Accounting Anthropology Art Classics
Communication Studies Communicative Sciences and Disorders Dance East Asian Studies
English Enviromental Studies Finance French
Geography German Health and Human Performance History
History/Political Science International Business Japanese Journalism
Liberal Studies Management Management and Information Systems Marketing
Media Arts Music Native American Studies Philosophy
Political Science Pre-Nursing Psychology Radio-Television Production
Russian Social Work Sociology Spanish
Theatre Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies

UM uses ACT and SAT scores to determine students’ placement into math courses for the above majors.  If students don’t meet the minimum scores required to place into college-level courses (courses 100-level or higher), they have the option of taking the ALEKS math placement exam to try to place into college level courses.  Students without minimum ACT or SAT test scores who choose not to take the ALEKS math placement exam will be required to enroll in a developmental course (below 100-level) in order to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in college-level math courses. 

The minimum ACT mathematics portion score required to place into college level math courses for the above majors is 22 and the minimum SAT mathematics portion score is 520.  For students in the above majors who bring in these minimum scores or higher, the ALEKS math placement exam requirement is waived. 

The ALEKS math placement exam requirement will also be waived for students in the above majors if one of the following conditions is met:

  • By earning a score of 3 or above on the AP Calculus AB or BC exam or AP Statistics exam
  • By earning a score of 4 or above on the IB Mathematics HL exam
  • By earning a score of 50 or above on the CLEP subject examinations in College Algebra, College Algebra-Trigonometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus or Calculus
  • By successfully completing a college-level math course while enrolled in either a high school dual enrollment program, a high school pilot program, or while enrolled at another college or university prior to a student’s transfer to UM.  

If you are majoring in one of the following programs, please click the button below for more information on your math placement criteria.  Please read ALL of the information after clicking the button:  

Biochemistry Biology Chemistry Computer Science
Computer Science/Mathematical Sciences Ecological Restoration Forestry Geosciences
Mathematics Medical Technology Microbiology Neuroscience
Pre-Engineering Physics Pre-Medical Sciences Pre-Pharmacy
Pre-Education Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management Resource Conservation Wildlife Biology

Students in the above majors will need to take the ALEKS math placement exam unless one of the following conditions is met:

  • By earning a score of 3 or above on the AP Calculus AB or BC exam or AP Statistics exam
  • By earning a score of 4 or above on the IB Mathematics HL exam
  • By earning a score of 50 or above on the CLEP subject examinations in College Algebra, College Algebra-Trigonometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus or Calculus
  • By successfully completing a college-level math course while enrolled in either a high school dual enrollment program, a high school pilot program, or while enrolled at another college or university prior to a student’s transfer to UM. 

*Check with an academic advisor in your major department to confirm the appropriate math course(s) for you.  The ALEKS exam may be required in some situations even if one or more of the above conditions are met.