Advisement Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the Core Curriculum requirement for Math?

The University of New Mexico requires all students to take one core math class. That class may be chosen from:

  • Math 121
  • Math 129
  • Stat 145
  • Math 150, 162, 163, 180, 181, or 215

See your academic advisor to determine where you place!

Q: How do I choose a Core Math Course?

Students must realize that Math 121, Math 129 and Stat 145 all have the Math prerequisite of Math 120 or a score of 22-24 on ACT or 510-560 on SAT. Choose the course that best fits your course of action for studies. If you are a science, engineering, mathematics or pre-med student you will begin with Math 121 and proceed to the higher math courses. If you think you are going to major in something other than Business, Biology, or the Social Sciences you may choose to take Math 129 or Stat 145.

All of the other core courses have prerequisites ranging from Math 121 to Math 150 and 123 for the calculus series and Math 112 for the Math 215 series. Be sure to check the UNM Catalog to find the courses you need for your sequence.

Q: What Does “Prerequisite” Mean?

In order to take a course that has a prerequisite (courses or scores that will enable you to successfully complete the current course) you must have had that prerequisite, tested out of the prerequisite, or scored high enough on your SAT or ACT to place out of the prerequisite.

Therefore, if you have not met the prerequisite, you will be dropped from a class once the prerequisite check is run even if you were able to register for the class initially.

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Q: How do I know if I have the Prerequisite?

Methods are in place that will let you know if you have the prerequisite. The simplest way is that when you try to register for a class you will be told you do not have the prerequisite.

Another way is for you to check the catalog before registering to see whether or not you do have the prerequisites needed.

Q: But I had Calculus in High School, why do I need to start with Algebra?

Many students think that High School calculus will automatically place them in college calculus classes. Remember, your high school record has nothing to do with your placement.

You are placed according to your ACT/SAT scores, AP scores, or placement testing done here at UNM.

Q: My ACT/SAT score puts me in Calculus, why can’t I register?

In order to take the Math sequence of 162, 163 students must have the prerequisite of Math 123—Trigonometry!

Students may take the Trig Compass Placement test to test out of Trig—however, if you do not test out of Trig you will take Math 123 before you will be allowed to register for Math 162.

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Q: What Math Should I take?

Students who only need the core course for Mathematics should take either Math 129 or Stat 145 after completing or testing out of Intermediate Algebra.

Arts & Sciences students may take both Math 129 and Stat 145 to fulfill core and group requirements.

All students who wish to proceed to the engineering tracks or hard sciences (including pre-med) should take the Math 121, 123, 150, 162, 163, 264 Calculus track.

Business, Architecture, and Biology students will take Math 121 and Math 180 with Biology students going on to Math 181.

Q: What Options do I have?

Some students who feel that their ACT/SAT scores are not reflective of their Math ability may take the COMPASS placement test to place into Math. You should be aware that wherever the test places you is where you will begin your Math sequence—this means you could place lower than you were originally placed by your ACT/SAT score.

However, if you are placed into IS-M100, there is nothing lower so taking the test will not change the placement.

Q: I transferred to UNM, how do I know if I have the prerequisite?

Students need to know that although courses do transfer to UNM, they do not automatically transfer as course equivalents. Submit equivalency requests through: Once you have received an equivalency for the course, the hold can be lifted for the prerequisite in the Math Department and you may register for the next level.

Your transfer equivalency will be sent to Admissions and should be reflected on your record in a couple of weeks.

Q: What about a Major in Math or Statistics?

There are five options for a major in Mathematics:

  • Pure Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics of Computation (built in minor in Computer Science)
  • Mathematics of Education

Many students do not realize that there is another major in the Department and that major is in Statistics. Statistics Majors take the same core math courses as Math majors. The upper level courses are in Statistics and lead to interesting careers in Statistics.

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Q: What about a Math or Stat Minor?

For a Math minor a student must have up to Math 264 and then must take four (4) 300 level and above classes.

Important note! If your major requires Math courses those courses may not be used for a minor!

Recommended courses may be used for a minor.

For a Statistics Minor a student must have one year of calculus (either M162 & 163 or M180 & 181), Stat 145, 345, 427, 428, and an additional 3 hours of math or stat in courses numbered 250 and above.

Q: What can I do to prepare before I get to UNM?

As a high school student you need to do several things to prepare for your College Math courses:

  • First, take all the math courses offered for the full four years, including calculus and trigonometry if you plan a science or engineering based career.
  • Study and prepare for your ACT/SAT—the Math Department uses your most recent test scores, not your highest, so do not “blow off” your second exam.

Q: What do I do when I get to UNM?

If you are unsure about your math prerequisites or where to begin, please visit the Math Department immediately and talk to the Coordinator, Program Advisement for advisement on how to proceed. You will be advised what courses to take or whether a COMPASS test would be beneficial. You can also learn what track you will take and where to start for successful completion of all your math courses.

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For any other information about the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, please contact the following:

Ana Parra Lombard--- Coordinator, Program Advisement, (505) 277-5250 or