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I did not take Multivariable calculus but Analysis I. Do I still need to take Multivariable calculus? (Ph.D. applicant)


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Hi all. I'm an international student and I obtained my B.S in Statistics degree outside the U.S. In my country, calculus is offered for two classes; one semester for single variable and another for multivariable calculus. In my department, we had a one semester calculus course for stat major which covers single variable calculus and basic multivariable differentiation and integral mainly for probability theory. I took Analysis I and got A+ in this course. I have taken calculus for stat major / Linear Algebra I, II / Analysis I and thought this would be enough for Ph.D application.


However, I am attending a small university in the U.S pursuing a master's degree and my advisor asked me why I have not taken any calculus class yet. I explained him that I took one semester calculus but it seemed like it confused him a little bit. (I've heard that for some big state universities where they have a lot of international students, the professors are more aware of that some countries only offer calculus throughout two semesters). I have never had any issue studying probability with my calculus knowledge, in fact, I aced in a probability course. However, when I looked at the syllabus for multivariate calculus, I noticed that the course actually covers a lot more than I studied from my undergraduate (such as Lagrange Multipliers and Gradient Vectors)


In this case, do I need to take multivariate calculus? If I need to take this course, I would like to audit instead of getting credits, but is this a good idea? because I won't have multivariate calculus on my transcript. In addition, I am planning to take graduate-level real analysis as well. I've sometimes heard that taking advanced classes might compensate undergraduate level courses. I am also planning to apply for a few stat Ph.D programs and mostly biostat Ph.D programs. Any advice will be very appreciated! 

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  • statats changed the title to I did not take Multivariable calculus but Analysis I. Do I still need to take Multivariable calculus? (Ph.D. applicant)

I didn't take multivariable calculus when applying last year and didn't have trouble getting into programs.

I think having more advanced classes should make up for not having an intro class like multivariate, but that's just my guess and maybe you should take it to be on the safe side? I'm not too certain what the correct move is.

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I don't think it will be an issue at most places as long as you can do multivariable calc, but I did have a strange conversation with Michigan biostatistics once where they wanted to make sure I took a multivariable calc class before admitting me, even though I was a math major.

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I just think the Michigan people were very rule-focused and strict about the requirement.  Clearly someone who has taken multiple semesters of analysis can handle calculus, so I think most departments wouldn't notice.  I am just guessing though.

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