Getting Started in Math and Science

In our increasingly technological society, a solid grounding in quantitative methods, mathematics, and natural and physical sciences is an essential component of a liberal arts education.

All Wellesley students do academic work in these areas, whether their ultimate goal includes the study of medicine, a career in technology, or pursuit of their love of art and music. Consider taking a course in these areas in your first semester, as a way to engage with these important subject areas.

Finding the right first course to take can be especially important in these fields, where understanding fundamental principles explored in introductory courses is critical to success in subsequent upper-level courses. Placement and Exemption Exams can be especially useful here. All students must take the mandatory online Math placement survey by July 15, which indicates their appropriate placement in the sequence of calculus courses. All students will take the Quantitative Reasoning Skills Assessment during orientation, which will indicate the appropriate placement in courses using statistics and other applications of quantitative methods. Students coming to Wellesley with strong backgrounds in Chemistry or Physics can choose to take the exams in these areas, which will indicate whether they place into or are exempted from Chemistry 120, or are exempted from Physics 107 or Physics 108; these exams are offered during Orientation.

Each department posts information about getting the right start in these fields, which you can find by following the links below (and note that these departments offer strong starting points for many of our science-oriented interdisciplinary programs, including Biological Chemistry, Environmental Studies, and Neuroscience):

Astronomy and Astrophysics



Computer Science





Quantitative Reasoning

Pre-Med: plan to attend the pre-med overview meeting during Orientation, and check out general information about health professions here.