5. Computational Skills/Mathematics

__All applicants must complete a one year mathematics sequence that contains calculus and statistics. Biostatistics is preferred for the statistics portion of the requirement.__

Computational skills are required for contemporary scientific literacy. Although the calculus of derivatives and integration represents important concepts for the precise, quantifiable understanding of dynamic physiological processes and systems, a full year of calculus focusing on the derivation of biologically low-relevance theorems is less important than mastery of more relevant algebraic and trigonometric quantitative skills. Still, to prepare adequately for the quantitative reasoning demands of the contemporary medical curriculum and certain medical specialties, to provide analytic perspective and to appreciate the uncertainties in evaluation of biological systems, students are required to have familiarity with calculus. A broader and more flexible range of requirements is encouraged, however, and, given the importance of statistics for understanding the literature of science and medicine, adequate grounding in statistics is required. Rather than increasing the one year devoted to mathematics preparation, the one-year effort should be more relevant to biology and medicine than the formerly required, traditional, one-year calculus course. Flexibility will be welcome in meeting these requirements (e.g., a semester course in calculus that covers derivatives and integration and a semester course in statistics; a calculus-based physics course and another science course that includes a firm grounding in biostatistics; or, preferably, a unified two-semester course that covers important, biologically relevant concepts in calculus and statistics).

Although a formal year-long course that covers these concepts will meet the mathematics requirement, other innovative approaches (including interdisciplinary courses taught together with biology and biologically relevant physical sciences) that allow students to master these “competencies” are encouraged and will be considered.

Advanced placement calculus credits may satisfy the calculus component of this requirement (Calculus AB and/or Calculus BC). A course in statistics does not satisfy the calculus component of this requirement.