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MATH 20C FA20 C (Swanson)


INSTRUCTOR:   Josh Swanson

TITLE:   Calculus and Analytic Geometry for Science and Engineering


Vector geometry, vector functions and their derivatives. Partial differentiation. Maxima and minima. Double integration.


The official course text is Vector Calculus, sixth edition, by Jerrold E. Marsden and Anthony J. Tromba, published by W. H. Freeman and Company, 2012. The lectures refer to Marsden and Tromba. However, UCSD is transitioning to the Achieve homework system, which is based on Calculus: Early Transcendentals, fourth edition, by Jon Rogawski, Colin Adams, and Robert Franzosa. You will need an access code for Achieve to do the homework. No matter how you get Achieve access, it will include digital versions of both Rogawski and Marsden & Tromba.

You have three options for obtaining the textbook and Achieve access:

  1. Purchase Achieve access only through the Macmillan store for $105.99. The course ID is gj2gta. This is the cheapest option.
  2. Purchase a print copy of Marsden and Tromba with Achieve access for $130.99 through the Macmillan store. The course ID is gj2gta.
  3. Purchase a print copy of Marsden and Tromba with Achieve access for $140 through the UCSD bookstore. This is the most expensive option.
Detailed instructions for the Macmillan store options have been provided by Macmillan. I know of no reason to use the UCSD bookstore option.

You will access Achieve through the Macmillan Learning link on Canvas. The first homework will be posted on Monday, October 5th and will be due on Friday, October 16th at 11:59pm.


Lectures will be delivered asynchronously on Canvas. They will be posted by the scheduled lecture time, 11:00-11:50a.m. MWF. Since this course typically includes two midterms taken during lecture, two lectures will be skipped; see the calendar.

Each lecture has a corresponding Canvas Quiz where you will submit a brief ~50 word summary of that lecture. The summaries will be graded on completion and will be due one week after the lecture was given. You may summarize the key points in the lecture, you may mention a specific point that caused you confusion, etc., so long as you clearly engage with the ideas presented.


Discussion sections will be held remotely over Zoom according to the Schedule of Classes. See the Zoom LTI Pro tab on Canvas for access links.


Office hours will be held remotely over Zoom. See the Zoom LTI Pro tab on Canvas for the schedule and access links.


We will have two different kinds of homework assignments: online homework which will be graded and written homework which will not be collected or graded.


We will have 6 quizzes during the quarter. Your lowest quiz will be dropped (even if it is 0). Each of your top 5 quizzes will contribute 12% of your final grade. Quizzes will be conducted online through GradeScope in two sessions:

Detailed procedures will be announced early in the quarter, including alternate accommodations for students who are absolutely unable to take quizzes during these times.


The components of the course will be weighted as follows:

The course will be curved. The target median will be 2.9 +/- 0.15. This is slightly above the historical median for Math 109 of 2.75, in consideration of disruptions due to the pandemic. The target grade distribution will be roughly 30% A's/30% B's/30% C's/10% D's/F's. These are not quotas, they are merely guidelines for what to expect based on the historical performance of many students in this class. I put a lot of thought into assigning final grades, and exact cutoffs will be determined at the end of the quarter on a student-by-student basis.

I typically use difficult exams and heavy curves to assign fair grades. This is unusual in UCSD's math department, but I firmly believe it is in students' best interest. Focus on putting your best effort into the course and have faith that grades will work themselves out.


You are paying quite a lot for my time and the TA's time, so take advantage of it! That includes watching lecture, attending discussion section, and attending office hours.


We will use Piazza for class announcements and discussions.

Post on Piazza whenever you're confused about homework, the lecture, the textbook, course logistics, or anything relevant to the course. Do not let yourself be silenced by the fear of looking stupid. Your classmates, the TA's, and I will answer. You have the option of posting anonymously to classmates, though I encourage you to post as yourself to foster a sense of community with your classmates.

You are very strongly encouraged to post messages on Piazza instead of emailing me or the TA's directly. Private posts can be made if needed.


Reading the sections of the textbook corresponding to the lectures and assigned homework exercises is considered to be part of each homework assignment.


We will use GradeScope to handle quizzes. Regrade requests are for when the rubric has been marked incorrectly. They are not for arguing with the rubric.


Help is available from me and the TA's during office hours. I also recommend the following resources:


It is important to me personally and the University generally to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. Students with special needs or disabilities must provide the instructor with an Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) in the first week of class, or as soon as possible if the situation arises later. Arrangements for UCSD Athletics teams, documented medical emergencies, etc., must be requested with appropriate documentation as soon as possible.


Cheating will not be tolerated. See the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship.