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Mathematics for Students in Two-Year Terminal Programs
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Position Statement

Mathematics for Students in Two-Year Terminal Programs

The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) recognizes that a substantial number of students attending two-year colleges are enrolled in terminal programs tied to specific career paths. Mathematics courses required for these students are generally the last formal exposure to our discipline. As stated in the preface of AMATYC’s Crossroads, “The career aspirations of some of these students are such that requirements for graduation and for job placement can be satisfied through the study of mathematics below the level of calculus.” AMATYC is uniquely positioned to make a statement on this issue since it is the national organization dealing with the mathematics taught to these targeted students.

AMATYC takes the position that mathematics courses specifically designed to meet the degree requirements for students enrolled in two-year terminal programs should possess the following attributes:

  • Content should emphasize occupational mathematics skills directly related to the knowledge base needed for students entering the workforce. Traditional intermediate and college algebra courses generally do not meet this goal as they are designed to be prerequisites for the calculus sequence.
  •  For discipline-specific mathematics courses, faculty from pertinent disciplines should be consulted to ensure that topics and procedures are appropriately contextualized.
  •  Generalized courses for terminal degree programs (e.g., Industrial Mathematics, Mathematics for Health Sciences, etc.) should include projects and applied problems that are authentic in nature and reflective of the students’ majors.
  •  While problem solving and learning how to apply mathematical concepts are essential, mathematical integrity must also be preserved. Content and pedagogy need to promote critical thinking, logic, communication, and other higher-thinking skills that go beyond algorithmic procedures. To meet this expectation, courses specifically designed to meet degree requirements should be above the Foundation level (as defined in Crossroads).
  •  Courses should be developed by full-time faculty who do the initial background work to tap into the occupational resources required. Courses also need to be consistently monitored to ensure the content remains valid and appropriate.


American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) (1995). Crossroads in Mathematics: Standards for Introductory College Mathematics Before Calculus. Memphis, TN: AMATYC.

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