Joseph M. Mahaffy SDSU
Math 124: Calculus for the Life Sciences Fall 2014
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Course Information for Math 124

Course Description

This course develops basic concepts of calculus with life science applications. Topics include differential and integral calculus and an introduction to elementary differential equations all connected to biological problems. Computer skills are developed and applied to more complex biological models. This class is not open to students with credit in Math 121 and 122 or Math 150. This course is required for biology majors, and it develops the quantitative skills in those students. For GE students, it provides interdisciplinary studies connecting mathematics and biology with a strong technological component.

Details of the course and timelines are available on the HW Assignment page.

Faculty Teaching Math 124 - Fall 2014

Joseph Mahaffy
Professor, Biomathematics
Lectures: 12:30-13:45 TTh in GMCS 333 Office phone: 619-594-3743
Office Hours: TTh 9:15-10, 1:45-3 Fax: 619-594-6746
Office location: GMCS 593 E-mail:
Kimy Gutstein
Graduate Assistant
Lab: Friday in GMCS 421 Office phone: 619-594-xxxx
Office Hours: TTh 11-12:30 in GMCS 421 Fax: 619-594-6746
Office location: GMCS 421 E-mail:


  • Successful Completion of ELM Exam
  • Good knowledge of High School Algebra
  • Reasonable score on Algebra Self-Test – WeBWorK.
    • Students are given an assignment for self-assessing their preparation for the course.


Joseph Mahaffy and Alexandra Chavez-Ross, Calculus: A Modeling approach for the Life Sciences (Volumes 1 and 2), Pearson Custom Publishing, 2009.

Lecture Notes are available online.

A Lab Manual is being developed with much of the first part completed and online.

Course Assessment and Grading

  • Lecture Material is 70% of grade:
    • Lecture participation (I>Clicker) (8% of Lecture grade)
      • 50% of participation grade is answering 75% of posed questions
      • 50% of participation grade is based on correct answers of select questions
      • Two lowest scores are dropped over the semester
    • Homework with WeBWorK (18% of Lecture grade)
    • Exams and Final ((74% of Lecture grade))
      • Scientific Calculator only - Exams and Final
      • One 3x5 notecard for Exams and three 3x5 notecards for Final
  • Lab Work is 30% of grade:
    • 13-14 Lab assignments - Lowest Lab score is dropped
    • Lab attendance is mandatory (unless you receive an excused absence)
    • 3 Lab Quizzes worth twice a regular Lab assignment
      • Open notes, Computer (except email), No Cell Phones

The Syllabus has details on course policies.

Tutoring: The Math Department may offer free tutoring depending on funding. Any tutoring information will be posted on the HW Assignment page.

For questions concerning the webpage contact Joseph Mahaffy.



Copyright © 2014 Joseph M. Mahaffy.