Math 170: Calculus for the Life Sciences

Course Prerequisite(s)

One of:

Course Description

Introduction to calculus with applications to the life sciences, mathematical modeling, differentiation, integration and applications

Calculus is a beautiful and venerable subject, whose main aim is to understand the properties of functions, and how they can be used to describe and predict the behavior of various physical systems. The prominence and importance of such study reaches far beyond the pure mathematical endeavor into numerous applications, among others in engineering, natural sciences, and economics.​_

Credit Awarded

4 hours (some exceptions noted below)

Prior credit in MATH 165 or MATH 180 will be lost with subsequent completion of MATH 170.

Course Materials


Students will need the MyMathLab access code. The access code comes with an electronic version of the book, but one is also welcome to purchase the hard copy of the textbook. Textbook and access code can be purchased separately or together.

The textbook is Calculus: Early Transcendentals by William Briggs and Lyle Cochran, published by Addison-Wesley.

A custom UIC edition of the textbook is available in an unbound, looseleaf, 3-ring binder design.

The course will cover chapters 2 through 5 in Math 170. A brief description of the material covered each week is given in the weekly schedule below.


The use of any electronic devices with computing capabilities is prohibited during exams and quizzes.

Resources and Material

Course Schedule

The following is a typical 15-week Fall or Spring semester schedule for MATH 170. During the Summer sessions, the schedule is condensed into 8 weeks.
Sections Topics
Week 1
Sec. 2.1-2.3
Limits: Introduction, Computation
Diagnostic Exam
Week 2
Sec 2.3-2.5
More Limits, Squeeze Theorem, Infinite Limits and Limits at Infinity
Week 3
Sec 2.6, 3.1
Continuity, Introduction to Derivatives
Week 4
Sec 3.2-3.4
Derivatives: Basic Rules, Product/Quotient Rules
Week 5
Sec 3.5-3.6
Derivatives: Trig Functions, Review & Midterm 1, Chain Rule
Week 6
Sec 3.7-3.9
Derivatives: Chain Rule, Implicit Differentiation, Log/Exponential
Week 7
Sec 3.10-4.1
Derivatives: Inverse Trigonometric Functions, Related Rates, Extrema
Week 8
Sec 4.2-4.3
Monotonicity, Concavity, Graphing Functions
Week 9
Sec 4.3-4.4
More Graphing, Review & Midterm 2, Optimization
Week 10
Optimization, Linear Approximation, the Mean Value Theorem
Week 11
Sec 4.7, 4.9
L'Hopital's Rule, Antiderivatices
Week 12
Sec 5.1-5.2
Definite Integrals
Week 13
Sec 5.2-5.3
Definite Integrals, Fundamental Theorem of Calculus
Week 14
Sec 5.4-5.5
Applications and Substitution
Week 15
5.5, Review
More Substitution and Review
Week 16
(Finals' Week)
Final Exam