Math Camp

Need some help with your math skills? We have a course for you!

Math Camp is an ungraded refresher course to help you brush up on your mathematics skills prior to your first semester at O'Neill—this course is required for you if denoted on your admissions letter.

Incoming master’s students are a diverse group on many levels, including their experience and comfort with math. Some have had relatively little quantitative coursework, and for others, it may have been a few years since you have taken a math class.  Whether you want to increase your comfort level, advance your skills, or just help remembering how to use what you once knew, we offer two Math Camps with varying content to help incoming students regain and build their confidence.

And here is a bonus for Math Camp attendees: You get a sneak peak of life at O'Neill!  You will get to know your professors before the semester begins,  gain experience with some of the types of issues you will tackle in your courses, meet the staff who will ease your way through the program, and get a jumpstart on learning about life in Bloomington.  Most importantly, you will meet some of your classmates!

We offer two sessions of Math Camp to help you advance your mathematical knowledge:

If math is an uncomfortable topic or a distant memory, Math Camp is for you. We offer a safe environment in which to explore and develop basic concepts in math. We will start with simple algebra and discuss how to execute the basic operations, set up and solve simultaneous equations, find a slope, interpret graphs, and factor functions. This course is open to all master's students, particularly those interested in the various management concentrations. However, we welcome all students who think a basic mathematics review course would be helpful prior to beginning a master’s program at O'Neill!

This advanced version of Math Camp is for students who have already taken at least one semester of calculus. It assumes an understanding of algebra and geometry, providing a quick review of these topics before moving on to more advanced topics in calculus and applications. This course is open to all master's students: it may be particularly useful to those who will enroll in the more quantitative concentrations such as Policy Analysis, Energy, Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Management, and the MSES concentrations.  

Ask about your Math Camp admission status

Math Camp topics

During the course of Math Camp, you will learn the following concepts, depending on whether you choose Math Camp or Advanced Math Camp:

  • Polynomials (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing)
  • Percent change
  • Summation
  • Factoring
  • Solving linear and quadratic equations
  • Solving systems of equations
  • Solving inequalities
  • Functions (linear, quadratic, polynomial)
  • Graphing Functions
  • Logarithmic and exponential functions
  • Derivatives
  • Rules of differentiation
  • Higher order derivatives
  • Application of derivatives
  • Integration (indefinite and definite)
  • Rules of integration
  • Word Problems
  • Application problems
  • Solving equations
  • Solving simultaneous equations
  • Functions (linear, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic)
  • Review of trigonometry
  • Unit analysis
  • Percent change
  • Time value of money
  • Limits
  • Probability and statistics
  • Overview of mathematical software
  • Preview of differentials
  • Differentiation
  • Rules of differentiation
  • Applications for derivatives
  • Interpreting higher order derivatives
  • Riemann sums
  • Integration (indefinite and definite)
  • Rules for integrals
  • Applications for integrals
  • Numerical integration
  • Partial derivatives
  • Preview of differential equations
  • O'Neill applications for calculus

Which Math Camp do I choose?

The two Math Camp programs are designed specifically to help you prepare for the quantitative skills you will need in many courses at O'Neill. Whichever Math Camp you choose, it will be an intense week concentrating on practical quantitative skills. The emphasis will be on tools you can use—and having fun!

Math Camp Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding Math Camp. 

Q. As an MPA-MSES dual student, am I required to take Advanced Math Camp?

You have the option of taking Math Camp or Advanced Math Camp as a dual degree student. We recommend that students who are not as familiar with calculus concepts participate in Math Camp. If you feel that you are well versed in calculus and need a review, Advanced Math Camp is for you!

Q. I am not familiar with the statistics concepts that are found in the syllabus. Could I get study material online to prepare before I get to the Math Camp?

We will be posting a pre-Math Camp review in Canvas for those of you who want to review concepts prior to Math Camp!

Q. Are there any specific items we should bring to Math Camp?

We will have all of the materials here for you! All you will need to bring is a pen or pencil and a scientific calculator if you have one. A scientific calculator is strongly recommended.

Q. It's been about four years since I've last had a calculus class, but I have taken it. Which course would you say fits that background?

The advanced course covers calculus concepts in more detail, while the other course is mostly focused on a linear algebra review.

Q. How do we successfully complete Math Camp? Is there going to be a test at the end of Math Camp?

There is not a test. You will have daily homework to help through the lessons, but nothing is graded.

Q. How will Math Camp apply to our first semester coursework in practical terms? As we are refreshed on concepts in Math Camp, how will they come into play in the first semester statistics course?

Having a better grip on math (calculus and algebra) will help you understand concepts in any quantitative course at O'Neill (statistics, economics, finances, sciences). Understanding why you use certain formulas in modeling and understanding the proofs gives you a better understanding of what those formulas and models are really explaining. Classes vary with their demand for quantitative skills, but understanding the math will be beneficial.

Q. How much time, on average, outside of the class should we plan on working on the daily assignments?

It depends. The assignments are designed to help you, but they are not graded. I spent more time on some days than others, depending on my understanding of the content. If I understood the concepts I spent less time on the assignments.

Q. To get an idea of what is expected, is Math Camp  more about reviewing math concepts or learning new information?

The information will be new for some and will be review for others. It had been so long for me that much of the review felt like new material again.

Q. What would you say is the most time you spent working on assignments and least? I'm just trying to think through how to allocate my time during that week.

If I remember correctly, I spent 1-2 hours tops on the assignments. The TA's are helpful after class, and they will be willing to help you through the assignments if you have questions.

Q. If we don’t understand a particular concept taught during Math Camp and we need a bit of attention in that particular topic, how do we go about seeking help?

First, go to the office hours of the TA during the week. Also you can ask the instructor. If you are still struggling, they will point you in the direction of good resources for the particular topic you're struggling with.

Q. How soon do we need to make the decision about whether to attend the "Math Camp" or "Advanced Math Camp" version of Math Camp and how do we go about indicating that choice to O'Neill?

You should've received an email with a survey to indicate your math camp preference. The deadline to register is July 1, 2019.

Q. How many students attend Math Camp?

Typically approximately 50% of our incoming class will attend Math Camp each year!

Q. Will Math Camp consist of one continuous 5 hour session each day?

Math Camp will be held from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. each day. However, there will be breaks and faculty lectures integrated throughout the session each day.

Q. Will we be using any statistical programs during Math Camp? Am I expected to know how to use certain programs ahead of time?

Statistical software will not be used during Math Camp.

Q. Will the Advanced Math Camp be more appropriate for specific concentrations? If so, what are those concentrations?

Advanced Math Camp is open to MPA, MSES, and MPA-MSES students. Many students beginning the MSES and MPA-MSES who plan on pursuing a more science-related concentration will attend the Advanced Math Camp. However, students who are thinking of pursuing the more quantitative concentrations under the MPA (i.e. Policy Analysis, Energy, or Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Management) may also consider attending the Advanced Math Camp.

Please feel free to email us at with any additional questions you may have about Math Camp!