Course coordinator 

Heather Bolles

Catalog description

Differential calculus, applications of the derivative, introduction to integral calculus.
Prerequisite: Satisfactory performance on placement assessment, 2 years of high school algebra, 1 year of geometry, 1 semester of trigonometry; or minimum of C- in MATH 143
Credit hours: 4 

Course description

Basic Calculus provides an introduction to differential and integral calculus. Applications of differentiation, including optimization, are explored. 


The etext version of Pearson’s textbook Thomas’ Calculus, Early Transcendentals, 14th Edition, by George Thomas, Jr., Maurice D. Weir and Joel Hass accompanies a purchased access code. The access code provides access to the online homework package. Students should access the online homework (MyMathLab) only through Canvas. 


Basics of differentiation (Sections 2.1, 2.2, 2.4-2.6, 3.1 – 3.6) includes discussion of average rates of change, limits, the definition of derivative, and differentiation rules.  

Advanced differentiation (Sections 3.7 – 3.11, 4.1 – 4.4, 4.6) includes discussion of implicit differentiation, logarithmic differentiation, derivatives of inverse functions, related rates, linearization, optimization, and curve sketching.  

Basics of integration (Sections 4.5, 4.7, 4.8, 5.1 – 5.6, 7.1 – 7.3) includes antiderivatives, finite sums, definite integrals, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, separable differential equations, and hyperbolic functions. 


After completing Math 165, students should be able to: 

  • Given a function and an interval or a point, find average rate of change, calculate instantaneous rate of change, and relate both to the graph of the function.   
  • Demonstrate understanding of limits, including how to evaluate limits, one-sided limits, limits involving $\frac{\sin\theta}{\theta}$ as $\theta\to0$, and limits involving infinity. Use limits to identify asymptotes. The demonstration of understanding should occur without applying L’Hopital’s Rule. 
  • Apply the definition of continuity. Demonstrate how to identify continuous functions. Use limits to identify and classify discontinuities.  
  • Give the limit definition of derivative at a point. Use the limit definition of derivative to calculate the derivative of relatively simple functions. Give units when needed/requested.  
  • Compute higher order derivatives and include units. Recognize and use the various symbols for derivatives. 
  • Find tangent lines to functions and interpret a tangent line geometrically as a local approximation to the function.  
  • Know and apply the rules for differentiation (power, exponential, trigonometric, sum, product, quotient, chain).  
  • Relate differentiation to rates of change, including position, velocity, and acceleration. 
  • Apply the chain rule to differentiate implicitly-defined functions and related rates problems. 
  • Differentiate inverse functions, including logarithmic functions and inverse trigonometric functions.  
  • Apply logarithmic differentiation to find derivatives. 
  • Apply linearization of a function at a point to calculate approximations; use differentials to estimate errors.  
  • Identify the candidates for the extreme values of a function and give the extreme values of a function.  
  • Use the first and second derivatives of a function to identify where a function is increasing or decreasing, concave up or concave down. Apply the first and second derivative tests to classify critical points. 
  • Use the tools of calculus and algebra to sketch, by hand, good graphs of functions including intercepts, critical points, inflection points, and asymptotes. 
  • Solve applied optimization problems. 
  • Use L’Hopital’s Rule to evaluate limits involving indeterminate forms.  
  • Apply Newton’s method to approximate solutions to equations.  
  • Relate the mean value theorem to average and instantaneous rates of change of a function on a closed interval.  
  • Evaluate antiderivatives of elementary functions, and solve initial value problems.  
  • Use Riemann sums to approximate the area bounded by curves. Given a velocity function, use a Riemann sum to approximate distance and net distance traveled.   
  • Evaluate definite integrals and use definite integrals to calculate the area bounded by curves. 
  • Calculate the average value of a function over a closed interval. 
  • Apply Part I of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus to differentiate an integral function; apply Part II of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus to evaluate definite integrals.  
  • Apply the substitution method to evaluate integrals, both definite and indefinite. Make appropriate changes to the limits of integration when solving definite integrals.  
  • Set up and solve simple separable differential equations, with or without initial conditions.  
  • Apply the definition of hyperbolic functions with algebra and calculus to derive properties and establish identities involving the hyperbolic functions. 


Three midterm night exams and a cumulative final exam are given. Times for the night exams may be found at the night exam schedule at 

Weekly quizzes are administered in recitation session.  

Three online (MyMathLab) homework assignments are due most weeks. The online homework package with a purchased access code includes the electronic textbook.  

Many materials, including videos, practice exams, and quizzes, are available at 

Math 165 help 

Math 165 students may access the help hour times and location by following the link established in the Canvas course pages.  

Free expression statement

Iowa State University supports and upholds the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech and the principle of academic freedom in order to foster a learning environment where open inquiry and the vigorous debate of a diversity of ideas are encouraged. Students will not be penalized for the content or viewpoints of their speech as long as student expression in a class context is germane to the subject matter of the class and conveyed in an appropriate manner.

Students with disabilities

Iowa State University is committed to assuring that all educational activities are free from discrimination and harassment based on disability status. Students requesting accommodations for a documented disability are required to work directly with staff in Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to establish eligibility and learn about related processes before accommodations will be identified. After eligibility is established, SAS staff will create and issue a Notification Letter for each course listing approved reasonable accommodations. This document will be made available to the student and instructor either electronically or in hard-copy every semester. Students and instructors are encouraged to review contents of the Notification Letters as early in the semester as possible to identify a specific, timely plan to deliver/receive the indicated accommodations. Reasonable accommodations are not retroactive in nature and are not intended to be an unfair advantage. Additional information or assistance is available online at, by contacting SAS staff by email at, or by calling 515-294-7220. Student Accessibility Services is a unit in the Dean of Students Office located at 1076 Student Services Building.

More information about disability resources in the Mathematics Department can be found at