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About the Program

What is MAP?

The University of Alabama in conjunction with the National Science Foundation has recently offered a summer program to build math skills for students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

When and Where is MAP Offered?

The Math Advancement Program, MAP, is a 2½-week summer residence class which has been periodically held at The University of Alabama campus that addresses STEM education pre-requisites for incoming students. The goals of MAP are to increase STEM student retention and graduation rates and to increase the number of STEM graduates employed in the state of Alabama. At present, however, there is no upcoming MAP program scheduled for the summer of 2012.

Who is eligible for MAP?

Any student accepted to the University of Alabama, or any other college, and is seeking a degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline is eligible to participate in the Math Advancement Program (MAP) when the program is being offered. Students accepted into the College of Engineering are encouraged to apply and participate.

The university requires that new students take the Math Placement Assessment, which will determine the math class they should take first based on their current mathematical skills. Instructors have determined that students need a score of 260 or higher on the Math Placement Test in order to participate in MAP. If a score below 260 is received, please contact Dr. Karen Boykin to discuss.


Entering freshmen need to have a solid background in calculus to succeed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and many students do not have the required math classes before they start at the University. The math classes are designed around Pre-calculus, Algebra and Trigonometry. By offering these advanced math classes and living laboratories before students start in the fall, they will be better prepared to excel in STEM.

Upon graduating high school, few students possess the necessary skills to enter into STEM disciplines. Data collected by UA's College of Engineering revealed a two-fold problem impacting student performance related to math skills and motivation. Roughly half of the entering freshman engineering students required at least one semester of pre-calculus to be considered engineering curriculum ready. This has serious repercussions on the student's progress by delaying the start of core engineering classes by up to a full year.

The MAP program has incorporated important learning principles that ensure knowledge is retained and not just memorized. Students are encouraged to develop their skills through hands-on experiences, problem solving teaming exercises, and by interaction with STEM professors and instructors through an interdisciplinary "Living Laboratory" program.

Through the Living Laboratory, students have been asked to participate in community service activities demonstrating the importance of social responsibility in technical fields. The laboratory experiments have allowed students to use simple calculus in real applications and see what each STEM discipline does in practice.

MAP recruiting activities have targeted rural, historically low per capita communities and have typically reserved 33-40 percent of enrollment space for underrepresented groups. The program has been structured such that any student who has not retained the information learned in high school and bright students with deficiencies in math due to inadequate programs have been provided an opportunity to hone their technical abilities before they begin their college career.

MAP has also been open to a limited number of K-14 teachers for continuing education credit. Research collaborations have been promoted between higher education and K-14 faculty and staff. Additional information can be found here.

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