Class Absences

August 15, 2012 at 9:17 am Leave a comment

Sleeping StudentAlas, the end of summer is nigh, and students are returning to campus. To get you in the mood for school again, the following is a quiz about college course abbreviations.

Many courses are known by four‑letter abbreviations, such as PHIL for philosophy and ASTR for astronomy. Complete each of the words below by inserting the abbreviation for a common course. For example,

ALP __ __ __ __ OW

could be completed by inserting ENGL, the abbreviation for English courses, to make ALPENGLOW.

  1. COELAC __ __ __ __
  2. IN __ __ __ __ UE
  3. W __ __ __ __ LER
  4. IRR __ __ __ __ CILABLE
  5. __ __ __ __ ICIAN
  6. R __ __ __ __ TION
  7. IMP __ __ __ __
  8. __ __ __ __ INTON
  9. SE __ __ __ __ ED
  10. DE __ __ __ __ IFY
  11. REIN __ __ __ __ E
  12. WING __ __ __ __

(Answers below.)

What’s that you say? You’re not quite ready for a test yet. That’s fine. Then maybe just enjoy the following quotes, which could yield some insight about how to proceed during the upcoming semester.

Mathematician Richard Askey remembers the following advice about how many courses to take each semester:

When I was in graduate school at Princeton, I was told to take three courses. One of them to work on really hard, another to work on moderately hard, and the third one just to absorb. In my case, I never showed up to the latter class, taught by Robert Gunning on several complex variables. Several complex variables (Cn) was starting to get very fashionable then, but I decided to specialize in n = ½.

The experience of comedian B.J. Novak (The Office) might offer some insight about choosing a major.

I learned nothing in college. It was really kind of my own fault. I had a double major: psychology and reverse psychology.

And you might want to pass on the following advice, courtesy of mathematician Ron Graham, to some of your math professors.

Someone has remarked that, “An ideal math talk should have one proof and one joke, and they should not be the same.”

Students often find that many topics in upper-level math courses are review from previous courses, thus proving that the mathematics curriculum is compact. That is, any material covered by an infinite number of math courses can be covered by some finite subset of those courses.


  1. ANTH (Anthropology)
  2. TRIG (Trigonometry)
  3. HIST (History)
  4. ECON (Economics)
  5. PHYS (Physics)
  6. EDUC (Education)
  7. ARTS (Arts)
  8. BADM (Business Administration)
  9. ARCH (Archaeology)
  10. CALC (Calculus)
  11. STAT (Statistics)
  12. SPAN (Spanish)

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About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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