Mathematics Department - Math 104 - Introduction to Probability

Math 104 - Introduction to Probability

General Information

01:640:104 Introduction to Probability (3)
The course gives a mathematical yet accessible and concrete introduction to probability. Most of the course is devoted to understanding how probability works, and how it is applied in a number of areas, including medical testing and some decision making. The end of the course discusses some statistics and applications. You will never be left wondering, "What is this good for? What does this have to do with real life?"

This is an elementary course for liberal arts majors, in the sense that it does not presume any knowledge of precalculus or calculus. It is, however, more challenging than Math 103, and more focused in its subject matter. Many students who take Math 104 have already taken Math 103, although it is not a prerequisite.

Math 104 is typically not appropriate for majors in STEM fields. Math 104 may not be used as an elective for the Mathematics major or minor, and may not be taken for credit simultaneously with or after a student has received credit for any of the following courses: 01:640:477, 01:198:206, 01:960:379, 01:960:381, 14:332:226.
Prerequisite: 01:640:026 or appropriate performance on the placement test in mathematics. May not be used as an elective for the math major or minor.

SAS Core Curriculum Learning Goals

Math 104 fulfills both the Quantitative Information (QQ) and Mathematical or Formal Reasoning (QR) learning goals of the SAS Core Curriculum:
QQ: Formulate, evaluate, and communicate conclusions and inferences from quantitative information.
QR: Apply effective and efficient mathematical or other formal processes to reason and to solve problems.

Hybrid sections

In fall 2016, there will be one hybrid and two traditional sections of the course, so that students can choose the format which is best for their learning style. The hybrid sections will implement the flipped classroom model, so that students will first learn the subject matter, on their own time, from carefully working through a series of video lecture segments posted on Sakai interspersed with practice problems. The weekly class meeting will follow up on the students' online work, beginning with a quiz on that work, and proceeding with a highly interactive workshop session. A hybrid section has only half the in-person class time of a regular section, but this does not mean that it requires half as much work! On the contrary, the hybrid format requires a certain extra discipline, to keep up with the online component of the course. But it does have the advantage that students can rewatch the videos as often as they need to, and can also benefit from a more interactive classroom experience.

Schedule Archives

Fall 2018 Schedule


Finite Mathematics: An Applied Approach, Eleventh Edition by Michael Sullivan, custom edition for Rutgers University, ISBN 978-0-470-95692-2. The custom edition is a softcover textbook printed in black and white, and contains only those chapters from the full length non-custom version which are actually used in the course. This custom edition was created in order to make the book as inexpensive for students as possible.

The custom edition of the textbook can also be bought as an e-book, at


There is some variation between sections, but this section is representative of the course.

Previous semesters:

  • Spring 2009. Michael Weingart
  • Fall 2008. Michael Weingart
  • Spring 2008. Daniel Cranston
  • Spring 2007. Michael Weingart

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