Math 150 - Discrete Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences

Course Coordinator

Jun Pan (

Catalog Description

MATH 150. Discrete Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences.
(2-1) Cr. 3. F.S.SS. Prereq: Satisfactory performance on placement exam, 2 years of high school algebra, 1 year of high school geometry
Linear equations and inequalities, matrix algebra, linear programming, discrete probability. Either MATH 104 or MATH 150 may be counted toward graduation, but not both.


book coverBarnett
Finite Mathematics
ISU Custom Edition, bundled with MyMathLab Plus access code
ISB3: 9781256310082


Times are suggested based on a 15-week semester, allowing 4 weeks for days for catch-up, review and exams.

All exams (including the final exam) are done online in a computer lab. They can be taken any time before the given deadline, at the students' convenience.

Chapter & Sections Topics Time
Appendix A - Basic Algebra Review 1 week
§§ A1, A2, A5, A6, A7  
Chapter 1 – Linear Equations and Graphs 0.5 weeks
§§ 1.1, 1.2  
Chapter 2 – Functions and Graphs 1.5 weeks
§§ 2.1 – 2.5  
Chapter 3 – Mathematics of Finance 1 week
§§ 3.1, 3.2  
Chapter 4 – Systems of Linear Equations; Matrices 2 weeks
§§ 4.1 – 4.6  
Chapter 5 – Linear Inequalities and Linear Programming 1 week
§§ 5.1 - 5.3  
Chapter 6 – Linear Programming: Simplex Method 1 week
§§ 6.1 - 6.3  
Chapter 7 – Logic, Sets, and Counting 0.5 weeks
§§ 7.2 – 7.4  
Chapter 8 – Probability 1.5 weeks
§§ 8.1 - 8.5  
Chapter 11 – Data Description and Probability Distributions 1 week
§§ 11.1-3  


Review of Some Algebra (Appendix A)

  • Sets: Set notation, union, intersection, complement
  • Fraction Properties: Add/subtract/multiply/divide fractions
  • Polynomials: Add, subtract, multiply, expand and combine terms
  • Integer Exponents and Scientific Notation: Rules of working with integer powers; convert from standard to scientific notation and back
  • nth Roots of Real Numbers and Rational Exponents and Radicals: Converting between root notation and fractional power notation; practice the rules of working with powers
  • Quadratic Formula: How to solve a quadratic equation numerically

Functions and Graphs

  • Concept of a function, graph of a function, domain and range
  • Graphs and Transformations: What do the graphs of some elementary functions look like [straight lines, absolute value function, simple powers and roots]; horizontal and vertical shifts, contractions or dilations, reflection in x-axis or y-axis; piecewise defined functions
  • Lines: Slope, intercept, point-slope form, slope-intercept form, finding line through two points, applications
  • Quadratic Functions:  Find vertex and intercepts
  • Polynomial and Rational Functions: For polynomials, the possible shapes of the graph, specifically the number of intercepts and turning points it can have. For rational functions,  the domain and vertical and horizontal asymptotes.
  • Exponential Functions: Properties and graphs, natural exponential function ex,  application to compound interest
  • Logarithmic Functions: Definition, properties, applications on investment

Applications of Exponential Functions and Logarithmic Functions

  • Simple Interest
  • Compound Interest
  • Continuous Compound Interest

Systems of Linear Equations

  • Graphical method
  • Substitution method
  • Elimination method
  • Augmented Matrix method
  • Inverse Matrix method: Definition of matrix, matrix addition, subtraction, multiplication, inverse matrix

Linear Programming

  • Inequalities: Properties, interval notation, solving linear inequalities
  • The Simplex Method
  • Dual Problems

Elementary Probability and Statistics

  • Basic Counting Principles
  • Permutations and Combinations
  • Sample Spaces, Events, and Probability
  • Union, Intersection, and Complement of Events
  • Conditional Probability, Intersection, and Independence
  • Bayes' Formula
  • Random Variable, Probability Distribution, and Expected Value

Data Description and Probability Distributions

  • Graphing Data
  • Measures of Central Tendency
  • Measures of Dispersion

Old Exams

Exams are computer-generated, and different for every student. There are no old exams.

Official Math Department Policies

The Math Department Class Policies page describes the official policies that all instructors have to follow. It covers rules on make-up exams, cheating, student behavior, etc.

Students With Disabilities

If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, you should obtain a Student Academic Accommodation Request (SAAR) from the Disability Resources office (Student Services Building, Room 1076, 294-6624 or TDD 294-6335, or Please contact your instructor early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met.

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