Calculator Recommendations

The following table presents the current calculator recommendations in the Technology Programs for which the Math department teaches courses. As such, it is only intended as a guideline to buying calculators unless there is a particular requirement by the technology, which will be indicated in additional notes column. Please note that these recommendations are based on the information provided by the current Math instructors and it may vary from year to year.

If you wish to be certain about the use of a particular calculator you should wait until starting your program to determine the current policy of your instructors.

Note: This information only represents the opinions of the BCIT Math Department instructors and different restrictions may exist with other departments at BCIT.

Program Math Department Recommendations Additional Notes
Biomedical Engineering Sharp EL 516
Building Engineering Technology    
Business Contact the Business Department for information regarding their calculator requirements  
Chemical Sciences Technology Sharp EL-520
Sharp El-546
Civil Engineering Some restrictions to a very simple non-programmable calculator for tests. Contact the Civil Department for the currently acceptable calculator models.
Computer Systems Technology
Computer Information Technology
Trigonometric functions required.  
Electrical Engineering Calculator with complex (imaginary numbers) functions such as Sharp EL-546, EL-520 or Casio 991 series  
Technology Entry (TE) ONLY the following Sharp advanced (D.A.L) scientific calculator models are acceptable for TE chemistry, mathematics and physics courses: EL520X and the EL546X
Biotechnology and Food Technology Require log/ln/exp and basic statistics functions It is recommended that unless they have good reason to do so, students do not buy a programmable calculator.
Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Sharp EL-520 or Sharp EL-546, but other scientific calculators are fine (see additional note). Need a calculator which can do trigonometric functions, logarithms, powers, univariate and bivariate statistics such as regressions and correlations
Geomatics Technology Scientific Calculator with statistical functions

Mechanical Engineering
Requires one of
Sharp EL-520
Sharp El-546
HP 33S
HP 35S
No graphing calculator allowed by Mechanical Program.
Mining Diploma Scientific calculator with statistical functions including linear regression Some restriction on graphing calculators for tests.
Nuclear Medicine Any calculator that does linear and quadratic regression (typical cost = less than $30) Programmable calculators are not permitted on the national examinations.
Occupational Health and Safety TI 83
Check with Occupational Health and Safety Program for their requirement
Prosthetics and Orthotics    
Plastics Technology    
Mechatronics and Robotics Requires one  of
Sharp EL-520
Sharp El-546
HP 33S
HP 35S342
Need a calculator that can handle complex numbers and matrix operations (up to 4x4).
Technology Teacher Education    Check with program

Miscellaneous Notes:

Non-programmable Calculators

There are quite a number of models on the market for under $35 typically. The following two are merely ones that instructors at BCIT have found to be good choices and as such are just personal recommendations.

Programmable/Graphing Calculators

Programmable calculators may include all the same functions although typically are more expensive.

Programmable and graphing calculators tend to have more restrictions placed on their use in tests due to their ability to record information in them. Since they are generally quite expensive it is recommended that they not be purchased unless there is a definite requirement.

At this time, few of the courses taught by the BCIT Math Department require a graphing calculator in any significant way. As graphing calculators are becoming mandatory in secondary school their use can be expected to become more acceptable in the future.