A free college textbook

Versatile Mathematics is a textbook designed for an introductory survey of mathematical applications. It is completely free and open for use and modification under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.

Get the Book

Presentation shown at 2016 AMATYC Conference

About the Book

This book is aimed at a freshman- or sophomore-level college class intended for students who are not math or engineering students, but rather taking an introductory survey course to fulfill a mathematics requirement. We wrote it specifically for such a course at the community college level, which students enter after fulfilling basic algebra requirements. Aside from that, there is really very little prerequisite knowledge required to be able to follow the text.

There are currently eight main chapters, as well as a short algebra review chapter at the end:

  1. Financial Mathematics
  2. Growth Models
  3. Statistics
  4. Probability
  5. Linear Programming
  6. Logic
  7. Set Theory
  8. Graph Theory

It is still a work in progress, and we will continue to add new chapters.


Example Videos

Every example in the text has an accompanying video that can be accessed by clicking on the title or example number in the margin.

Online Try It

The Try It exercises in the text can be used for extra practice. Clicking on the title in the margin will open an online application where students can check their answers and see the explanation.

Free Online Homework

MyOpenMath provides free, algorithmically-generated homework for every problem in the text.

About Us

There is a growing community of like-minded educators who have decided to reduce the burden of textbook costs on our students by creating and freely sharing high-quality materials. Several members of the mathematics department at Frederick Community College in Frederick, Maryland joined this community, building on the work of others by remixing and adding to what they wrote, and the result is this textbook.

We believe that knowledge does not belong to any one of us, so our job is to share it rather than hoarding it. We wrote this book to accomplish that purpose.

Chapter authors include Josiah Hartley (who also created the videos and wrote the MyOpenMath exercises), Val Lochman, and Erum Marfani, and the rest of the math department at FCC provided help in reviewing and editing the text. Special thanks to Greg Coldren and Pei Taverner, who also helped review some chapters.


We used Math in Society, another open textbook written for a similar course, as our starting point. Many of the examples, exercises, and explanations were built off of ones from that book, and we owe the author, David Lippman, a tremendous debt of gratitude for showing us that a project like this could be done, and giving us so much to work with. He also has done a fantastic job of designing MyOpenMath, which we use for free online homework.

We also used material from the OpenStax College Introductory Statistics textbook, an open peer-reviewed text.

We'd also like to thank the math department at FCC for their unflagging support, especially our department chair at the time, Gary Hull, who not only provided us with backing and encouragement, but also gave us a booklet that he had spent many hours writing for the same course.

The administration at FCC also provided support in the form of a summer grant to write the first six chapters, so we'd like to thank them as well.


Open Textbook Store

Free Textbooks at the American Institute of Mathematics

OpenStax College

Try It Editor