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Unit information: Ordinary Differential Equations 2 in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Ordinary Differential Equations 2
Unit code MATH20101
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Chenchiah
Open unit status Not open

MATH11007 Calculus 1 and MATH11005 Linear Algebra & Geometry.



School/department School of Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Science


Unit aims

The aim of this unit is to introduce the students to the basic theory of ordinary differential equations.

Unit description

The subject of differential equations is a very important branch of applied mathematics. Many phenomena from physics, biology and engineering may be described using ordinary differential equations. In order to understand the underlying processes we have to find and interpret the solutions of these equations; this unit is an introduction to this endeavour.

Relation to Other Units

This unit develops the ordinary differential equations material in Core Mathematics. Partial differential equations are treated in a separate unit, Applied Differential Equations 2. Together with Calculus 2, these courses provide essential tools for mathematical methods and applied mathematics units at Levels 3 and 4. Calculus 2 is recommended but not required as a corequisite.

Additional unit information can be found at

Intended learning outcomes

Learning Objectives

By the end of this unit students will be able to:

  • recognize basic types of differential equations and understand the features of linear equations in particular.
  • use phase plane analysis to investigate equations which are not easily solvable.
  • apply the notions of equilibrium, linearization, stability and bifurcation to problems arising in physics, biology and engineering etc.

Transferable Skills

  • Increased understanding of the relationship between mathematics and the “real world” (meaning the physical, biological, economic, etc. systems).
  • Development of problem-solving and analytical skills.

Teaching details

Lectures - 33 sessions in which the lecturer will present the course material on the blackboard. Students are expected to attend all lectures, and to prepare for them by reading notes, handouts or texts, as indicated by the lecturer. The lectures are 3 per week, on weeks 1 to 11 - no class on week 12 .

Problems classes - 10 sessions with the lecturer, in which problems will be worked through as a demonstration, on the blackboard. Students are strongly encouraged to attend all problems classes.

Homework assignments - 10 problem sheets will be given out, one per week. Students will be required to turn in selected problems from the sheet, which will be marked by the postgraduate teaching assistants.

Assessment Details

100% Examination.

Raw scores on the examinations will be determined according to the marking scheme written on the examination paper. The marking scheme, indicating the maximum score per question, is a guide to the relative weighting of the questions. Raw scores are moderated as described in the Undergraduate Handbook.

Reading and References


Stephen Wiggins, Ordinary Differential Equations