Course code:



M - Intermediate

Meets the following requirements:

  • QR - Quantitative Reasoning
  • ES - Environmental Science

Typically offered:

Every other year

Differential equations are an application of calculus used to model a wide variety of physical and natural phenomena.

The rate at which a cup of coffee cools, populations of predators and prey in ecosystems, the spread of disease, and the behavior of electric circuits, are all examples of systems that have been described with differential equations. This course is an introduction to ordinary differential equations, intended for students who have completed a single-variable calculus course.

The course covers a variety of techniques for solving and understanding differential equations, including numerical and qualitative solution methods. Students will learn to solve and analyze differential equations using the python programming language. Students will also gain experience formulating mathematical models using differential equations. To do so, we will discuss general modeling principles and also consider several case studies. In addition to learning the mathematics of differential equations, a central goal of this course is to gain skills necessary for research in the mathematical, natural, and social sciences. This includes conceptualizing and framing a research question, conducing a literature review, giving a research presentation, and writing up results in a style appropriate for publication.

Evaluation will be based on class participation, bi-weekly problem sets, and a term-long project culminating in a presentation and short research paper. Some computer work will be required, but no computer experience is necessary.


Calculus II or the equivalent or permission of instructor.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.