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Partial Differential Equations I - MAT00053M

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  • Department: Mathematics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Konstantin Ilin
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Additional information

Pre-requisite modules: MSc Mathematical Sciences students: knowledge of Vector calculus and elementary complex function theory.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

A partial differential equation (PDE) is a differential equation that contains an unknown function and its partial derivatives. PDEs are used to describe a wide range of natural processes. Examples include fluid mechanics, elasticity theory, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, etc. PDEs also play an important role in other areas of mathematics such as analysis and differential geometry.

The aim of this course is to give an introduction to the basic properties of PDEs and to the basic analytical techniques to solve them.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module students should:

  • Be able to determine the type of a second order PDE
  • Be able to solve simplest first order PDEs
  • Understand what are well-posed initial (and/or boundary) value problems for classical PDEs such as the wave equation, the Laplace equation and the heat (diffusion) equation
  • Know basic analytical techniques for solving the above classical equations

Module content



  • Introduction: what is a PDE, first-order linear PDEs, initial and boundary conditions, well-posed problems, types of second-order PDEs.
  • Wave equation: d'Alembert’s formula, causality and energy, reflection of waves.
  • Heat (diffusion) equation: maximum principle, heat equation on the whole line and on the half-line
  • Laplace equation: maximum principle, Poisson’s formula, rectangular domain.
  • Periodic solutions for wave and heat equations. (This topic is not taught in the H-level variant of this module.)


Academic and graduate skills

  • Academic skills: the techniques taught are used in many areas of pure and applied mathematics.

  • Graduate skills: through lectures, examples, classes, students will develop their ability to assimilate, process and engage with new material quickly and efficiently. They develop problem solving-skills and learn how to apply techniques to unseen problems. Students on this module will learn to work more independently and assimilate advanced material at a greater rate than those on the H-level variant.


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Partial Differential Equations I
2 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Partial Differential Equations I
2 hours 100

Module feedback

Current Department policy on feedback is available in the student handbook. Coursework and examinations will be marked and returned in accordance with this policy.

Indicative reading

W.A.Strauss, Partial Differential Equations. An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons. 1992.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.