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Differential Geometry (MSc) - MAT00068H

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  • Department: Mathematics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Graeme Wilkin
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module is for postgraduate students only.

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

The aim of the module is to describe how techniques from advanced calculus and linear algebra may be used to give meaning to the concept of "shape" for curves and surfaces in space.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Understand the curvature and torsion of a space curve, how to compute them, and how they suffice to determine the shape of the curve.
  • Understand the definition of a smooth surface, and the means by which many examples may be constructed.
  • Understand the various different types of curvature associated to a surface, and how to compute them.
  • Understand the first and second fundamental forms of a surface, how to compute them, and how they suffice to determine the local shape of the surface.
  • Appreciate the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of surface geometry.

Module content

[Pre-requisite modules: students must either have Vector Calculus and Linear Algebra, or Maths for Sciences III.]


The geometry of smooth curves. Curvature; torsion; the Frenet formulas; congruence, and the fundamental theorem of space curves.

Smooth surfaces. Charts and atlases; tangent planes; the inverse function theorem; the regular value theorem; smooth mappings and their differentials; diffeomorphisms and local diffeomorphisms.

The geometry of smooth surfaces. First fundamental form (Riemannian metric); shape operator; normal curvature and principal curvatures; Gauss and mean curvatures; second fundamental form; local isometries; the "Theorema Egregium" of Gauss.


Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Differential Geometry
2 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Differential Geometry
2 hours 100

Module feedback

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

Indicative reading

J McCleary, Geometry from a Differentiable Viewpoint, Cambridge University Press.

C Baer, Elementary Differential Geometry, Cambridge University Press

A N Pressley, Elementary Differential Geometry, available as both a book and an e-book

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.