Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: Mathematical Sciences


Type Open Level 1 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Normally, A level Mathematics at grade A or better, or equivalent.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists (MATH1551), Single Mathematics A (MATH1561), Single Mathematics B (MATH1571) and Foundation Mathematics (MATH1641) may not be taken with or after this module.


  • This module is designed to follow on from, and reinforce, A level mathematics.
  • It will present students with a wide range of mathematics ideas in preparation for more demanding material later.
  • There will be opportunities to gain experience with the Maple computer package.
  • Aim: to give a utilitarian treatment of some important mathematical techniques.
  • Aim: to develop geometric awareness and familiarity with vector methods.


  • A range of topics are treated each at an elementary level to give a foundation of basic definitions, theorems and computational techniques.
  • A rigorous approach is expected.
  • Elementary functions of a real variable.
  • Limits, continuity, differentiation and integration.
  • Ordinary Differential Equations.
  • Partial Differential Equations.
  • Fourier series.
  • Linear Algebra in n dimensions with concrete illustrations in 2 and 3 dimensions.
  • Vectors, matrices and determinants.
  • Vector spaces and linear mappings.
  • Complex numbers.
  • Diagonalisation, inner-product spaces and special polynomials.
  • Introduction to group theory.
  • Introduction to Probability.
  • Discrete and continuous probability distributions.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will: be able to solve a range of predictable or less predictable problems in Calculus, Linear Algebra and Probability.
  • have an awareness of the basic concepts of theoretical mathematics in the fields of Calculus, Linear Algebra and Probability.
  • have a broad knowledge and basic understanding of these subjects demonstrated through one of the following topic areas:
  • Calculus: Elementary Functions of a Real Variable.
  • Limits, continuity, differentiation, Taylor's theorem, integration.
  • Ordinary Differential Equations.
  • Partial Differential Equations.
  • Linear Algebra: Vectors in Rn, matrices and determinants.
  • Vector spaces over R and linear mappings.
  • Complex numbers and Cn as a vector space.
  • Diagonalisation and Jordan normal form.
  • Inner product spaces.
  • Introduction to groups.
  • Special polynomials.
  • Probability: Conditional probability, Bayes Theorem and independence.
  • Discrete random variables and distributions.
  • Expected value, variance and the weak law of large numbers.
  • Continuous random variables, particularly the Normal.
  • The Central Limit Theorem.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will have basic mathematical skills in the following areas: Modelling, Spatial awareness, Abstract reasoning, Numeracy.
Key Skills:

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures demonstrate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples.
  • Tutorials provide active engagement and feedback to the learning process.
  • Weekly homework problems provide formative assessment to guide students in the correct development of their knowledge and skills. They are also an aid in developing students' awareness of standards required.
  • Initial diagnostic testing and associated supplementary problems classes fill in gaps related to the wide variety of syllabuses available at Mathematics A-level.
  • Experience with the Maple computer package reinforces the ability to succeed in routine elementary calculation and to enable students to recognise their own computational errors.
  • The examination provides a final assessment of the achievement of the student.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 112 6 per week in terms 1 and 2 1 Hour 112
Tutorials 38 Twice weekly 1 Hour 38
Practicals 8 Distributed over the year 1 Hour 8
Other (Diagnostic Tests) 5 Week 1 1 Hour 5
Preparation and Reading 237
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 1 3 hours 50% Yes
Written examination 2 3 hours 50% Yes

Formative Assessment:

- Two written assignments weekly during the first 2 terms. Normally, each will consist of solving problems and will typically be one to two pages long. Students will have about one week to complete each assignment. - 45 minute collection paper in the first week of Epiphany term.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University