MAT-30002 - Non-linear Differential Equations
Coordinator: Danila Prikazchikov Tel: +44 1782 7 33414
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733075

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective





MAT-20008 Differential Equations

Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

Systems that evolve in time can often be modelled by differential equations. There are countless examples of such systems from the physical world including the weather, climate change, stock markets, the economy, population dynamics, mechanical systems, etc. The great variety of behaviours exhibited by these systems is reflected in the solutions to the corresponding differential equations. This module introduces a number of methods for identifying and classifying various types of behaviour in various types of differential equation. While linear differential equations model some processes, the majority are described by nonlinear equations, and it is these that display the greatest diversity of behaviour. However, very few nonlinear differential equations have exact solutions. Nevertheless, a great deal of insight can be obtained from qualitative methods. This module focuses on geometric methods for constructing phase plane representations of dynamics and perturbation methods for obtaining approximate solutions. With these tools it is then possible to examine the changes in behaviour that can occur when a parameter is varied, and bifurcation theory is introduced to describe this. The relation between the evolution of differential equations and the evolution of maps is explained, and more exotic behaviour, like period doubling and chaos, are then studied in terms of the dynamics of maps.

The aim of this module is to study the qualitative behaviour of solutions to ordinary differential equations through the use of phase plane analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes

analyse the qualitative behaviour of solutions to ordinary differential equations through the use of the phase plane, including locating and classifying fixed points: 1,3
demonstrate knowledge of the theory of steady bifurcations: 2,3
demonstrate knowledge of the theory of self-excited oscillations, their representation by a limit cycle: 3
demonstrate knowledge of the theory of forced oscillations and the use of perturbation methods to discover the effect of nonlinearity in producing harmonics and the consequences for resonance: 3
demonstrate knowledge of the theory and application of Poincaré Maps: 3

Study hours

Active Learning Hours:
33 hours - lectures and examples classes
9 hours - working on the assigned problems 9 hours during the reading week
Independent Study Hours: 108 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Assignment weighted 15%
Take-home assignment
Online assignment will reflect on the knowledge gained in the first three chapters (weeks 1-6). Students are expected to spend at least 6 hours in revision and solving the assignment.

2: Class Test weighted 15%
40-minute class test
A 40-minute in-class test will be based on the part of the course concerned with the theory of steady bifurcations.

3: Unseen Exam weighted 70%
2-hour unseen exam
The 2-hour examination paper will consist of no less than five and not more than eight questions all of which are compulsory.