MAT 303: Calculus IV with Applications

Spring 2005

SUNY at Stony Brook

Department of Mathematics
SUNY at Stony Brook

This course will introduce the student to basic methods for solving ordinary differential equations, with a particular emphasis on linear differential equations with constant coefficients and systems of differential equations.

Differential equations are the language in which the laws of physics are expressed, and have numerous applications in the physical, biological, and social sciences. We will discuss many standard applications. We will also briefly discuss some numerical methods for solving differential equations.

Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems: Computing and Modeling, 3rd Edition,
by Edwards & Penney,
Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004.

Warning: While the texts of the second and third editions of the book are rather similar, they contain substantially different problems! If you plan to use the second edition, you'll therefore need access to a copy of the third edition for your homework assignments. You might ask to look at a copy owned by a friend, the library, or the Math Learning Center.

Prerequisite: The completion of one of the standard calculus sequences (MAT 125-127, MAT 131-132, or MAT 141-142) with the grade C or higher in MAT 127 or 132 or 142 or AMS 161. The course will rely heavily on material covered in the standard calculus sequences. Familiarity with complex numbers and the basic concepts of linear algebra will be important, so the 200-level courses MAT 203/205 (Calculus III) and/or AMS 261/MAT 211 (Linear Algebra) are strongly recommended.

Instructor: Prof. Claude LeBrun, Math Tower 3-108, Office Hours: TTh, 2:30-3:30 pm, or by appointment.
Phone: 632-8254 email:

Recitation instructor and grader:
Li Li, Math. Tower 2-120, e-mail:

Lectures: New material is presented each week at the lectures.You are encouraged to read the corresponding section of the text before attending each lecture.

Class schedule:
LEC 1 TuTh 9:50am-11:10am Hvy Engr Lab 201 LeBrun, Claude
R01 F 11:45am-12:40pm S B Union 237 Li, Li
R02 W 11:45am-12:40pm S B Union 237 Li, Li

Click for a Syllabus, including a list of homework assignments.

Homework: Homework is a fundamental part of this course, and you will have to work hard on the assigned problems in order to succeed. Assignments will be posted on the web and will be collected in class on Tuesdays. Late homework will not be accepted. No exceptions.

The homework consists entirely of analytic problems, the solutions to which require only pencil and paper. While some students may nonetheless wish to check their homework solutions using a computer program like Maple, Mathematica or MATLAB, they are strongly cautioned against becoming overly dependent on such technological assitance.


Review sheet for the Final Exam.

Review session: Wed, May 11, 11:30-1:30pm in Physics P-127.

Make sure that you are available at these times, as there will be no make-ups for missed midterm exams. Laptops, cell phones, calculators, books, notes, etc., are not allowed during exams. If you miss an exam for an acceptable reason and provide a valid  written excuse, the relevant midterm will be dropped in computing your course grade. Incomplete grade will be granted only if documented circumstances beyond your control prevent you from taking the final exam. The final exam will cumulative, but its emphasis will be slightly skewed in favor of the material most recently covered in the course.

Grading: Your course grade will be based on your examination performance and homework, weighted as follows: two in-class midterms 25% each, homework 20%, and the final exam 30%.

Help: The Math Learning Center (MLC) is located in Math Tower S-240A, and offers free help to any student requesting it. It also provides a locale for students wishing to form study groups. The MLC is open 10 am-9pm Monday through Wednesday,  10am-6pm Thursday and 10am-2pm on Friday.

A list of graduate students available for hire as private tutors is maintained by the Undergraduate Mathematics Office, Math Tower P-143.

All necessary information regarding the course will be regularly posted on the World Wide Web, and can be accessed by pointing your browser to

Americans with Disabilities Act

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services, ECC (Educational Communications Center) Building, room 128, (631) 632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential. Students requiring emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services. For procedures and information, go to the following web site: