MA4MB-Mathematical Biology

Module Provider: Mathematics and Statistics
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: MA2VC Vector Calculus and MA2DE Differential Equations
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: MA3MB Mathematical Biology
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Marcus Tindall

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Mathematical Biology is one of the fastest growing areas of modern mathematics. The field is focussed on applying mathematical modelling techniques (and their analysis) to problems in biology. Whilst such problems can range across a huge number of systems, e.g. cells to ecosystems, this module is designed to give an introduction to the classic applications of Mathematical Biology and an appreciation of how mathematical modelling can be used to provide insight into biological problems.

To provide an introduction to the application of mathematical modelling to biological systems.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will demonstrate mastery of core topics in Mathematical Biology using the theory of nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations (ODEs, PDEs) as well as difference equations. Mathematical techniques students will be expected to master via advanced coursework and examination include non-dimensionalisation, steady-state stability analysis (ODEs & PDEs), travelling wave theory (PDEs) and model derivation and analysis where appropriate. The module focuses on the following bi ological topics - ODE models of population dynamics (e.g. predator-prey/competition systems), discrete time population models, modelling of genetic cascades, understanding the spread of infectious diseases, spatial modelling of biological phenomena (e.g. the spread of infectious diseases) and pattern formation.

This module will be assessed to a greater depth than the excluded module MA3MB.

Additional outcomes:
An appreciation of the importance of mathematical modelling in understanding biological systems.

Outline content:

  • Introduction and background mathematics;

  • Population models (single and two species);

  • Genetic regulation;

  • Infectious diseases;

  • Spatial modelling;

  • Reaction diffusion systems & pattern formation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures supported by problem sheets and lecture-based tutorials.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 4
Guided independent study: 76
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Set exercise 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

2 hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Assignments and one examination paper.

Formative assessment methods:
Problem sheets.

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
One examination paper of 2 hours duration in August/September - the resit module mark will be the higher of the exam mark (100% exam) and the exam mark plus previous coursework marks (80% exam, 20% coursework).

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books: None

  2. Specialist equipment or materials: None

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: None

  4. Printing and binding: None

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification: None

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence: None

Last updated: 8 April 2021


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