Course Title: Differential Equations for Engineers

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Differential Equations for Engineers

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Dr Yousong Luo

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 2276

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 8.9.29

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course assumes that you have achieved a PASS result in either of the VCE mathematical methods courses, or equivalent.

Course Description

Differential Equations for Engineers introduces a tool used for the analysis of a range of problems which may arise in the modelling of engineering problems. A specified differential equation endeavours to match the known features of the application being modelled, as well as to be able to predict systems behaviour in other circumstances. Your learning integrates both theory and application using a problem-based approach. This course prepares you for future learning in relation to problem solving and decision-making; technical competence; teamwork and leadership; and reflection.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for:

  1. BH077     B Eng (Civ & Infra)(Hons)
  2. BH078     B Eng (Aero Eng) (Honours)
  3. BH088     B Eng (Civ&Infra)(Hon)/BBus(Mgt)

Knowledge and Skill Base:

1.2 Conceptual understanding of mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Handle vectors, vector valued functions and model the kinematics of motion of points.
  2. Classify a differential equation with regard to its linearity, order and degree.
  3. Determine solutions of a range of first order differential equations, the complementary function, and the particular integral.
  4. Set up the governing differential equation for, and determine the solution of, a range of elementary dynamics problems.
  5. Describe the solution of forced harmonic oscillators using the terms: under-damped, critically-damped and over-damped.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities will be presented in a variety of modes. They will provide the opportunity for face-to-face contact where the instructor performs solution strategies thinking aloud. Such activities will allow you to see the mental processes you need to go through when mapping real-life problems to abstract differential equations and then analysing the solution. The instructor will highlight the main solution techniques and show how the solution relates to the original model. This will be achieved using a lecture theatre equipped with a video projector and a computer so that live demonstrations can be illustrated. As a result you will learn to develop diverse abilities including abstract modelling of physical problems, the translation of simple word problems into differential equations and the use of pen-and-paper to generate solutions.

You will be encouraged to work in small groups but to present your own solution to each set task. In tutorials and/or laboratory sessions you will receive feedback whilst attempting to formulate differential equation models and determining your solutions using pen-and-paper. You will discuss your solution strategies with colleagues and develop your analytical ability and communication skills. Staff members will oversee these activities responding when necessary. A subject-specific news-group will also provide a forum for important interaction.

An opportunity for you to discuss solution strategies outside the time-tabled class hours will be provided by the instructor’s consultation time allocated each week throughout the semester.  

This course will be assessed by a combination of tutorial/practice classes, assignments and an examination.

Overview of Learning Resources

A prescribed textbook and list of recommended references will be published on Blackboard. Online resources will include lecture notes, suggested exercises and lecture recordings. Interactive demonstrations and examples of problem solving in WebAssign website are also available.

A Library Guide is available at

Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Early Assessment Task: Maths Ready Test and 2 Class Exercises
Weighting 3%+4%=7%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1

Assessment Task 2: 9 Class Exercises
Weighting 21%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-5

Assessment Task 3: Online Assignments
Weighting 22%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-5

Assessment 4: Final Exam
Weighting 50%
This assessment supports CLOs 1-5