Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

This course is about the mathematics that is most widely used in the mechanical engineering core subjects: An introduction to linear algebra and ordinary differential equations (ODEs), including general numerical approaches to solving systems of equations. Topics covered include linear systems of equations, existence and uniqueness of solutions, Gaussian elimination. Initial value problems, 1st and 2nd order systems, forward and backward Euler, and the Runge-Kutta method (RK4). The course also covers eigenproblems: eigenvalues and eigenvectors, including complex numbers, functions, vectors and matrices. MATLAB® is used in this course.

Note to OCW Users: MIT OpenCourseWare does not provide student access or discounts for MATLAB software. It can be purchased from The MathWorks®. For more information about MATLAB Pricing and Licensing, contact The MathWorks directly.


Strang, Gilbert. Differential Equations and Linear Algebra. Wellesley-Cambridge. 2014.

See the website for Prof. Strang's textbook for more information, including samples of the text. In 2016, the textbook was developed into a series of 55 short videos, Learn Differential Equations: Up Close with Gilbert Strang and Cleve Moler.


Students can calculate their grade with this MATLAB script. (M)

Homework (5 assignments, 6% each) 30%
Quizzes (2 quizzes, 20% each) 40%
Final Exam 30%

Late Policy

It is expected that completed assignments will be submitted on the due date and time noted on the assignment. The usual policy for late assignments is that a letter grade is lost per day late. If no arrangement is made ahead of time, that is going to be adhered to strictly. The teaching staff is well aware of the multiple time demands on students. In the case of unusual circumstances or unavoidable conflicts, students discussed the details with the professor and explored alternatives before the due date.