Fall 2023 - MATH 360 D100

Modeling with Ordinary Differential Equations (3)

Class Number: 6504

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Mon, Wed, 10:30–11:20 a.m.

    Oct 10, 2023: Tue, 10:30–11:20 a.m.

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Fri, 10:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 15, 2023
    Fri, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    MATH 251 and MATH 260, with a minimum grade of C-.



Formulation, analysis and simulation of continuous mathematical models. Applications may be selected from topics in physics, biology, engineering and economics. Students with credit for MATH 461 or MATH 761 may not complete this course for further credit. Quantitative.


In this course you will learn core concepts and modelling techniques in mathematical biology across a range of topics, from competition and predator-prey interactions to infectious diseases and evolution. These topics will be taught in the context of real-world scenarios where mathematical models are used to inform decision-making, such as invasive species, pest control, and pandemics.

Even relatively simple mathematical models can give powerful insights into many biological phenomena, from patterns of biodiversity to population crashes, and can help inform policymakers about how best to manage human interactions with the natural world. You will learn how to construct models, analyse them algebraically, geometrically, and numerically, and then interpret the results biologically.

Examples of the types of questions we will answer include,
• How do species respond to human-driven pressures such as climate change and overfishing?
• When are competing species able to coexist?
• How best to respond to an epidemic?

Throughout the course, we will explore case studies in class where we work through longer problems together, learning not only how to analyse models, but also how to construct them wisely and communicate the results. In addition to developing core analytical and computational skills, you will gain transferable skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.


  • In-class quizzes (best 3 of 4) 15%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Group Project 30%
  • Final Exam 30%


An important note regarding the current prerequsites

MATH 360 prerequisites are changing effective Spring 2024. The updated prerequisites are as follows:

MATH 155 with a minimum grade of A- OR MATH 260 with a minimum grade of C-.

If you do not meet the current prerequisites but do meet the pending prerequisites and you would like to enroll in the MATH 360 offering in Fall 2023, please email math_advice@sfu.ca for a prerequisite waiver.



There is no specific textbook required for this course.

Essential mathematical biology by N.F. Britton is useful. Three copies of this text are on 24-hour loan/reserves at the SFU Bennett Library.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.