Home              Teaching              Notes              Research

Math 308 (Mathematics for the Physical Sciences) Syllabus

This is the class webpage and syllabus for Math 308 in Spring 2019. Information about this course will be posted here throughout the semester; any changes will be announced in class and posted here.

Course Information

Course Description

We will roughly follow Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences (3rd edition) by Mary L. Boas. You can find substantially cheaper older versions of the textbook as well. This course will give an overview of many topics relevant to physics, including linear algebra and vector calculus and their connections to electromagnetism, partial differential equations and Fourier analysis related to thermodynamics, as well as topics in calculus of variations.

Prerequisites: Math 233 and Math 217, or instructor permission.

Homework, Exams, and Grading Scale

Course grades will be determined based on homework and exams.

  • Homework: Homework assignments will be posted here throughout the semester, as well as solutions; the assignments are below. Homeworks are due by the beginning of class on the due date, and no late submissions will be accepted; however, your three lowest assignments will be dropped. You are encouraged to discuss homework with each other to gain insight, but submitted solutions must be your own individual work; that is, you must write up your own assignment individually. Copying is not allowed and will be treated as an act of plagiarism.

    January 16 Homework 0 N/A
    January 25 Homework 1 Solutions
    February 1 Homework 2 Solutions
    February 8 Homework 3 Solutions
    February 15 Homework 4 Solutions
    February 20 Exam 1 Solutions
    March 1 Homework 5 Solutions
    March 8 Homework 6 Solutions
    March 25 Homework 7 Solutions
    April 1 Homework 8 Solutions
    April 3 Exam 2 Solutions
    April 17 Homework 9 Solutions
    April 26 Homework 10 Solutions

  • Exams: There will be two in-class midterm exams as well as a final exam. The first midterm will be Wednesday, February 20, and the second midterm is Wednesday, April 3; the final will be on May 6 from 3:30-5:30 pm.

    The points for the course will be distributed as follows:

    Homework 30%
    Exam 1 20%
    Exam 2 20%
    Final Exam 30%

    Your final grade will then be assigned from the table below. If you are taking this as pass-fail, then the cutoff for a passing grade is C-. The grade of A+ will be given at the instructor's discretion.

    Grade Percentage
    A [90, 100]
    A- [85, 90)
    B+ [80, 85)
    B [75, 80)
    B- [70, 75)
    C+ [65, 70)
    C [60, 65)
    C- [55, 60)
    D [50, 55)
    F [0, 50)

    Learning Resources

    There are many resources available to help you succeed in the course - remember that we are here to help you get the most possible out of your time here! Here are some suggestions:

    Other Course Policies and Helpful Information