Course Syllabus MATH 3120
(Honors) Differential Equations
Spring Semester 2008

Meeting times:

Monday,Wednesday and Friday 9:10 - 10:05.


KOM, Room 205


Jan Zijlstra, Ph.D.

Office :

Kirksey Old Main 257    (615) 898-2691/5422

Web Materials:


Office Hours:

Monday, Wednesday & Friday  10:15 - 11:30 and 1:30 - 2:30
Tuesday & Thursday 10:15 - 11:30.
All other times by appointment, please.

Prerequisite: Calculus III is a co-requisite and Math 1920 (Calculus II) must have been completed with a grade of C or higher.
Note: Contact your instructor immediately if these requirements have not been met.
Course Materials: Textbook: Nagle, Saff and Snider: Fundmentals of Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems. 4th ed.
          Addison Wesley Publ., 2003 ISBN 0-321-14571-2
Calculator: Texas Instruments 83/84(plus) graphing calculator.
Materials: Engineering pad (bookstore), transparent straight-edge with cm-scale, and compasses.
Main Topics:
  • Mathematical models involving Differential Equations (DE)
  • First order DE and models:
    • Qualitative methods: Slopefields and the phase line
    • Numerical estimates: Eulers method
    • Quantitative analysis: Separable, Linear and Exact equations and substitution methods.
  • Second order Linear DE and Oscillators
    • Fundamental Solution of Homogeneous Linear DE
    • Solution of non-homogeneous linear DE: Variation of parameters and Green's Functions.   
  • Systems of Differential Equations
    • Phase Plane Analysis
    • Linear systems and Matrix Methods
    • Linearization of non-linear systems
  • The Laplace Transform for DE and systems of DE
    • Translation Theorems
    • Convolutions
    • Stepfunctions and the Dirac Delta function
and Scale :
Approx. 6 Laboratories   :  50 points each
Approx. 4 Term Exams   : 100 points each
Comprehensive Final Exam       : 200 points

A: 100-90, B+: 89-87, B:86-83, B-: 82-80, C+: 79-77, C:76-73, C-: 72-70, D+: 69-67, D:66-63, D-: 62-60, F: < 60 points.

Absences: Tests can be made up only with a Valid University Excuse, see Student Handbook for details.
  • Throughout the course, we will use the computer algebra system MAPLE to support computational and graphing tasks. No prior computer programming exposure is expected and introductory sessions will be held as soon as lab space is secured.
  • The laboratories are take-home sets of assignments which will address both theoretical and practical (modeling) questions.
  • Students who have pre-arranged honors credit for this course are expected to complete a written project
    (100 points) and give a corresponding oral presentation (50 points).    
  • If you have a disability that may require assistance or accomodation, or you have questions related to accomodations for  testing, note-takers, readers, etc., please contact me as soon as possible. You may also contact the Office of Disabled Student Services (898-2783) with questions about such services.
  • To retain Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship eligibility, you must earn a cumulative TELS GPA of 2.75 after 24 attempted hours and a cumulative TELS GPA of 3.0 thereafter. A grade of C, D, F, or I in this class may negatively impact TELS eligibility. Dropping a class after 14 days may also impact eligibility; if you withdraw from this class and it results in an enrollment status of less than full time, you may lose eligibility for your lottery scholarship.
Important Dates: January 14: First Day of Class
January 21: MLK Day - no classes
January 27: Last day to drop without a grade.
March 3- 8: Spring Break, no classes.
March 2: Last day to drop with a 'W'. No 'W' will be granted after this date.
April 16: Deadline to withdraw from the University i.e. from all classes
April 23: Last Day of Classes.
Final Exam: Monday April 28, 10:00 - 12:00