Math 214. Differential Equations

Spring 2015


The final exam will be on Tuesday May 5 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. Remember that you can bring a cheat sheet to the final. You can write whatever you want on both sides of the sheet, but you can only use one sheet.

The second midterm will be split into two parts (just like Midterm 1). The first part will cover problems from Chapter 7 (systems of first-order differential equations) and will be on Wednesday April 15. The second part of the midterm will cover problems from Chapter 5 (series solutions of second-order differential equations) and will be on Friday April 17.
You are allowed to bring a one-sided cheat sheet for part 1 and another one-sided cheat sheet for part 2 (only write on one side of your sheet).

For the midterm you are allowed to write down formulas on one sheet of paper (you can use both sides). You will turn in the sheet with your exam. You will use the same sheet on the second part of the exam (I will hand it back at the beginning of the test).

The first midterm will be split into two parts. Part 1 will be on Monday February 23 and cover the topics from the first and second homework assignments. Part 2 will be on Wednesday Feb. 25 and it will cover the topics from the third and fourth homework assignments.

Practice Exam 1.
Practice Exam 1 Solutions.

Some Mathematica Files which I've used in class: (to access them, right-click to save on a computer that has Mathematica. Then open them in Mathematica)
Cannonball with and without air-resistance. Has the equations that come from having the initial value condition of initial velocity and also the case where the initial value condition is the time it takes to reach the apex.
Streamplots and Integral Curves. Some examples we did in class shown visually.

If you need a tutor to help, there is drop-in tutor help for this class in YH 107 or YH 118 at the following times (with the following tutors):


Elementary differential equations and boundary value problems 10-th edition, by W. Boyce and R. DiPrima.

The textbook is mandatory.

Topics we will cover

This course is a survey of important types of differential equations, both linear and nonlinear. Topics include the study of systems of ordinary differential equations, numerical solutions of first and second order equations and of systems, and the solution of elementary partial differential equations using Fourier series. From the textbook, we will cover chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10.


The course grade will be based on:
Homework 15%,
Midterm 1 25%,
Midterm 2 25%,
Final Exam 35%.

Homework and Quizzes

There will be written homework roughly every week. The most recent homework will be posted in the announcements and a copy of all homeworks can be accessed here. Collaboration in the homework is permitted, however you must write in your own solutions to the exercises and submit it as your own.


There will be two midterms and one final exam. On the midterms and the final exam you must work on the problems on your own. No collaboration permitted in the exams.

The dates are:


Students are expected to come to every lecture and every exam.

If the dates of the exams conflict with Lake Forest approved events, inform me as soon as possible.

Accommodations Statement

If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please consult with The Learning and Teaching Center. Since accommodations may require early planning and are not retroactive, please contact the center as soon as possible. For details about the services for students with disabilities and the accomodations process, visit

You are also welcome to contact me privately to discuss your academic needs. However, all disability-related accommodations must be arranged through Teryn Robinson at the Learning and Teaching Center.

Last modified on May 5, 2015.