BSc Materials Science and Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Mathematics 1G2

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATH19732
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Mathematics 1G1 MATH19731 Co-Requisite Compulsory


Build on topics from semester 1 to develop the mathematical tools for symbolic and numerical manipulation and analysis required to study materials science at an undergraduate level.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Solve straightforward problems involving vectors, complex numbers, matrices, elementary differentiation, integration and partial differentiation.
  • Relate vector notation to directions in a multi-dimensional space.

Intellectual skills:             

  • Show improved logical reasoning, problem solving and ability in applied mathematics.
  • Calculate numerical answers to mathematical problems covered in lectures and tutorials.
  • Carry out symbolic manipulations involving trigonometric functions.
  • Solve simple systems of first- and second-order partial differential equations.
  • Manipulate vectors and matrices.
  • Calculate the mean, variance and standard deviation for common distributions of values for a single variable.
  • Measure and quantify the correlation between two variables.
  • Quantify the uncertainty of a value after mathematical manipulation.

Practical skills:

  • Construct Argand diagrams to represent complex numbers.
  • Use vectors and matrices in real world settings.
  • Model (relevant) scientific and engineering problems using differential equations.
  • Apply core concepts from probability and statistics to (relevant) real world problems.

Transferable skills and personal qualities:

  • Apply the mathematical techniques covered in this unit to concurrent and subsequent materials science units.
  • Convert between units.
  • Work effectively in a group to solve problems.


This unit covers the topics in applied mathematics required to provide the necessary tools to study materials science at an undergraduate level.

The lectures cover:

  • Vectors, matrices and their manipulations, including cross and dot products. (4)
  • Trigonometry, including simple identities. (3)
  • Complex numbers, including their addition and multiplication, their representation in Argand diagrams, and the relationship between complex exponential functions and trigonometric functions. (5)
  • Common solutions to first- and second-order ordinary and partial differential equations. (6)
  • Probability, standard distributions, variance, standard deviation, regression, correlation  (4)

The tutorials cover typical mathematical problems faced in materials science and revolve around students attempting work in advance.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, example classes, recommended textbooks, web resources, past exam papers, electronic supporting information (Blackboard), peer-assisted study sessions (PASS)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written exam 70%


Closed-book, unseen examination consisting of six compulsory questions (10 marks each) and a choice of two of three longer questions (20 marks each).



6 written or computerised assignments

Recommended reading

Mathematical techniques: An introduction for the engineering, physical and mathematical sciences” D.W. Jordan and P. Smith, 1997, 2ed, Oxford University Press: Oxford.

 “Engineering mathematics” K.A. Stroud and D.J. Booth, 2007, 6th ed, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

 “Calculus made easy” S.P. Thompson, 1914, 2ed, MacMillan and Co.: London. (Available free at

HELM (Helping Engineers Learn Mathematics), available at

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 65

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicola Gambino Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  

Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates

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