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Unit outline_

ECOS2903: Mathematical Economics A

Semester 1, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit provides an introduction to mathematical techniques commonly employed by economists. Students who wish to proceed to final year Economics Honours must complete either ECOS2903 or MATH2070. Topics include: limits, continuity, differentiation of single- and multi-variable functions, unconstrained and constrained optimisation.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Economics
Credit points 6
A minimum of 65% in (ECON1001 or BUSS1040 or ECON1040) and 65% in ECON1002
ECON2903 or MATH2070 or MATH2970
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jiemai Wu,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam (open-book, online)
Type-C open-book online exam
33% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment group assignment Problem sets (group work)
Solve 4 sets of mathematical problems with a group of your choice
24% Multiple weeks Flexible
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
In-semester test (Open book) Type C in-semester exam Mid-semester exam
Type-C open-book online exam in Week 8
33% Week 08
Due date: 14 Apr 2022 at 18:00
2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Tutorial quiz Tutorial quizzes
Work with your classmates and tutor to solve tutorial questions
10% Weekly 10-60 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?
Type C in-semester exam = Type C in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found in the Canvas site for this unit.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Week 1: Functions Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 Week 2: Differentiation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 Week 3: Single variable optimisation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 04 Week 4: Integration and applications Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 Week 5: Functions of many variables Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Week 6: Functions of many variables Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Week 7: Matrix algebra Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 Week 8: Determinant, concavity, and convexity Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 8: Mid-semester exam Performance (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 10 Week 10: Unconstrained multivariate optimisation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 11 Week 11: Constrained optimisation with equality constraints Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Week 12: Constrained optimisation with inequality constraints Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 13 Week 13: Final Review/Dynamic optimisation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

Students are required to attend and participate in the weekly tutorials. Students are strongly encouraged to attend and participate in the lectures. 

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Recommended textbooks: 

Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis (5e) by Knut Sydsaeter, Peter Hammond, Arne Strom, and Andrés Carvajal.

Mathematics for Economists by Carl Simon and Lawrence Blume

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. develop problem-solving skills
  • LO2. construct logical arguments and proofs
  • LO3. acquire the necessary mathematical skills to critically evaluate current research in economics and be in a position to contribute to current research

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Based on last year's feedback and performance, this unit has increased the resources for learning and modified the assessments to encourage continuous engagement.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.