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Unit of study_

MATH5411: Special Topics in Applied Mathematics (Alt)

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

In his book on Applied Mathematics, Alain Goriely states "There is great beauty in mathematics and great beauty in the world around us. Applied Mathematics brings the two together in a way that is not always beautiful, but is always interesting and exciting. "In this unit you will explore classic problems in Applied Mathematics and their solutions or investigate an area of Applied Mathematics that is currently the focus of active research. You will delve deeply into powerful mathematical methods and use this mathematics to investigate and resolve problems in the real world, whether than is in computation, the social sciences or the natural sciences. You will learn how the synergies between mathematics and real world problems that are found throughout Applied Mathematics both drive the creation of new mathematical methods and theory, and give powerful insights into the underlying problems, resulting in new ways of seeing the world and new types of technology. By doing this unit you will grow in your appreciation of the links between mathematical theory and its practical outcomes in other disciplines and learn to use mathematics in deeply profound ways in one or more areas of application.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MATH5411
Academic unit Mathematics and Statistics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Familiarity with the methods of classical applied mathematics (e.g., MATH4412) and the ability to write code and numerical schemes to solve standard applied mathematical problems (e.g., MATH4411 or equivalent). Please consult with the coordinator for further information.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Robert Marangell,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Assignment 3
Report on current or past research
30% Formal exam period
Due date: 25 Jun 2021 at 23:59
5 Weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Assignment 1
Problem set
30% Week 05
Due date: 01 Apr 2021 at 23:59
3 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Assignment 2
Report on current or past research
30% Week 10
Due date: 14 May 2021 at 23:59
5 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Participation Class Participation
Participation in in class discussions
10% Weekly 13 Weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Representing complete or close to complete mastery of the material.


75 - 84

Representing excellence, but substantially less than complete mastery.


65 - 74

Representing a creditable performance that goes beyond routine knowledge and understanding, but less than excellence.


50 - 64

Representing at least routine knowledge and understanding over a spectrum of topics and important ideas and concepts in the course.


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
Multiple weeks Self-adjoint eigenvalue problems on a finite interval. Lecture (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Oscillation and comparison theorems for second order linear equations and applications Lecture (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
The Space of Lagrangian Planes Lecture (6 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
The Maslov index in dynamical systems Lecture (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Weekly Weeks 2- 13. Tutorial Tutorial (12 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Weekly seminar presented by students on classic and current work in the research literature Seminar (12 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

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.

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. Demonstrate a coherent and advanced understanding of key concepts in a specific area of applied mathematics.
  • LO2. Apply fundamental principles and methods of applied mathematics to solve given problems in a specific area of mathematical application.
  • LO3. For a given real world system, determine the type of mathematical representation and model assumptions required to represent or approximate the system correctly by a mathematical model.
  • LO4. Formulate models and determine the appropriate mathematical approach to solve them.
  • LO5. Devise solutions to complex problems using the methods of applied mathematics.
  • LO6. Communicate coherent mathematical arguments appropriately to student and expert audiences, both orally and through written work.

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.

This is the first time this unit has been offered.


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

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