Main menu: Home | TA Info Syllabus | Homework | Calendar | Exams


Course:  Math 20D   (Course Catalog)

Title:  Introduction to Differential Equations

Credit Hours:  4

Prerequisite:  Math 20C (or equivalent)

Catalog Description:   Ordinary differential equations: exact, separable, and linear; constant coefficients, undetermined coefficients, variation of parameters. Series solutions. Systems, Laplace transforms. Computing symbolic and graphical solutions using Matlab.

Textbook:   Ordinary Differential Equations (9th Edition), by William E. Boyce and Richard C. DiPrima; published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2009.

  • You must buy a copy of the book that has the  WileyPLUS Online Homework code
    Otherwise you will have to buy the code separately!
  • You may buy the textbook from the bookstore in a  LOOSE LEAF BINDER READY  version. Do not buy the hardback version at the bookstore because it will not have the access code for the online homework.
  • If you want  ELECTRONIC ACCESS ONLY,  you can buy the WileyPLUS code separately.

Subject Material:  We shall cover parts of chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 of the text.

Homework:  Homework will be assigned on the course homework page and should be completed by the the indicated due date. (Homework will be done ONLINE. The problems listed should be considered only as practice.) You should make every effort to complete the homework assignments and seek help with problems you have not been able to solve. In addition to the discussion section and your TA's and instructor's office hours, you can get help with the homework assignments in the Calculus Tutoring Lab (AP&M B402A).

  • All homework assignments will be done online!
  • The problems listed on the homework page are practice problems.

Piazza:   Piazza is an online discussion forum that allows you to ask questions using mathematical symbols and expressions. Piazza was designed to enable you to get help quickly and efficiently from classmates, TAs, and instructors. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, you are encouraged to post your questions on Piazza. Find our class page at:

Note: If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email

Electronic Computing Devices:   Graphing calculators and computer programs (or online computing websites such as Wolfram|Alpha) can be very helpful when working through your homework. However, a calculator/computer should be used as an aid in the learning concepts, not just as a means of computation. You should use these devices when working on math problems at home, but always keep in mind that you will not be allowed access to any electronic computing devices during exams or quizzes. Of course, this also means that you will not be asked to solve problems on exams or quizzes that require the aid of an electronic computing device.

  • Help with using TI graphing calculators is available in the Calculus Tutoring Lab.
  • The use of electronic devices will not be permitted during exams or quizzes.

Lectures:   Attending the lecture is a fundamental part of the course; you are responsible for material presented in the lecture whether or not it is discussed in the textbook. You should expect questions on the exams that will test your understanding of concepts discussed in the lectures.

Reading:   Reading the sections of the textbook corresponding to the assigned homework exercises is considered part of the homework assignment; you are responsible for material in the assigned reading whether or not it is discussed in the lecture. It will be expected that you read the assigned material in advance of each lecture.

Labs:   The MATLAB assignments are a required part of the course. Assignments are to be turned in to the dropboxes in the basement of A&PM on the date indicated on the calendar by 5:00PM. The assignments can be found here:

There will be MATLAB tutors available in B432 to help you with your assignments.

MATLAB Quiz:   There will be a MATLAB quiz given at the end of the quarter. The quiz will be held during your scheduled MATLAB time in AP&M B432. If you are unable to make the scheduled time, you will be able to schedule an alternate time online.

Exams:   There will be two midterm exams and one final exam.   See the course calendar for the specific dates.

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not have a schedule conflict involving the final examination.
    You should not enroll in this class if you cannot sit for the final examination at its scheduled time.
  • There are no make-up exams for any reason. Nor do we allow alternate times for taking exams. (If you have a documented disability or must miss the exam for a university sponsored activity, then arrangements can be made using the standard procedures.)
  • Other Remarks:
    • You may bring one 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of handwritten notes with you to examinations. You may use both sides. (No photocopies!)
    • No calculators will be allowed during the examinations.
    • You must bring a Blue Book to the exam.
    • More information can be found on the course exams page.

Regrades:  All graded material will be returned in the discussion sections. If you wish to have your exam regraded, you must return it immediately to your TA. Regrade requests will not be considered once the exam leaves the room. If you do not retrieve your exam during discussion section, you must arrange to pick it up from your TA within one week after it was returned in order for any regrade request to be considered.

Grading: Your course grade will be determined by your cumulative average at the end of the term and will be based on the following scale:

A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C-
97 93 90 87 83 80 77 73 70

We may adjust the scale to be more lenient, but we guarantee that the grade corresponding to a given percentage will not be lower than specified by the above scale. There will be no curve.

Your cumulative average will be the best of the following two weighted averages.
  • 10% Homework,   10% MATLAB labs and quiz,   20% Midterm Exam I,   20% Midterm Exam II,   40% Final Exam
  • 10% Homework,   10% MATLAB labs and quiz,   20% Best Midterm Exam,   60% Final Exam
Please notice that outside factors, including the need for a certain grade for admission/retention in any academic program, scholarship or transfer credit, graduation requirements or personal desire for a specific grade DO NOT appear in the above calculations, and thus are not considered in any way in the determination of your course grade. Effort, improvement, class attendance and participation will all dramatically improve your grade in the course in that they will allow you to do well on quizzes, exams, and the final exam. They will NOT, however, actively participate in the calculation of your course grade.

Other Notes
  • You must pass the final examination in order to pass the course.
  • Since there are no make-up exams, if you miss the midterm exam for any reason then your course grade will be computed using Method 2.
  • Keep all of your returned homework and exams. If there is any mistake in the recording of your scores, you will need the original assignment in order for us to make a change.

Academic Dishonesty:  Academic dishonesty is considered a serious offense at UCSD.  Students caught cheating will face an administrative sanction which may include suspension or expulsion from the university.  It is in your best interest to maintain your academic integrity. (Click here for more information.)