Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

MATH304 Partial Differential Equations

Introduction to the theory of partial differential equations by discussing the main examples (Laplace equation, heat equation, wave equation and transport equations) and their applications.

Differential equations are a fundamental mathematical tool for the study of systems that change over time and are used in most areas of science, engineering and mathematics.

Paper title Partial Differential Equations
Paper code MATH304
Subject Mathematics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $868.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,656.70

^ Top of page

MATH 202 and MATH 203 and (MATH 262 or COMO 204)
MATH 362
Recommended Preparation
MATH 301
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
This paper is particularly relevant for students majoring in Mathematics, Statistics, Zoology, Economics, Design or any other field in which the natural world is being modelled by differential equations.
Teaching staff
Dr Florian Beyer
Paper Structure
Main topics:
  • The transport equation (initial value problem, characteristics)
  • The Poisson equation (harmonic functions, mean value theorem for harmonic functions, maximum principle, Green's function, boundary value problem)
  • The wave equation (d'Alembert formula, energy methods, domain of dependence, finite propagation speed, Initial boundary value problem)
  • Non-linear first order PDE (characteristics, conservation laws, shocks)
Teaching Arrangements
Five lectures a fortnight
One tutorial per week.
Lecture Notes: Lecture notes will be made available chapter-by-chapter during the semester on the resource webpage. These lecture notes are the main reference for this paper.

Book: Partial differential equations/Lawrence C. Evans (on reserve in the library).
Course outline
View course outline for MATH 304
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Demonstrate in-depth understanding of the central concepts and theories.

^ Top of page


Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
M1 Friday 10:00-10:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Tuesday 15:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41
T2 Thursday 15:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41