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Part IA Mathematical Biology


Mathematical Biology is the first-year Natural Sciences mathematics course designed for biologists. The course teaches a range of skills in mathematical modelling, probability and statistics and simple computer programming. The course is designed to approach these areas from an integrated biological point of view. A range of mathematical and statistical techniques, including ordinary differential equations, local stability analysis, coupled differential equations, hypothesis testing, regression, matrix algebra, basic probability and probability distributions are introduced in the context of biological systems.

The course is taught jointly by members of staff from all Departments in the School of Biology (Biochemistry, Genetics, Pathology, Pharmacology, PDN [Physiology, Development and Neuroscience], Plant Sciences, Psychology, Veterinary Medicine and Zoology), as well as staff from the MRC-CBU (the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit).

Mathematical Biology provides a broad base for further studies across all of biology, and should be considered by all biologists, whether their primary interests lie in molecular and cellular disciplines, physiology, psychology, or in ecology and evolution. The course also provides sufficient mathematical background for certain “physical” subjects in Part IB and Part II, and students reading Mathematical Biology in Part IA have successfully gone on to later studies in, for example, Chemistry and Earth Sciences (although in some cases additional study over the long vacation between first and second year is required).

There are 2 options in this course: Mathematical Biology A and Mathematical Biology B. All biology students must either take one or the other of these courses or the mathematics course designed for physical scientists. Details about the two Mathematical Biology options are given here.

Online resources are provided through the Moodle Site. You will automatically be subscribed to this site as part of the NST subject choice procedures but if you join the course after the start of term, send an email to  requesting that you are added to the course. You will need to use your Raven ID and password to log onto Moodle, which you will also be able to access during the vacation.