MA107      Half Unit
Quantitative Methods (Mathematics)

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr James Ward


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics, BSc in Geography with Economics, BSc in International Social and Public Policy and Economics, BSc in Management and BSc in Social Policy and Economics. This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Philosophy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and Economics and Diploma in Accounting and Finance. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.


A-level Mathematics (or equivalent).

Students with A-level Mathematics who are confident of their mathematical skills may also consider the full unit MA100 Mathematical Methods.

Course content

The aim of this course is to develop the basic mathematical tools necessary for further study in economics and related disciplines. To this end we focus on: techniques of calculus (differentiation, partial differentiation, optimisation and integration), methods of linear algebra (use of matrices), and the solution of difference and differential equations. The ideas are taught systematically, with emphasis on their application to economic problems. Examples are used throughout the course for motivation and illustration.

Specific topics are as follows: sets, functions, equations, graphs. Difference equations, sequences, limits. Differentiation, inverse functions, exponential and logarithmic functions. Partial differentiation, chain rule, homogeneous functions. Optimisation in two variables: unconstrained and constrained. Lagrange multipliers. Vector notation and convexity. Matrix notation, systems of linear equations, inverse matrices. Integration. Differential equations.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, help sessions and classes totalling a minimum of 40 hours in the  Michaelmas Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and lectures delivered as online videos.

Formative coursework

Written answers to set problems will be expected on a weekly basis.

Indicative reading

The course follows M Anthony & N L Biggs, Mathematics for Economics and Finance: Methods and Modelling, CUP, 1996. There are many other books with titles like Mathematics for Economists which may be of some use, but they won't cover the entire course.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the January exam period.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Mathematics

Total students 2019/20: 439

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information