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Math 373: Introduction to Mathematical Biology
Spring 2019 Course Syllabus

NJIT Academic Integrity Code: All Students should be aware that the Department of Mathematical Sciences takes the University Code on Academic Integrity at NJIT very seriously and enforces it strictly. This means that there must not be any forms of plagiarism, i.e., copying of homework, class projects, or lab assignments, or any form of cheating in quizzes and exams. Under the University Code on Academic Integrity, students are obligated to report any such activities to the Instructor.

Course Information

Course Description: This course provides an introduction to the use of mathematical techniques applied to problems in biology. Discrete and continuous models of biological phenomena will be discussed. Biological topics discussed range from the subcellular molecular systems and cellular behavior to physiological problems, population biology and developmental biology. Techniques of phase plane analysis for differential equations are introduced in the course. No prior background in biology is necessary. Effective From: Spring 2009.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Math 211 with a grade of C or better or 213 with a grade of C or better or 213H with a grade of C or better and Math 337 with a grade of C or better.

Course-Section and Instructors

Course-Section Instructor
Math 373-002 Professor J. MacLaurin

Office Hours for All Math Instructors: Spring 2019 Office Hours and Emails

Required Textbook:

Title A Primer on Mathematical Models in Biology
Author Lee A. Segel and Leah Edelstein-Keshet
Edition ---
Publisher SIAM
ISBN # 978-1611972498

University-wide Withdrawal Date: The last day to withdraw with a W is Monday, April 8, 2019. It will be strictly enforced.

Course Goals

Course Objectives

Course Outcomes

Course Assessment: The assessment of objectives is achieved through homework, exams, and a final project.


DMS Course Policies: All DMS students must familiarize themselves with, and adhere to, the Department of Mathematical Sciences Course Policies, in addition to official university-wide policies. DMS takes these policies very seriously and enforces them strictly.

Grading Policy: The final grade in this course will be determined as follows:

Homework 25%
Midterm Exam I 25%
Midterm Exam II 25%
Final Project 25%

Your final letter grade will be based on the following tentative curve.

A 90 - 100 C 70 - 74
B+ 85 - 89 D 60 - 69
B 80 - 84 F 0 - 59
C+ 75 - 79

Attendance Policy: Attendance at all classes will be recorded and is mandatory. Please make sure you read and fully understand the Math Department’s Attendance Policy. This policy will be strictly enforced.

Homework Policy: Homework is due in class one week after it is assigned. Late homework will either be penalized or not accepted.

Quiz Policy: There will be a 5 minute written quiz at the beginning of certain lectures on Thursdays.

Project: The final project will include an oral presentation made during the final exam period (May 10 – May 16).

Exams: There will be two midterm exams held in class during the semester. Exams are held on the following days:

Midterm Exam I March 13, 2019
Midterm Exam II April 17, 2019

The final exam will test your knowledge of all the course material taught in the entire course. Make sure you read and fully understand the Math Department's Examination Policy. This policy will be strictly enforced.

Makeup Exam Policy: There will be No make-up QUIZZES OR EXAMS during the semester. In the event an exam is not taken under rare circumstances where the student has a legitimate reason for missing the exam, the student should contact the Dean of Students office and present written verifiable proof of the reason for missing the exam, e.g., a doctor’s note, police report, court notice, etc. clearly stating the date AND time of the mitigating problem. The student must also notify the Math Department Office/Instructor that the exam will be missed.

Software: XPP/XPPAUT is a computer simulation platform created and maintained by G. Bard Ermentrout. It is widely used by mathematical biologists and is freely available online. Students should download it to their computers from MATLAB is a mathematical software program that is used throughout the science and engineering curricula. Students should download it to their computers from the IST software downloads page. For this class, you will be required to write code and simulate models using both XPP and MATLAB.

Cellular Phones: All cellular phones and other electronic devices must be switched off during all class times.

Additional Resources

Math Tutoring Center: Located in the Central King Building, Lower Level, Rm. G11 (See: Spring 2019 Hours)

Further Assistance: For further questions, students should contact their instructor. All instructors have regular office hours during the week. These office hours are listed on the Math Department's webpage for Instructor Office Hours and Emails.

All students must familiarize themselves with and adhere to the Department of Mathematical Sciences Course Policies, in addition to official university-wide policies. The Department of Mathematical Sciences takes these policies very seriously and enforces them strictly.

Accommodation of Disabilities: Disability Support Services (DSS) offers long term and temporary accommodations for undergraduate, graduate and visiting students at NJIT.

If you are in need of accommodations due to a disability please contact Chantonette Lyles, Associate Director of Disability Support Services at 973-596-5417 or via email at The office is located in Fenster Hall Room 260. A Letter of Accommodation Eligibility from the Disability Support Services office authorizing your accommodations will be required.

For further information regarding self identification, the submission of medical documentation and additional support services provided please visit the Disability Support Services (DSS) website at:

Important Dates (See: Spring 2019 Academic Calendar, Registrar)

Date Day Event
January 22, 2019 T First Day of Classes
February 1, 2019 F Last Day to Add/Drop Classes
March 17 - 24, 2019 Su - Su Spring Recess - No Classes, NJIT Open
April 8, 2019 M Last Day to Withdraw
April 19, 2019 F Good Friday - No Classes, NJIT Closed
May 7, 2019 T Friday Classes Meet/ Last Day of Classes
May 8 & 9, 2019 W & R Reading Days
May 10 - 16, 2019 F - R Final Exam Period

Course Outline

Week Dates Reading Topic
1 1/24 1.1-1.11 Course Overview
2 1/29 2.1-2.6 Biochemical Kinetics
3 2/4 3.1-3.5 Linear ODEs
4 2/11 4.1-4.3 Nondimensionalization and Scaling
5 2/18 5.1-5.3 Qualitative Behavior of ODEs
6 2/25 6.1-6.4 Developing a Model from the Ground Up
7 3/4 7.1-7.8 Phase Plane Analysis
8 3/11
-- -- ------------- SPRING BREAK
9 3/25 8.1-8.5 Quasi Steady State Approximation
3/27 9.1-9.8 Cooperativity
10 4/1 10.1-10.7 Neuronal Dynamics
4/3 11.1-11.6 Excitable Systems
11 4/8 12.1-12.3 Biochemical Modules
12 4/15
13 4/22 Final Project
14 4/29 Final Project
15 5/3 Final Project

Updated by Professor J. MacLaurin - 1/21/2019
Department of Mathematical Sciences Course Syllabus, Spring 2019