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Mathematical Biology

Programme Specification: Part IA Mathematical Biology

This course is taught by the Faculty of Biology and is intended for biologists who have taken mathematics at A level (or have an equivalent level of preparedness, including a grounding in calculus).


  1. to introduce students to the application of mathematical modelling in the analysis of biological systems including populations of molecules, cells and organisms;
  2. to show how mathematics, statistics and computing can be used in an integrated way to analyse biological systems;
  3. to develop students' skills in algebraic manipulation, the calculus of linear differential and difference equations, mathematical modelling, matrix algebra and statistical methods;
  4. to introduce students to the use of mathematical and statistical computer packages for the analysis of biological processes.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should:

  1. have an enhanced knowledge and understanding of mathematical modelling and statistical methods in the analysis of biological systems;
  2. be better able to assess biological inferences that rest on mathematical and statistical arguments;
  3. be able to analyse data from experiments and draw sound conclusions about the underlying processes using their understanding of mathematics and statistics;
  4. be aware of the use of computers to assist them in studying mathematical functions and carrying out statistical tests.

Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures, supervisions, and computer practicals.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • one unseen written examination, based on lecture material and the computer workshops (for aims 1-3 and learning outcomes 1-3);
  • two assessed exercises, based on the lectures, examples classes and practicals (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1-4).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: A Level Mathematics.

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.