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Mathematical Reasoning (2019-2020)


Admission requirements


Please note this course is aimed at students who did not complete the Mathematical Reasoning or Mathematical Modelling course in 2019-2020. For first-year students in 2020-2021, the Mathematics courses that will be offered during Semester 2 will be redesigned.


The goal of this course is for students to understand how to apply basic mathematics to address complex – real world – problems.

The basic mathematical concepts and procedures that you have learned up to now can be considered as 'mathematical tools'. In high school you were taught how to use these tools by applying them to carefully selected problems, where the required procedure is made explicitly clear. Because the problems involved in real world applications are far more complex than school textbook examples, it is usually not immediately clear which mathematical procedures are best suited to address complex issues. In this course we consider discrete time dynamical models as a tool to examine such issues. We will study such models in the context of several global challenges.

Course Objectives


  • After successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  • Apply mathematical reasoning and basic mathematical procedures to gain insight in (not too complex) practical applications

  • Discuss results of applied mathematical reasoning in practical contexts.

  • Apply discrete time models in a practical context

  • Analyse discrete time models and interpret their results in a practical context


  • After successful completion of this course, students know and understand:

  • Basic principles of dynamical models, such as equilibria, stability, and different types of dynamics of (systems of) recurrence relations.

  • The relevance of these principles in the context of global challenges, such as epidemics and arms races.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, assignments, discussions, and projects.

Assessment Method

  • Quizzes, 30%

  • Individual Project, 40%

  • Class Participation, 5%

  • Final Exam, 25%

Reading list

This course has two compulsory textbooks:

(1) All you need in maths!, by J. van de Craats and R. Bosch, 2014
ISBN13: 9789043032858
Pearson Benelux BV
Please make sure you have this book in your posession by the start of the course.

(2) Mathematics for Global Challenges, by P. Haccou
This book can be downloaded for free, from: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/assets/governance-and-global-affairs/luc/rc-office/mathematics_for_gc.pdf. The latest version of the textbook will also be available in Blackboard.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator, course.administration@luc.leidenuniv.nl.


Garnet Akeyr, g.j.akeyr@math.leidenuniv.nl