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Mathematical Reasoning



First-year programme

Admissions requirements

LUC offers two first-year mathematics courses in parallel: Mathematical Modelling and Mathematical Reasoning. Both courses assume that students satisfy the LUC mathematics admission requirements (see ‘remarks’ for further details).

The Mathematical Reasoning course requires less mathematical proficiency than the Mathematical Modelling course. Students who are more comfortable with basic numerical computations rather than complex symbolic manipulation and do not plan to follow higher-level mathematics and modelling courses are advised to choose the ‘Mathematical Reasoning’ course


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. This course does not aim to teach new mathematical concepts and techniques, but instead is oriented towards showing you how to meaningfully utilize the mathematical knowledge and skills that you already possess. Throughout the course we will work on projects that exemplify mathematical reasoning in practice.

Course objectives

  • Describe the role of mathematical reasoning in the context of global challenges;

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

  • Evaluate results of applied mathematical reasoning in practical contexts.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, assignments, discussions, and projects.


  • In-class participation: 10%

  • Midterm exam: 30% (1 hour, session 1 of week 5)

  • Three projects in pairs: total 30% (Friday midnight, weeks 2,4,6)

  • Individual project report: 30% (Friday midnight, week 8)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Quantitative reasoning and the environment
Greg Langkamp and Joseph Hull, 2006 (1st edition)
Pearson Education Inc. (Note: Pearson copyright is 2007)
ISBN-10: 013148527X • ISBN-13: 9780131485273
Note: you should order this book well in advance!


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. P. Haccou (convener):


It is assumed that students have a good working knowledge of the following concepts and techniques: arithmetic and algebraic computation, standard functions (polynomials, power functions, exponentials and logarithms), trigonometry, and functions and graphs. Students are advised to review these concepts and techniques before the onset of the course. If needed, students may make use of the two-week preparatory remedial course in January, and/or quantitative/math student assistants provided by LUC. Additional “self-study” materials are available in the form of online resources (for information consult the course convener).