Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


nl en

Mathematical Modelling




Admissions requirements

None, compulsory Year 1 course.

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 Modelling course is the more advanced course, and requires good analytical skills. Choose this course if you are comfortable with symbolic manipulation and plan to follow higher-level mathematics and modelling courses (see 'remarks').


This is a course on how to develop, examine, and assess continuous time dynamical models. Such models are important tools for studying real-life systems. Models provide insight in which factors have important effects, and which are less influential in determining the outcome of complex interactions. They allow us to examine the consequences of scenarios that we cannot, or do not want to, execute in reality. The process of model building itself often enlarges the insight in a complex system significantly, since it makes prior knowledge and assumptions about the system explicit.

We will study models in the context of several global challenges.

Course objectives

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

  • Recognize several types of continuous-time models and give examples of practical applications.

  • Examine effects of varying parameters on model outcomes

  • Apply continuous time models in a practical context

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


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, assignments, discussions, and projects.


  • In-class participation: 5%

  • Final exam: 30% (week 8)

  • Four quizzes: total 40% (weeks 2,3,5,7)

  • Individual project report: 25% (week 9)


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

Mathematics for Global Challenges, by P. Haccou
A pdf of the textbook will be provided free of charge


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


Dr. P. Haccou (convener): p.haccou@luc.leidenuniv.nl


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).

This course is a required prerequisite for the 200 level methods courses Game Theory and Modelling Bio-economic Dynamics.