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Mathematical Reasoning




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 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. 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


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


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).