MTH4351 - Mathematical biology - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate, Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Mathematical Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Mark Flegg


Dr Mark Flegg

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Enrolment in the Master of Mathematics




This unit is offered in alternate years commencing S2, 2019


This unit is an introduction to some of the most important mathematical concepts in theoretical biology. The coursework for this unit will be entirely mathematical and assumes no prior expertise in biology. The course also includes a significant project whereby students will be paired with students enrolled in M6030 (Master of Biotechnology) to investigate a real biological question in an interdisciplinary setting.

The aim of the course is to introduce both mathematical methods and biological applications and to generate a realisation of the potential of mathematics in biological research. The lectures will be organised by application (population, chemical, physiological, etc) but will focus on mathematical analysis and the insights that they generate.

Whilst 'mathematical biology' has the potential to cover a wide range of activities, we will focus on phenomenological models of continuous, discrete or stochastic natures as opposed to data-driven areas of mathematics such as computational mathematics, statistics, data science, machine learning, etc.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Apply and extend classical models in mathematical biology.
  2. Use sophisticated mathematical techniques in the analysis of mathematical models in biology.
  3. Construct mathematical models for biological systems.
  4. Apply critical thinking to address problems in an interdisciplinary group setting.
  5. Communicate effectively across interdisciplinary borders.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Examination (3 hours): 60% (Hurdle)

Continuous assessment: 40%

Hurdle requirement: To pass this unit a student must achieve at least 50% overall and at least 40% for the end-of-semester exam.

Workload requirements

  • 3 hours of lectures and 1 hour tutorial per week
  • 8 hours of independent study per week

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Master of Mathematics