MATHS 762 : Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A study of exact and numerical methods for non-linear partial differential equations. The focus will be on the kinds of phenomena which only occur for non-linear partial differential equations, such as blow up, shock waves, solitons and special travelling wave solutions.

Course Overview

A study of exact and numerical methods for non-linear partial differential equations. The focus will be on the kinds of phenomena which only occur for non-linear partial differential equations, such as blow up, expansion waves, shock waves, solitons, and special travelling wave solutions. This is a core offering for honours in applied mathematics and may be of interest to students majoring in Maths, Physics, or Computer Science. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: B- in both MATHS 340 and 361

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Derive, analyse and solve simple nonlinear equations with characteristics. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Derive, analyse and solve nonlinear equations with two characteristics. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of Reaction-Diffusion equations though derivation, analysis and solution. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Produce Solitons and numerical and analytical solutions to the Korteweg-de Vries Equation. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of different solution types for integrable systems, including the KdV and NLS, and the concepts surrounding solitons though analysis and solution. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Write simple MATLAB code to solve certain nonlinear pde’s. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  7. Present complete and coherent assignment answers. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  8. Derive, analyse and solve the nonlinear water wave equations though derivation, analysis and solution. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  9. Analyse the nonlinear expansion waves in real-world problems. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  10. Analyse the shock waves in real-world problems. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 40% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 60% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Final Exam


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

For further information on the Tuākana Maths programme, please visit

Workload Expectations

It is expected that you spend 10 hours per week working on this course. The normal pattern of student study is expected to be (on average, each week):

  • 2 hours lectures;
  • 2-hour lab, including preparation;
  • 3 hours lecture preparation and review;
  • 3 hours assignments and exam preparation.

Students are expected to participate in class activities. After each class you should review the material from the class and try any recommended examples. You are expected to preview the material provided for each lecture before you come to class.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including labs/tutorials to complete components of the course.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable. 

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Recommended texts:
  • Wave Motion by Billingham and King.
  • Solitons and the Inverse Scattering Transform by Ablowitz and Segur
  • Solitons, Nonlinear Evolution Equations and Inverse Scattering by Ablowtiz and Clarkson
  • Spectral methods in MATLAB by Trefethen
Many useful resources are on the wiki:’s_Course

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student feedback and improvements are considered every year.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/05/2023 03:27 p.m.