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Partial differential equations class with only calc III?

  1. Jun 24, 2012 #1
    And not taking ODE's? Is this doable? I understand the basics of most concepts as I am currently self-learning from online resources and textbooks, but I decided not take the class during the summer as I'm already taking calc III. The problem is that when the year starts up again PDE's is taught in first semester, while ODE's in second semester. Also, I want to take two third year courses that require PDE's as a prerequisite in second semester of next school year. So, would a basic knowledge of ODE's and calc III be sufficient for a PDE class?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2012 #2


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    Hey Dragoon.

    I wouldn't recommend it for a number of reasons, but one major reason has to do with the fact that simple PDE's like the heat equation reduce to ODE's.

    You need to really understand ODE theory to have the groundwork not only for analytic, but just as important, for numeric techniques as well which are really critical to differential equations both partial and ordinary, especially for coupled systems (systems of differential equations).

    I would strongly recommend you take a proper differential equations class as preparation for a partial differential equations class.
  4. Jun 25, 2012 #3
    If you're doing Engineering PDE's I'd say go for it; otherwise, please take ODE first.

    In Engineering PDE class you will likely do the wave equation, heat equation and Laplace's equation--they are really simple, straightforward ODE's (after solving them); however, if you are taking a Math class (as in the Math department) I would avoid it like the plague without ODE under my belt.

    Experience: I did both versions of the class.
  5. Jun 25, 2012 #4
    You solve pde's by decomposing them into ode's; usually in a class setting solving the decomposed ode's are easy so you might be ok.
  6. Jun 26, 2012 #5
    I would say its a bad idea to take PDE's before taking ODE's given that you must know ODE's in order to solve most PDE's.
  7. Jun 26, 2012 #6
    It is in the math department, but there are two types offered: One for science majors that is mostly applications, and another for math majors that is purely theoretical and proofs.

    As to the general tone of the thread: I'm not going to take the class without a general understanding of ODE's. I have already said I am going to teach myself most of the concepts I would have already learned in a class through online resources and textbooks.
  8. Jun 26, 2012 #7
    Ask one of the professors who teaches it, they would know way better then us. Most professors are glad to reply to emails sent to them about such inquiries. ODE's can be hard on their own, I have heard nightmares about PDE courses.
  9. Jun 27, 2012 #8
    Have you taken linear algebra? We did a lot of linear algebra-related stuff in ODEs. I don't know a lot about PDEs, but that might be something to consider.
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