‘18.03: Differential Equations’

Table of contents

  1. Course Info
  2. Realistic Prerequisites
  3. Subject Matter
  4. Course Staff
  5. Lectures
  6. Problem Sets
  7. Exams
  8. Resources
  9. Grading
  10. Advice to Future Students

Course Info

Class Size 327
Hours/Week 8.9 (104 responses)
Instructors Jörn Dunkel
Overall Rating 5.4/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • The content of 18.01 was a necessary prerequisite.
  • Some felt that the material of 18.02 and 18.06 made the class even more understandable.

Subject Matter

  • Most thought it was a good balance between theoretical and applications of the theories.
  • Overall, students reported the class to be very foundational, helping them build intuition and understand problems in the field.

Course Staff

  • A mixed bag.
  • Many reported their TAs to be very approachable and caring and found the course staff lenient around extensions.
  • At the same time, some reported their TAs to be unprepared, and felt that their requests for extensions were ignored.


  • Most students believed that they learned the most from the MITx materials.
  • Lectures were clear and also helpful, but many students reported that they were not very engaging.

Problem Sets

  • Most students found the PSets challenging but fair.
  • Some found that the lectures did not fully introduce the content in the PSets.
  • Collaboration on PSets with people was helpful.


  • Students felt that the exams were of the right difficulty, and followed the content presented in class and on review materials.
  • At the same time, most students mentioned time pressure.


  • Both lecture notes and MITx notes were provided, and almost all students felt these were extremely useful and more than sufficient to do well.


  • Students had a mix of opinions on grading. Most found it fair and transparent, but some mentioned that distributions were not released, and found PSet grading harsh.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Go to recitations and lectures because they are very helpful.”
  2. “Don’t be afraid, this class is not as hard as it seems.”
  3. ”Use the MITx notes, and if possible always know why what you’re doing is done. This class is much more tedious when you’re doing math for math’s sake, but having an example or situation either provided to you or imagined grounds things and makes them easier to learn.”
  4. ”If you absolutely need to take the class, take it with friends, make time for OH and pray they’ve fixed their management.”
  5. ”Be on top of it, but don’t be afraid to ask for help.”