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 337
Hours/Week 9.6 (135 responses)
Instructors Tristan Collins
Overall Rating 5.3/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • The content of 18.01 was a necessary prerequisite, and some students recommended background in 18.02 and linear algebra as well.

Subject Matter

  • Most thought it was a good balance between theoretical and applied.
  • Some students found the material to be useful and very broad.

Course Staff

  • Students found the course staff approachable and caring.
  • Professor Collins and TAs were both helpful in office hours.


  • Most students learned from the lectures, and referred to the office hours and MITx to reinforce their learning.
  • Some students found the proofs in lecture to be confusing.

Problem Sets

  • Students found that lectures and office hours helped prepare them for psets.
  • Students found psets were reasonable and took 5-8 hours. Some students recommended collaborating with others.
  • Students found the “story-time” section of the pset interesting, but more abstract.


  • Students found the exams fair, but that it was very easy to lose points from small mistakes.
  • Students recommended past psets and MITx notes to study.


  • Most students used the MITx notes.
  • There was not a textbook for this course.
  • Some students wished there were more practice problems.


  • Students felt that grading was fairly lenient, but often times not transparent.
  • No expected grade distribution was given out by course staff.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Attend lectures and recitations often, read lecture notes and online resources (MIT affiliated or otherwise) when confused, attempt to solve problems and understand proofs on your own”
  2. “Don’t take this at the same time as 18.02. Give yourself room to breathe and be able to learn the two math classes’ material separately.”
  3. ”Take this course! Time well spent.“