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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Mathematical Sciences

MATH42920: Functional Analysis and Applications

Type Open Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • Prior knowledge of Analysis


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce key concepts in Functional Analysis and to explore its applications in fields such as Spectral Theory and/or Partial Differential Equations (PDEs).


  • Spaces and operators: Banach and Hilbert spaces; linear operators and dual spaces; strong and weak convergence.
  • Cornerstones of Functional Analysis: Hahn-Banach theorem; Baire category theorem and uniform boundedness principle; open mapping theorem and closed graph theorem.
  • Applications - a selection of the following: Spectral theory; Hilbert space methods for PDEs; calculus of variations and optimal transport.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will:
  • Be able to solve novel and/or complex problems in the field of Functional Analysis.
  • Have an understanding of specialised and complex theoretical mathematics in the field of Functional Analysis.
  • Have mastered a coherent body of knowledge of these subjects demonstrated through one or more of the following topic areas: Spectral theorem for compact self-adjoint operators; Sobolev spaces and regularity of solutions of PDEs; Monge-Kantorovich problems and gradient flows.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will have developed advanced technical and scholastic skills in the area of Functional Analysis.
Key Skills:
  • Students will have highly specialised skills in the following areas: problem solving, abstract reasoning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures demonstrate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples.
  • Problem classes show how to solve example problems in an ideal way, revealing also the thought processes behind such solutions.
  • Formative assessments provide feedback to guide students in the correct development of their knowledge and skills in preparation for the summative assessment.
  • The end-of-year examination assesses the knowledge acquired and the ability to solve predictable and unpredictable problems.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 42 2 per week in Michaelmas and Epiphany; 2 in Easter 1 hour 42
Problems Classes 8 Fortnightly in Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 150
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
End of year written examination 3 100%

Formative Assessment:

Eight written or electronic assignments to be assessed and returned. Other assignments are set for self-study and complete solutions are made available to students.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University