Introduction to Programming with MATLAB

This course teaches computer programming to those with little to no previous experience. It uses the programming system and language called MATLAB to do so because it is easy to learn, versatile and very useful for engineers and other professional.

About the Course

MATLAB is a special-purpose language that is an excellent choice for writing moderate-size programs that solve problems involving the manipulation of numbers. The design of the language makes it possible to write a powerful program in a few lines. The problems may be relatively complex, while the MATLAB programs that solve them are relatively simple: relative, that is, to the equivalent program written in a general-purpose language, such as C++ or Java. As a result, MATLAB is being used in a wide variety of domains from the natural sciences through all disciplines of engineering to finance and beyond, and it is heavily used in industry. Hence, a solid background in MATLAB is an indispensable skill in today’s job market.

Nevertheless, this course is not a MATLAB tutorial. It is an introductory programming course that happens to use MATLAB to illustrate general concepts in computer science and programming.

Students who successfully complete this course will:

  • become familiar with general concepts in computer science
  • gain an understanding of the general concepts of programming
  • obtain a solid foundation in the use of MATLAB

This is an introductory college-level course in computer science for engineering and science students. However, it is also suitable for high school students who are interested in programming. The material assumes no background in mathematics beyond the standard high school curriculum. Students taking the course will get a MATLAB license free of charge for a three-month period.

Course Syllabus

The course is divided into the following 8 weekly modules:

Week 1: Introduction to MATLAB

Week 2: Matrices and Operators

Week 3: Functions

Week 4: Programmer’s Toolbox

Week 5: Selection

Week 6: Loops

Week 7: Data Types

Week 8: File Input/Output

Recommended Background

Facility with basic high school math or equivalent is recommended.

Suggested Readings

Although the lectures are designed to be self-contained, we recommend (but do not require) that students refer to the eBook, Fitzpatrick and Ledeczi, “Computer Programming with MATLAB,” which was written specifically for this course.

Getting started with Matlab by rudra pratap


The ability to formulate an engineering problem in a mathematical form appropriate for subsequent computational treatment and to choose an appropriate numerical approach.

The ability to select, test, and use (or reject) third-party numerical programs with confidence.

The ability to solve engineering problems by computational approaches through a combination of MATLAB scripts (typically rather short) and validated and informed calls to MATLAB or third-party numerical routines.

Attitudes and Professional Values

A commitment to always provide with any numerical prediction or recommendation some indication of error and uncertainty—and associated engineering implications—due to numerical treatment (and modeling error, however the latter is the emphasis of other MechE subjects).

Course Delivery

The course delivery includes lectures, recitations, Programming assignments, problem sets and MATLAB exercises.

Lectures will comprise motivation/engineering demonstrations, blackboard review of key concepts, animations of numerical techniques, and examples of MATLAB implementations. The lectures will emphasize the math and numerics, but also the connection to MATLAB programming.