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Vanderbilt University

Introduction to Programming with MATLAB

Vanderbilt University via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


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 professionals. 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 uses 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, and obtain a solid foundation in the use of MATLAB.

Students taking the course will get a MATLAB Online license free of charge for the duration of the course. The students are encouraged to consult the eBook that this course is based on. More information about these resources can be found on the Resources menu on the right.

Taught by

Akos Ledeczi, Michael Fitzpatrick and Robert Tairas


4.8 rating, based on 204 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Introduction to Programming with MATLAB

  • Profile image for Robert Mattera
    Robert Mattera

    Robert Mattera completed this course.

    Below I'll post a private email I sent to Dr. Fitzpatrick telling him what I thought about the course: My name is Robert Mattera and I'm a graduate student at Rutgers University in Plant Science. For years now I've been saying I wanted to program…
  • Profile image for Nisheet Patel
    Nisheet Patel

    Nisheet Patel completed this course.

    Prof. Fitzpatrick is an excellent teacher. Apart from the fact that he delivered the subject matter in a crisp and concise manner, I love his sense of humour too. The style of presentation is really neat. The assignments were excellent too; they ver…
  • My name is Daniel Teshale. I am 28 years old. I am Ethiopian. I am Mechanical Engineer. I have BSc. in Mechanical Engineering (Design focus area) from Aksum University. And I have MSc in Industrial Design from Defence University College.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I am a Speech-Language pathologist whom started to work with brain image data analysis. I came across Matlab in this journey and got interested in learning the basics of programming to better understand the script written by my collaborators. Then,…
  • Kwame Oppong Hackman

    Kwame Oppong Hackman completed this course.

    The course was amazing and I enjoyed every part of it; the video lessons by Prof Fitzpatrick are excellent. The many years of Prof Fitzpatrick's extensive experience is visible in the course through his command over the material and his humorous statements; any time I felt I was getting bored there was a statement from the good professor that made me laugh again. The other professors (e.g. Akos) and the TAs, especially Aatish Kumar were greatly helpful. The course is too great; it's hard to drop out. I'm not a computer science student but I completed it successfully! All thanks to the everyone who supported in putting the course together.
  • Simon Buchholz completed this course.

    The video lectures are very good and interesting. The homework is very challenging and takes it time but it's very satisfying when it's done. A highlight is that you get MATLAB free for the time of the course and a few weeks after that. It's probably a good promotion for them too because people want to buy a full version afterwards to not get out of training... But luckily I'm a student and I get the student version for less. In conclusion i must say that it was a very great course and if I had known how much work it would be I'd probably bought a verified certificate too.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Having completed the course, I was not impressed with many aspects. The textbook was not that helpful when it came to the homework problems. The time stated to complete the course was 4-6 hrs per week. With the lectures at 1-2 hours per week, that…
  • Aqsa Khaskheli
    Aqsa Khaskheli completed this course.
    the course was azaming and i enjoyed every part of it.
    the video lectures are very interesting. the homework is very challenging and takes.
  • Aditya Govardhan completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Lectures: Brilliant. Prof. Fitzpatrick is an experienced programmer and he is very well accustomed to thinking processes of students. At times he is funny too and keeps you quite engaged in the lecture. I have watched the lectures twice and found eq…
  • Octavian Datcu completed this course, spending 11 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Very comprehensive course. Very well informed. There's a book available, very well written and with lots of exercises. Explanations were all very clear.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is an excellent course. I had already used Matlab in the past for Linear Algebra and Numerical Methods in university but this was a long time ago and I wanted to refresh my knowledge about it. Initially when I saw course topics I thought this…
  • Scott Siclari completed this course.

    This course is the epitome of a perfect online course; everything from the lesson plan, lesson formats, video formats, homework formats and grading. This course does establish you with the basic programming concepts you'll need as a programmer as we…
  • Mackenzie Endres

    Mackenzie Endres completed this course.

    This was my first experience with an online course and my first real programming course. That being said, I was impressed with the quality of the videos and assignments. I learned a lot more than I expected from this course, but I had to work hard. Dr. Fitzpatrick did a wonderful job keeping the videos engaging with a delightful sense of humor. The examples helped with assignments without giving them away, and the cTAs for the course were very responsive and helpful. I would recommend this course to anyone looking to learn or brush up on their programming skills. If you are new to programming (like me), the course is challenging. I would plan on spending a good amount of time on this to build a solid foundation.
  • Dmitrijs Kass

    Dmitrijs Kass is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I'm on the 3rd week of the course. Wow, the course is fantastic! The instructor is among the best I've seen:
    1. You'll see from the start - an instructor is ultra-professional in both programming AND teaching.
    2. Difficulty goes gradually from low to high and the pace is just optimal.
    2. Every example shows some specific and important aspect. As a result, each example teaches something important.
    3. Many aspects and pitfalls are explained by using examples where errors are made on purpose. The instructor attempts braking the standard rules and shows what happens then.
    4. The instructor uses humor, which keeps my smiling and enjoying the course!

    That's my impression during the Week 3.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The lectures in this course are at the junior high school level and are very boring; the examples given are all very trivial. But at least the lectures fit the description of the course as being for complete beginners. Then there are the problem s…
  • Ishan Panthi completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Let's take it step by step. First, the teaching. It is exactly like in the memes which had comparison of what you get taught and what comes in exam. It is stated that it is aimed at people with little to no knowledge in programming, but I can safely say it isn't true.The only thing good and the best which other MOOC's didn't have is the tough assignments, which you needed a solid grasp in the concept to do. The reading was all copy pasted from the referred book, the body language was not solid. Good luck to future learners but please don't begin programming with this.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Excellent course! The organization was perfect with clear, high quality videos and homework sets. The discussion board was constantly monitored by one or more teaching assistants who gave great hints without giving away the answers.

    As a novice, the class time and homework was probably closer to 12 hours per week for me. I got through week 5 before the demands of grad school swept in and couldn't complete the rest. If offered again, I will definitely repeat it.

    The professor's videos are excellent!
  • Pooya Daravi

    Pooya Daravi completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This course provides a great starting point for learning MATLAB Programming.
    Although slow at some points, the lectures are very well explained. The accompanying textbook is also a great resource and is priced very reasonably.
    The course does not delve into the graphical capabilities of MATLAB or other specific features for that matter. My guess is that the instructors probably wanted to cover only the most basic syntactic components of MATLAB and leave further specific investigation to the students.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course help me out tremendously in understanding how MATLAB works and providing basic MATLAB skills. I joined a lab that requires writing algorithms to control data acquisition of many hardware components. This course gave me the fundamental skills that will make my life a little easier when beginning to program and navigate though MATLAB. This course was a time-saver. I am very grateful for the instructors, TAs, fellow classmates, and everyone else who made this course possible. Thank you.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I am not a programmer by profession, so as a dabbler in programming I would say that this course was very informative, brief and precise. Professor Mike is quite an excellent professor, he knows how to explain difficult concepts and I loved his puns in between the lectures. The assignments do test your understanding of the concepts pretty well and give you that sense of self confidence when you are done with them.

    I would recommend this course to anyone trying to put their hands on Matlab.

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