Least-squares differential quadrature method (DQM) is used for solving the ordinary differential equations in time, obtained from the application of dual reciprocity boundary element method (DRBEM) for the spatial partial derivatives in diffusive-convective type problems with variable coefficients. The DRBEM enables us to use the fundamental solution of Laplace equation, which is easy to implement computation ally. The terms except the Laplacian are considered as the nonhomogeneity in the equation, which are approximated in terms of radial basis functions. The application of DQM for time derivative discretization when it is combined with the DRBEM gives an overdetermined system of linear equations since both boundary and initial conditions are imposed. The least squares approximation is used for solving the overdetermined system. Thus, the solution is obtained at any time level without using an iterative scheme. Numerical results are in good agreement with the theoretical solutions of the diffusive-convective problems considered. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.