Class Web Page for Math 403
Introduction to Abstract Algebra
Spring 2017

Instructor Information

Course Information

Topics covered

The course will be primarily about groups and rings. In groups theory we will cover: the definition of a group, examples of groups like cyclic groups and permutation groups, subgroups, group homomorphisms, cosets of subgroups, Lagrange's theorem, group homomorphisms, normal subgroups, quotient groups and the isomorphism theorems. In ring theory, we will cover: the definition of a ring, ideals, quotients by ideals, ring homomorphisms, prime ideals, maximal ideals and fields. At the beginning of the class, we will cover some topics from elementary number theory such as the Euclidean algorithm, the fundamental theorem of arithmetic and modular arithmetic. If time permits, we will prove the classification of finite abelian groups and Sylow's theorems.

After taking the class, the students should know enough about groups and rings be able to follow a course on Galois theory. This is the theory of field extensions invented by Evariste Galois to prove that general quintic polynomial equations cannot be solved in radicals.

In terms of the textbook, my goal is to cover at least Chapters 1-4. If time permits, I will cover Chapter 5.

Exams and Grades

There will be two midterm held in class on dates which will be tentatively as follows.

Midterm 1 March 8.
Midterm 2 April 19.

Course grades will be computed as follows.

Homework 20%
Midterms 40%
Final 40%


Homework will be assigned weekly and usually due on Wednesday's. It will be assigned on the homework web page linked here and at the top of this syllabus web page. Late homework will not be accepted but the lowest two homework grades will be dropped.

Classroom Etiquette

I want every student to feel free to questions in class. Without student questions, even ones that might sometimes seem silly, lectures can become very dry and monotonous. So questions and comments are more than welcome!

On the other hand, please be courteous to other students by paying attention to the lecture and not carrying on conversations with each other. These kind of private conversations can be distracting both to me and everyone else.

Please make sure that your cell phone does not ring during the lecture, and please do not use headphones. Please do not use laptops for anything not related to the class, and, if you do bring a laptop, please sit in the back so that your screen is not distracting to others.