Abstract Algebra I

Math 171, Fall 2017, Harvey Mudd College
Prof. Orrison

Catalogue Description

Groups, rings, fields and additional topics. Topics in group theory include groups, subgroups, quotient groups, Lagrange's theorem, symmetry groups, and the isomorphism theorems. Topics in ring theory include Euclidean domains, PIDs, UFDs, fields, polynomial rings, ideal theory, and the isomorphism theorems. In recent years, additional topics have included the Sylow theorems, group actions, modules, representations, and introductory category theory. Prerequisites: Math 40 and Math 55.


Michael Orrison ("mylastname"@hmc.edu), SHAN 3412.
Office Hours: Mondays 3:00-4:00 PM, Thursdays 1:30-2:30 PM, and by appointment (just email me).


Abstract Algebra, 3rd Ed. by David Dummit and Richard Foote. (Errata.)


There will be weekly homework (1/5 of your grade), two midterms (each 1/5 of your grade), and a final exam (2/5 of your grade). However, if the score on your final exam is greater than the average score of your two midterm exams, and you received nonzero scores on both of your midterm exams, then your final exam score will replace your lowest midterm exam score (in which case, the final exam will be 3/5 of your grade).

The grading scale will be roughly the following: A 90%-100%, A- 85%-89%, B+ 80%-84%, B 70%-79%, B- 65%-69%, and so on. Your overall homework score will be the median (rather than the average) of your individual homework scores. However, if you receive more than three zeros on your homework, then your homework grade will be reduced by five percent for each zero.


You are encouraged to discuss the homework with your classmates, and you should acknowledge their assistance on your homework submissions. Furthermore, you should feel free to use sources well beyond your textbook, personal notes, and past homework when crafting your solutions. You absolutely must, however, cite any such sources, and you must write up your final solutions on your own.

Graded homework may in some cases be rewritten and submitted at a later date. You should view these rewrites as an opportunity to solidify your understanding of several of the key ideas you will encounter throughout the course. You are therefore strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to submit rewrites of your graded homework. Additional details about homework rewrites will be given in class.

Academic Accommodations

To request academic accommodations due to a disability, HMC students should contact Deborah Kahn (dkahn@hmc.edu), our Coordinator for Student Disability Resources, as soon as possible. Students from the other Claremont Colleges should contact their home college's disability officer.