Algebraic Structures I (Honors) -- Mathematics 546

Frank Thorne - Fall 2013

University of South Carolina

Instructor: Frank Thorne, LeConte 400G, thorne [at] math [dot] sc [dot] edu

Office Hours: TBA.

Course objectives/learning outcomes:

Successful students will: In addition, students will also:

Warning. You should expect 8-10 hours of homework a week in this class, which is more than most other instructors assign; in my experience there is no other way to learn the material. Your consistent effort will certainly lead to improved understanding, and it will almost certainly lead to you earning high grades.

  • Text : Dan Saracino, Abstract Algebra: A First Course (Second Edition) and Charles Pinter, A Book of Abstract Algebra (Second Edition)

    These books are not available at the campus bookstore. Please purchase them online (and contact me if you have any difficulties doing so).

  • Lectures : Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:50-4:05, LeConte 405.

  • Exam schedule : Exams will be take home, timed (3 hours; 4 hours for the final), closed book, and pledged (you will be asked to sign a pledge saying that you did not receive or give any unauthorized aid on the exam). After each midterm is passed out, you will have a window of one week in which to do it. You are asked not to talk about the exam to anyone except me, even after you have completed it, until it is due and everyone has turned it in. The dates for the midterm will be given at least two weeks in advance.

  • Homework :

    Warning. I assign a lot of homework.

    The homework is intended to take 8-10 hours a week. That is a lot. Please count on making a consistent effort to do well in this class! Starting the night before is a bad idea.

    If homework takes you more than 10 hours on any given week, then that is more than I intended; please let me know.

    There will be at least one bonus problem on each homework, each worth one or two points, up to a maximum score of 12/10 on each week's homework. This is the only way to earn extra credit; please note that bonus problems will not be accepted late.

    Graduate credit: If you want graduate credit, you are required to do at least one bonus problem from every other homework (i.e., do one from HW1 or HW2, etc.) Bonus problems on top of that count for extra credit.

  • Grading :

    Please note. You will be graded both on correctness and on quality of exposition. Indeed, a major focus of Math 546 is the ability to communicate mathematical ideas clearly. The standard is that someone who doesn't know the answer should be able to easily follow your work. In particular, please write in complete English sentences and draw clear diagrams where appropriate. Any work that is confusing, ambiguous, or poorly explained will not receive full credit.

    Grading scale : You are guaranteed the following: A = 88+, B+ = 82+, B = 74+, C+ = 68+, C = 60+, D = 50+. Actual cutoffs might be more generous. Note that the grading scale is more generous than the usual 10-point scale -- not because I am a softie, but because the material will be difficult.

      Grade component     % of grade  
      Two midterm exams     15% x 2  
      Final exam:     30%  
      Homework:     40%  

  • Contacting me : Please contact me if you have any questions about the course, about my expectations, about my lectures, about the homeworks, about the reading, or about anything else. The syllabus is demanding and it is my job to help you succeed. The best ways to get help are to come to office hours (no appointment necessary) or to e-mail me (I will almost always reply within 24 hours). If neither of these work for you then please e-mail me to set up an appointment.

    Please note: If you come to office hours, please don't be shy about interrupting me! I'm usually in the middle of something, but it can wait.

  • Make-up policy :

    If you have a legitimate conflict with any of the exams it is your responsibility to inform me at least a week before the exam. Otherwise makeup exams will be given only in case of documented emergency.

    Late homework will be accepted once per student, up to a week late; after that, no late homework please except in case of emergency.

    Academic honesty and attendance are expected of all students.

    Calculators will not be needed or allowed.

  • Lectures and homeworks :

    8/21: Introduction.

    8/23: Binary operations and groups (Saracino, Ch. 1-2). Homework 1, due Tuesday, September 1 in class.

    Homework 2, due Thursday, September 11. (Covers Saracino, Ch. 2-3).

    Homework 3, due Tuesday, September 22. (Covers Saracino, Ch. 4).

    Homework 5, due Thursday, October 31.