Department of Mathematics

Abstract Algebra I, MTH 310-002

Instructor: Mark Iwen
Time and Place: Lectures are MWF 12:40 pm -- 1:30 pm, in A208 Wells Hall
Office: C342 WH
Office Hours: M 1:45 pm -- 2:45 pm, T 2:30 pm -- 3:30 pm, and
W 1:45 pm -- 2:45 pm

We will discuss the structure of the integers, congruences, rings, ring homomorphisms, ideals, and quotient rings. This is a writing course with an emphasis on proofs.

Course website for MTH310-002:

The course website is mandatory reading for the course. On it you will find the course schedule, the syllabus, and supplementary reading. Homework assignments will be posted on the schedule.


Abstract Algebra, Second Edition, by Thomas Hungerford.
Cengage Learning

We will cover most, if not all, of the material discussed in chapters 1 - 7 of this book.

Supplementary Notes:

We will also utilize Professor Meierfrankenfeld's excellent notes for this class. They are freely available here.


MTH 299, MTH 309, or equivalent


Homework assignments will be given every week and will constitute 20% of your final grade. The homework questions will be posted on the web with their due dates. Posting of new assignments will be announced in class. You must submit your homework solutions during the class period on the due date unless prior permission has been granted to submit otherwise. Late homework assignments will never be graded. The lowest homework score will be dropped when computing your average homework grade. Homework solutions must be original copies in the student's own handwriting. No other submissions will be graded. Solutions must be clear and neatly written to receive credit. A subset of the homework problems will be graded each week.


There will be weekly pop quizzes, each lasting about 10 minutes. They will constitute 15% of your final grade. There are no make-up quizzes except in the case of a medical emergency, and you must provide documentation in that case. The lowest 2 scores for quizzes will be dropped when calculating your final grade.


You will be given two in-class midterm exams, and one cumulative final exam. The midterm exams will count 40% toward your final grade. The cumulative final exam will count 25% toward your final grade. There are no make-up exams except in the case of a medical emergency, and you must provide documentation in that case. A student who finds it necessary to miss an exam should contact the professor before the exam to explain the circumstances.

You will be given the first in-class midterm exam during class on Friday, October 9th. The second in-class midterm exam will be given during class on Friday, November 13th. The cumulative final exam will be held on Thursday, December 17th, from 12:45 p.m. -- 2:45 p.m..


Your final course percentage will be determined by averaging your homework, quiz, midterm exam, and final exam percentages with the following weights: Homework (20%), Quizzes (15%), Midterm Exams (40%), and the Final Exam (25%). The result of this weighted average will then be rounded to the nearest integer.

Your final grade (e.g., 3.5, 4.0, etc.) will be assigned according to a class ranking. That is, the weighted averages calculated as above for all the students in the class will be rank ordered. Finally, threshold scores (e.g., a score above which a 4.0 is earned) will be determined, thereby establishing each student's final grade in the class. The threshold scores for each grade will never be higher than those indicated in following table.

90% -- 100% A 4.0
85% -- 89% A-/B+ 3.5
80% -- 84% B 3.0
75% -- 79% B-/C+ 2.5
70% -- 74% C 2.0
65% -- 69% C-/D+ 1.5
60% -- 64% D 1.0
0% -- 59% F 0.0

Incomplete grades will be given only in unusual cases of illness or other personal emergency, which causes the student to miss a significant amount of the course. This grade cannot be given for any other reason.

Academic Integrity:

You are expected to complete in-class quizzes and exams on your own, without collaboration or the use of any outside resources. Any violation of this rule will be treated according to the MSU policies on academic integrity. Please familiarize yourself with these policies if you have not already.

You are encouraged to work with your peers on solving homework assignments. However, all submitted homework solutions must be written up in your own words. Submitting another student's written work as your own will be considered plagiarism.