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Math 280 Modern Algebra I

NOTE: This course begins August 23. Until then, the information here is subject to change. The final syllabus will be distributed and posted at the start of class.

Course Information

Meeting Times: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:00 - 9:50 am
Location: Hirt 213
Office Hours: TBD
Prerequisite: Math 150, Math 265

Course Description

This is the first semester of a year long sequence on the study of algebraic structures. Course topics include the properties of numbers, equivalence relations, groups, rings, fields, direct products, homomorphisms and isomorphisms, and the natural development of various number systems.


On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

Required Materials

We will be using Contemporary Abstract Algebra, 8th Edition, by Joseph A. Gallian. An older edition of the text would be fine. No other texts or materials are required. You will not be required to bring the text to class, so an electronic version is acceptable.
The book may be available as an inexpensive rental. If you plan to take Modern Algebra II (Math 281), it is highly recommended that you purchase the text, as you will need it for both semesters.


You will have several assignment due throughout the semester (generally every Friday). You should expect to spend a fair amount of time on each assignment - don't wait until the night before it's due to get started! You are free to work together on your assignments, but everyone must submit their own work, in their own words. The lowest homework grade will be dropped. Late homework will not be accepted, unless you talk to me before it's due.


We will have a midterm exam and a final exam. The midterm exam will have a take home portion, followed by an in class portion. Unlike the homework assignments, you are not permitted to work together on the take home portion of the midterm exam. The in class portion will be comprised of shorter questions based on definitions, while the take home will include some proofs. The final exam will be a cumulative exam with no take home portion.

Exam Dates:
Midterm Exam: Friday, October 20
Final Exam: TBD

Final Grades

Your final grade will be calculated as follows: Your letter grade will be determined according to the department grading scale:

Learning Differences

In keeping with college policy, any student with a disability who needs academic accommodations must call Learning Differences Program secretary at 824-3017, to arrange a confidential appointment with the director of the Learning Differences Program during the first week of classes.

Mercy Mission

This course supports the mission of Mercyhurst University by creating students who are intellectually creative. Students will foster this creativity by: applying critical thinking and qualitative reasoning techniques to new disciplines; developing, analyzing, and synthesizing scientific ideas; and engaging in innovative problem solving strategies.