Mercyhurst UniversityMath DeptDr Williams Home

Math 281 Modern Algebra II

Class Resources and Handouts

Course Syllabus (pdf)
Math 280 Quick Reference
Wallpaper Groups and Symmetry Resources

Course Information

Meeting Times: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 12:00 - 12:50 pm
Location: Hirt 313
Office Hours: Monday 9-10 and 1-2, Tuesday 11:30-12:30, Wednesday 11-11:45, Thursday 8:30-9:15, Friday 9-11
Prerequisite: Math 280

Course Description

This is the second semester of a year long sequence on the study of algebraic structures. Course topics include rings, fields, an introduction to Galois theory, symmetry, the Sylow theorems, and finite simple groups.


On successful completion of the course, students should 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. This is the same text we used for Modern Algebra I.


The homework assignments given in class will be similar to those from Modern Algebra I. You will have at least one week to complete each assignment. You are free to work together on your assignments, but everyone must submit their own work, in their own words. Late homework will be accepted with a 10% per day penalty, and will not be accepted after the graded assignments are returned.


We will have two midterm exams and a final exam. The final exam will be cumulative, while the midterm exams will focus on more recent material. Both exams will be based on homework problems and the suggested textbook problems that do not need to be turned in.

Exam Dates:
Midterm Exam I: Wednesday, February 28
Midterm Exam II: Wednesday, April 18
Final Exam: Thursday, May 10, 10:30 - 12:30

Final Grades

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


This is your chance to investigate a topic in algebra on your own, and share what you've found with the rest of the class. Some information is provided below, but more detail on expectations will be discussed during the Conference Workshop on Friday, March 2. We'll use this class to discuss possible topics, where to find references, and more.

There will be three major components of your conference grade:
Other notes:
You're free to come up with your own topic for your presentation, but if you're having trouble thinking of one, here's a list of journal articles and other sources you might find something in. Summarizing an article, along with any necessary background material, in a 20 minute talk is a challenge, so keep that limitation in mind when choosing a topic.

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.