Math 411: Honors Algebra
Fall 2019, Mon/Wed 12-1:15 PM
Kreiger 306

Instructor: J. Specter
jspecter at jhu...

Office Hours: Tuesdays 9:30 - 11 in Krieger 419 or by appointment.

Welcome to Algebra! You've found the course website. This is the syllabus. Below you'll find important information about the content, structure and logistics of the course.

What is this course about?

This course is mostly about Group Theory. It is an honors, proof-based first course in Algebra.

The textbook

Algebra: Chapter 0 by Paolo Aluffi

Your grade

Your grade will be the weighted average of your weekly homework assignments (30%, lowest grade dropped), weekly quizes (10%, lowest dropped), a midterm exam (20%), and an in-class final (40%).

The exams

There will be two exams in this course. One in class midterm

Midterm Exam 1: 12-1:15 p.m. Monday, October 29

and a comprehensive final exam:

Final Exam: 10am-1pm Saturday, December 15.

No make-up exam will be offered in this course. If you have to miss the midterm exam for a documented, legitimate reason, then your exam grade will be calculated using your grade on the final alone.


Homework accounts for 30% of the grade for this course. Most weeks it will be assigned on Wednesday and will be due the following Wednesday. Homework is due at the beginning of class on its posted due date. Most weeks, assignments will be posted on Thursdays and will be due on the following Thursday.

You are encouraged to talk to your classmates about the material covered in class and collaborate on homework. However any assignment you pass in must be primarily your own work. To avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism, please write up your assignments alone and independently. If you've worked on a problem with another student, please acknowledge that collaboration in your write up (of that problem).

Homework 1, Due 9/12/18

Homework 2, Due 9/19/18

mework 7, Due 10/24/18 Quiz7 Solutions

**Correction: On 2(b) show that the order of g*h divides lcm(order(g),order(h)). **Correction: There is an indexing error in 4(a). A new draft has been posted.

Homework 3, Due 9/26/18

Homework 4, Due 10/3/18

**Correction: On 2(d), show that there are 20 subgroups isomorphic to S_3 (a previous version of this assignment asked you to show that there were 40).

Homework 5, Due 10/10/18

Homework 6, Due 10/17/18 Selected Solutions for Homework and Quiz

Homework 7, Due 10/24/18 Quiz7 Solutions

Midterm Solutions

Homework 8 Due 11/7/18 HW7 Solutions Quiz 8 Solutions

Homework 9 Due 11/14/18

Homework 10 Due 11/28/18 HW10 Solutions

Homework 11 Due 12/5/18 HW11 Solutions


There will be a 5-10 minute quiz during each section meeting. They will ask you to recall either a definition or a simple proof from class, and may ask you to do a short computation. The quizzes count for 10% of your grade and the lowest quiz grade will be dropped.

Section Meeting

The section for this couse meets on Fridays at 12-12:50 in Latrobe 107. The goal of the section meetings is to help you bring the theory presented in the lectures into practice. Please come with questions! Graded homework will be passed back during section meetings and you'll have your quiz. Be there or be square.

Additional resource

  • Math Help Room. Located in 213 Kreiger Hall -- check link for schedule. Offers additional help from math graduate students.

Students with disabilities

Students with documented disabilities or other special needs who require accommodation must register with Student Disability Services. After that, remind the instructor of the specific needs at least two weeks prior to each exam; the instructor must be provided with the official letter stating all the needs from Student Disability Services.

JHU ethics statement

"Undergraduate students enrolled in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences or the Whiting School of Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University assume a duty to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher learning. Students are obliged to refrain from acts which they know, or under circumstances have reason to know, violate the academic integrity of the University. [The JHU Code of Ethics]"

Ethical violations include cheating on exams, plagiarism, reuse of assignments, improper use of the Internet and electronic devices, unauthorized collaboration, alteration of graded assignments, forgery and falsification, lying, facilitating academic dishonesty, and unfair competition.

Report any violations you witness to the instructor. If a student is found responsible through the Office of Student Conduct for academic dishonesty on a graded item in this course, the student will receive a score of zero for that assignment, and the final grade for the course will be further reduced by one letter grade.