Abstract Algebra I
MATH 601
Virginia Commonwealth University

Fall 2015
TR 5:306:45
Harris Hall 4145

Instructor: Richard Hammack
Office hours:
Office: Harris Hall 4166
Tuesday 1:30–2:30
Work: 828-6237
Thursday 12:30–1:30
Home: 355-3963
Friday 12:00–1:30
E-mail: rhammack (at) vcu (dot) edu
and by appointment

Prerequisites: MATH 501 (Introduction to Abstract Algebra) or its equivalent. It is assumed that you have a good working knowledge of groups, rings and homomorphisms, and that you are aware of many examples of these structures.

Text: Abstract Algebra, Third Edition, By D. Dummit and R. Foote   (ISBN 978-0-471-43334-7)

This course investigates the structure and properties of groups, rings and fields. Although much of its content parallels that of its prerequisite, MATH 501, our point of veiw is more sophisticated. We move quickly when dealing with standard topics from MATH 501, but slow down for new material, or when greater depth is required. The course covers material selected from the first eight chapters of the text. (The sequel, MATH 602, will cover many of the later chapters.) Your grade is determined by homework assignments, a midterm, and a final exam. Details follow.
Homework Assignments are collected, graded and returned. Assignments are announced in class, and also posted on the course calendar (on the web page).
  • Papers are collected at the beginning of class on appointed days.
  • Papers submitted after the beginning of class may not be graded.
  • If you must miss class when homework is due, give it to me early or have a classmate turn it in for you.
  • You may email your work to me, but it must arrive in my inbox no later than the beginning of class on the date it is due. I sometimes do not print emailed work, so it may not get any written feedback from me.
  • Messy or disorganized work may not be graded.
  • I expect complete sentences (where appropriate) and good English usage.
  • I encourage you to work together on assignments, though the work you turn in must be your own.
  • In addition to the work you hand in, you should work lots of extra problems for practice. I maintain a suggested exercise list on the MATH 600 page.
  • Do not search for solutions on the Internet. (Many are wrong, anyway.)
  • Some problems are intended to make you think about ideas not discussed in class.
Midterm: The midterm is scheduled for Tuesday October 27. It is an in-class and closed-book test. Use of calculators is not allowed. In writing the midterm, I assume that you have been studying the material at least 6 hours per week outside of class.

Final Exam: The final exam covers only material discussed since the midterm. It is closed-book and closed-notes. It is scheduled for 4:00–6:50 pm on Thursday December 10. In writing the final exam, I will assume that you have been studying the material at least 6 hours per week outside of class, throughout the entire semester.

The 10-point grading scale is used:
A: 90100
B: 8089
C: 7079
D: 6069
F: 059

Your final average will be computed as follows:

Final Exam:


I do not take attendance. Please be aware that you are resposible for all material covered in class

Make-up Work:
If you miss the midterm for an illness or emergency, then we can discuss the details of a makeup exam. If you miss the final exam for a legitimate reason (i.e. a documented illness or emergency) then I can give you a grade of Incomplete (I) for the course, and you will need to make up the missed exam by the deadline set by the University. I will drop some low homework grades, which should take care of any missed assignments.


Last Day to Withdraw:
October 30

Information about this course is posted on my web page (not on Blackboard). Go to my home page http://www.people.vcu.edu/~rhammack/ and click on "Schedule" and then "Math 601." There you will find the syllabus, a calendar, homework assignments, and other materials. Solutions for all graded work (homework and tests) will be posted after the due dates.

Email: Any email correspondence concerning this course should be through your official VCU email address. University policy prevents me from discussing many aspects of the course through other email addresses. I may send email messages either to the whole class or individuals in the class. It is your responsibility to check your VCU email regularly.

Office: Please feel free to stop by my office whenever you have a question, or if you just want to chat. If my posted hours are inconvenient, I will be happy to schedule an appointment. Tell me if you are having trouble. Catching up can be very difficult once you get behind, so let me know as soon as you think there is a problem.

Exercises: For each chapter we cover, you should work as many of the exercises as possible for practice. See the suggested exercise list. Many of these problems will be used for the midterm and final exam. Ask me if you have questions about unassigned problems.

Accommodations: Any student eligible for and needing academic adjustments or accommodations because of a disability should contact me within the first week of class.