Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

Math 541: Modern Algebra

Student Body: 

Math majors and graduate students in related areas

Background and Goals: 

This is the first semester of an introduction to basic abstract algebra. It is recommended for math majors and it is essential for students preparing for graduate studies in mathematics and in some related fields.


Math 441 is a less theoretical version of Math 541

Subsequent Courses: 

Math 542.

Course Content: 

Group Theory

  • Definition and basic properties, subgroups.
  • Examples: Cyclic groups, matrix groups, unit groups, Dihedral groups, symmetric groups, etc.
  • Group homomorphisms, cosets,  normal subgroups, factor groups fundamental theorem of homomorphisms.
  • Direct product and semi-product of groups.
  • Cayley’s theorem, Lagrange theorem.
  • Conjugacy classes, Sylow’s theorem,  group action (if time permits).

Ring Theory

  • Definition and basic properties, subrings.
  • Examples: integers, Gausian integers, Z/n,  polynomial rings,  matrix algebra, etc.
  • Ideals, quotient rings, ring homomorphisms, fundamental theorem of homomorphisms.
  • Ideals, principal ideals, integral domains,  PID, maximal and prime ideals
  • Irreducible polynomials  in a polynomial ring, division algorithm. Unique factorization, UFD.

Field Theory

  • Definition and basic properties, subfields.
  • Examples:  Q, R, C, finite fields.
  • Field extensions, number fields, in particular quadratic fields and cyclotomic fields.
3. (N-A)
MATH 341, 375, (MATH 421 and 320), (MATH 421 and 340), (MATH 521 and 320) or (MATH 521 and 340) or graduate or professional standing or member of the Pre-Masters Mathematics

UW-Madison Department of Mathematics
Van Vleck Hall
480 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI  53706

(608) 263-3054

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