University of Rhode Island MTH316: Algebra
Spring 2017

Course Topics

Here is a basic outline of the topics we will cover (time permitting!) this semester.

Here are (some of) the topics that will be covered in this class.


  1. Definition of a group and understanding of basic properties of groups, as well as some fundamental examples of groups arising in geometry, linear algebra etc.
  2. Definition of a subgroup. Subgroup tests and how to use them in important contexts. Finite groups and the order of groups. Generators. Centres and Centralisers.
  3. Cyclic groups and classification of their subgroups (Fundamental Theorem of cyclic groups). Order of an element.
  4. Permutation groups. Cyclic notation of permutations. Transpositions. Order and sign of permutations. Alternating groups.
  5. Isomorphisms of groups. Cayley's Theorem. Properties of isomorphisms. (Inner) automorphisms.
  6. Cosets. Lagrange's Theorem and applications. Index of a subgroup. Orbit-stabiliser Theorem.
  7. External direct products of groups and their properties. Applications.
  8. Normal subgroups and normal subgroup test. Factor groups and internal direct products.
  9. Group homomorphisms and properties. First Isomorphism Theorem.
  10. Fundamental Theorem of Finite Abelian groups. Isomorphism classes of abelian groups.

Course Goals

By the end of the course, you should
  • be able to define a group and give some simple examples of such objects.
  • be able to prove simple results about groups.
  • understand important concepts in group theory, including
    • Subgroups
    • Cyclic groups
    • Permutation Groups
    • Isomorphisms
    • Group products
    • Normal subgroups
    • Homomorphisms and the First Isomorphism Theorem.
  • be able to cope with abstract mathematical ideas and observe how they allow the proof of general results.