Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to Abstract Algebra
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (Written Examination)  100%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (Written Examination)  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. determine whether binary operations satisfy various properties (e.g. associativity, distributivity, existence of identities and inverses);
2. determine whether given relations are equivalence relations;
3. apply the division algorithm in a range of contexts;
4. apply the Euclidean algorithm to determine highest common factors in appropriate systems;
5. perform computations using modulo arithmetic;
6. describe constructions of number systems using equivalence relations;
7. prove and apply propositions concerning numbers, polynomials and rings.

Brief description

In this module, properties of the integers and the polynomials with number coefficients in a single variable are studied in a formal setting. Using equivalence relations, algebras of equivalence classes are constructed with many of the properties of the integers and the polynomials. The notion of a ring emcompasses all the algebras encountered. The axiomatic approach is then used to establish elementary propositions for all rings and to provide a general context for the constructions.


To provide an introduction to abstract algebra by studying the basic structure systems of integers and polynomials, by constructing other related number systems and by developing the elementary aspects of theory of rings. To show how a variety of systems, from disparate areas, may be dealt with in a unified way by the development of an abstract theory which embraces them.


1. SETS AND MAPPINGS: Review of basic concepts. Cartesian products. Composition of mappings -- associativity. Binary operations. Distributivity. Equivalence relations.
2. THE INTEGERS: Factors. Division and Euclidean algorithms. Primes. Units. The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic.
3. POLYNOMIALS: Factors. The Remainder Theorem. Division and Euclidean algorithms. Irreducibles. Units. Uniqueness of factorisation of polynomials.
4. ARITHMETIC MODULO n: The congruence relation modulo n. Congruence classes. The algebra of classes, Z_n. Units and irreducibles. Linear congruences.
5. POLYNOMIALS MODULO p(x): The equivalence relation modulo p(x). The equivalence classes. The algebra of classes, F[x]_p(x). Units and irreducibles. Finite fields.
6. RINGS: The ring concept. Axiomatic definitions and elementary deductions from the axioms. Homomorphism and isomorphism of rings. Ideals and factor rings. The homomorphism theorem.
7. QUATERNIONS: Introduction to non-commutativity, basic properties of quaternions.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Adaptability and resilience Students are expected to develop their own approach to time-management and to use the feedback from marked work to support their learning.
Co-ordinating with others Students will be encouraged to work in groups to solve problems.
Creative Problem Solving The assignments will give the students opportunities to show creativity in finding solutions and develop their problem solving skills.
Digital capability Use of the internet, Blackboard, and mathematical packages will be encouraged to enhance their understanding of the module content and examples of application
Professional communication Students will be expected to submit clearly written solutions to set exercises.
Subject Specific Skills Broadens exposure of students to topics in mathematics, and an area of application that they have not previously encountered.


This module is at CQFW Level 5