Course Guidelines for Number Theory I (MATH 4803/5803) - Fall 2009

Please read this page carefully. You will be responsible for all the information given here, and for any modifications to it that may be announced in class. Any such modifications will be made on the course webpage.

Text: The textbook for this course is Elements of Number Theory, by John Stillwell.

Instructor: Kimball Martin

Office: 924 Physical Sciences Center
Phone: 325-3537
Office hours: (tentatively) Monday 3:30-5:30 and by appointment
Course webpage:

Class Participation: Class participation (e.g., asking questions) is highly encouraged. It is not only helpful for you and other students, but it also helps me understand what you are thinking and makes class more enjoyable. If you feel uncomfortable asking questions in class, you are especially encourage to come to office hours. Attendance is not taken, except for the first two classes.

Office Hours:You are encouraged to come to office hours to ask questions and discuss the course. This is also a good way for me to receive feedback on the course. You are also welcome to make impromptu visits outside of office hours, though I may be busy or away. If it is a premeditated affair, you can make an appointment with me.

Homework: Homework is, in my opinion, the most important part of the course. Homework is where you really learn the material. You should expect written homework every week, usually due each Wednesday at the start of class, and you should plan to spend roughly 6 hours each week on work out of class. Each homework assignment will be posted on the course website, typically by the end of the day the Wednesday before it is due.

The homework policies are the following. Turning in an assignment means that, to the best of your knowledge and ability, you honestly abided by the following. Unless stated otherwise for a specific problem, you may not use calculators, computers (including the web), other texts or the solutions manuals to find the answers. Collaboration is allowed, and even encouraged, though you should earnestly try to solve each problem on your own before learning from someone else. However, you are to write up (not copy) your solutions by yourself, in your own words. Late homework is not typically accepted.

Examinations: There will be one in-class midterm examination, and a final during the final examination period. The midterm will be on TBA and the final exam is Wednesday December 16 from 4:30-6:30pm. You may not use notes, texts, calculators, computers or other references during the exams. Make-up exams are not given except in extenuating circumstances.

Papers: Students will be required to write papers on a topic of their choice (which must be pre-approved by the instructor). Students enrolled in 4803 must write 1 short paper, and students in 5803 must write 1 short paper and 1 long paper. More details will be available on the course website.

Grades: The grades will be computed as follows. A raw score is computed for you, which is

(MATH 4803)
40% Homework
10% Paper
20% Midterm
30% Final

(MATH 5803)
30% Homework
10% Short Paper
25% Long Paper
10% Midterm
25% Final

Preliminary letter grades will be assigned to raw numeric scores. Then I may adjust your final letter grade individually for such things as bonus points, attendance/participation, consistently good homeworks, or improvement throughout the term.

Withdrawal Policy: Through Sep 4, there is no record of a grade for dropped courses. From Sep 8 through Oct 2, you may withdraw and receive a “W” grade, regardless of your performance to date. From Oct 5 to Oct 30, you must come see me if you wish to drop the course. You may receive a “W” if you then have a passing grade in the course. From Nov 2 to Dec 11, withdrawing is a more serious matter, and you must consult with the Dean.

Grade of Incomplete: The grade of “I” is a special-purpose grade given when a specific task needs to be completed to finish the coursework. This is typically a term paper or other special assignment, so rarely makes sense in a mathematics course. An “I” cannot be given to avoid receiving a low grade.

Academic Misconduct: If cases of academic misconduct arise, they will be dealt with according to (rather strict) University policies. Remember that you responsible for knowing and adhering to the University guidelines for academic integrity:

as well as the student code:

Students with Disabilities: If you have a disability that may interfere with the demonstration of your abilities, please contact me as soon as possible to arrange accomodations necessary to ensure your full participation in the course. You should also contact the Office of Disability Services, Goddard Health Center, Suite 166 (325-3852 or TDD 325 4173).

Final Remark: Bear in mind that the course polices are put in place for solely your benefit. Please to not hesitate to ask me if you have any questions about these policies.