Autumn 2018


F17CC Introduction to University Mathematics
Open Office: Thursdays 12.15 to 1.15

Advice to reader

Prof Mark V Lawson

Room CM G12

Ext 3210

Email m.v.lawson[at]

A draft of my book has been made available on VISION

Errata page for book here

Background reading: Chapters 1 and 2.
1. Combinatorics. Sections 3.1, 3.2 (first page only) and 3.9. Main goal: understand and use set notation.
2. Polynomials. Sections 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4; Chapter 6; Sections 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.9. Main goal: understand the nature of the roots of a polynomial including complex ones.
3. Matrices. Chapter 8 omitting Section 8.7 and only the characteristic polynomials and their eigenvalues from Section 8.6. Main goal: solve systems of linear equations using elementary row operations.
4. Vectors. Sections 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4. Main goal: find the vector equations of lines and planes.

In conclusion: everything you wanted to know about proofs but were afraid to ask (see book for more information on proofs).


Tuesday 11.20
 Thursday 10.20
Friday 10.20
Week 1
10 Sept to 14 Sept

START OF SECTION 1: Combinatorics

Lecture 1

Lecture 2
Do: Exercises 1 and 2
Read: Prolegomena, Chapter 1,  Section 3.1
and the first page of Section 3.2
Week 2
17 Sept to 21 Sept
Lecture 4

Lecture 5

Do: Exercises 3 and Quiz 1.

Read: Section 3.4, Section 3.9 and Section 4.1
(there is much, much more here than is in the course).
The course is defined by the Exercises below

Week 3
24 Sept to 28 Sept
START OF SECTION 2: Polynomials
Lecture 7

Axioms of highschool algebra
Lecture 8
Do: Exercises 4 and 5.
Read: Sections 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4.
Read Section 4.6 for interest (not part of this course)

Week 4
1 Oct to 5 Oct
Lecture 10
Lecture 11

Read: Section 6.1.
Do: Exercises 6, Questions 1 to 4.

Test 1 Friday 5th Oct.
During lecture
Based entirely on material
in Lectures 1 to 6 inclusive
Week 5
  8Oct to 12 Oct
Lecture 12
Lecture 13

Do: Exercises 6, Questions 5, 6 and 7.  Start Exercises 7.
Read: Sections 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4.
Read: Sections 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5.
(Spread all this reading over this week and next).

Week 6
15 Oct to 19 Oct
Lecture 15

Week 7
22 Oct to 26 Oct

Week 8
 29 Oct to 2 Nov

Test 2 Friday 2nd Nov.
During lecture
Based entirely on material
in Lectures 7 to 16 inclusive
Week 9
 5 Nov to 9 Nov

Week 10
12 Nov to 16 Nov

Week 11
19 Nov to 23 Nov


Tests 20%

These are closed book tests for feedback.

Test 1. Week 4. Test paper and solutions.
Test 2. Week 8.

Final Exam 80%
The goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the ideas and methods of university mathematics that will form the foundation for your further studies, therefore past papers will not be made available for this course.

The exam will consist of questions which are of the same type as the tutorial questions as well as proofs from the lectures, exercise sheets and tests.
I will also expect you to know definitions and the statements of theorems.

All students are individually responsible for finding out when and where their exams are.

Exam Advice

1. READ each question thoroughly to ensure that you answer all parts of the question and that you have interpreted the question correctly.

2. COMMUNICATE your answers. Your solutions must be CLEAR and SELF-EXPLANATORY not written in an ideolect that only you know or adorned with hieroglyphics that only you can interpret. It is NOT the job of the marker to figure out what you meant or to detect the correct solutions amongst a sea of calculations. COMMUNICATION is not talking to yourself but expressing yourself to others.

3. CHECK your answers. This means checking that your solution answers the question originally posed. Do NOT ASSUME that your calculations are correct; do NOT ASSUME you have not made any mistakes. Your default position should be --- I might have made an error. If you find an error CORRECT IT.

Tutorials are on Thursday afternoons
Teaching assistants: Calum Ross and Nikoletta Louca

Tutorials start in week 2

If your programme is not mentioned explicitly below
please go to the tutorial given in your timetable

Maths students means all students on a Maths or a Maths and/with degree

email me if there are work conflicts

To be confirmed
AMS students surnames A to L
AMS students surnames M to Z
Maths students surnames A to J
(but not Maths and/with CS)
All MSAS students
Maths Students surnames K to Z
All Maths with/and CS

Remember: the final exam paper will be closely based on questions selected from the exercise sheets below


Exercises 1
Warm up

Exercises 2
Section 1
Basic set theory
Exercises 3
Section 1
Basic counting
  QUIZ 1
Exercises 4
Section 2
Basic algebra
Exercises 5
Section 2
The Binomial theorem
Exercises 6
Section 2
Complex numbers
Exercises 7
Section 2
Exercises 8
Section 3
Exercises 9
Section 3
Exercises 10
Section 4
Exercises 11
Section 4




Solutions 1

Solutions 2
Solutions 3

Solutions 4 Solutions 5
Solutions 6

Solutions 7

Solutions 8
Solutions 9

Solutions 10

Solutions 11

You can find the solutions

to these questions
in the solutions to
the book exercises on VISION

Further reading and additional exercises

R. Hammack, Book of proof, VCU Mathematics Textbook Series, 2009. This book can be downloaded for free here.

J. Olive, Maths: a student's survival guide, second edition, CUP, 2006.

S. Lipschutz and M. Lipson, Discrete mathematics, revised third edition and onwards, Schaum's Outlines, McGraw-Hill Education, 2009.

S. Lipschutz and M. Lipson, Linear Algebra, fifth edition, Schaum's Outlines, McGraw-Hill Education, 2013.

C. McGregor, J. Nimmo, W. Sothers, Fundamentals of university mathematics, 3rd Revised Edition,  Woodhead Publishing Ltd, 2010.

Useful links

Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching 
University of Plymouth

Online maths calculator
This is a nice multi-purpose site by Milos Petrovic.
You can check many of the calculations covered in my course via this site.

Online matrix calculator

Another online matrix calculator

An online version of Book 1 of Euclid's Elements

The MacTutor history of mathematics

A history of calculating

Understanding math(s)  
Excellent advice on learning and understanding mathematics by Peter Alfeld at the University of Utah.