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Unit of study_

MATH3962: Rings, Fields and Galois Theory (Adv)

This unit of study investigates the modern mathematical theory that was originally developed for the purpose of studying polynomial equations. The philosophy is that it should be possible to factorize any polynomial into a product of linear factors by working over a "large enough" field (such as the field of all complex numbers). Viewed like this, the problem of solving polynomial equations leads naturally to the problem of understanding extensions of fields. This in turn leads into the area of mathematics known as Galois theory. The basic theoretical tool needed for this program is the concept of a ring, which generalizes the concept of a field. The course begins with examples of rings, and associated concepts such as subrings, ring homomorphisms, ideals and quotient rings. These tools are then applied to study quotient rings of polynomial rings. The final part of the course deals with the basics of Galois theory, which gives a way of understanding field extensions.


Academic unit Mathematics and Statistics Academic Operations
Unit code MATH3962
Unit name Rings, Fields and Galois Theory (Adv)
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

MATH3062 or MATH4062
MATH2961 or MATH2922 or a mark of 65 or greater in (MATH2061 or MATH2022)
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Kevin Coulembier,
Lecturer(s) Kevin Coulembier ,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam Final take-home exam
Written exam - Week 17
60% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Assignment 1
Typed mathematical assignment - long answer questions
20% Week 07 3-4 extended mathematical questions
Outcomes assessed:
Assignment Assignment 2
Typed mathematical assignment
20% Week 12 3-4 extended mathematical questions
Outcomes assessed:
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?


  • Written assignments: These will consist of 3-4 extended mathematical questions. Students will be required to type their solutions (a template will be provided). They will need to create a consice written argument.
  • Final exam: The exam will cover all material in the unit from both lectures and tutorials. The exam will be all extended answer questions. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Complete or close to complete mastery of the material.


75 - 84

Excellence, but substantially less than complete mastery.


65 - 74

A creditable performance that goes beyond routine knowledge and understanding, but less than excellence.


50 - 64

At least routine knowledge and understanding over a spectrum of topics and important ideas and concepts in the course.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction and overview, definitions of groups and rings, examples Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 02 Subgroups, cosets, Lagrange's Theorem, normal subgroups, quotient groups, the symmetric group Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 03 Subrings, polynomial rings, homomorphisms, ideals, and the First Isomorphism Theorem for groups and rings Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 04 The correspondence theorem, integral domains, field of fractions of an integral domain Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 05 Principal ideal domains, Euclidean domains, greatest common divisors, prime and irreducible elements Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 06 The unique factorisation theorem, unique factorisation domains, case study: Gaussian integers Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 07 Unique factorisation in polynomial rings, irreducibility in polynomial rings Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 08 Irreducibility in polynomial rings continued, ring and field extensions Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 09 Minimal polynomials, degree of a field extension, constructible numbers Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 10 Solution to constructibility problems, constructible polygons, splitting fields, separability Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 11 Finite fields, Galois groups, statement of the Galois correspondence, the order of the Galois group Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 12 Proof of the Galois correspondence, solving polynomial equations using radicals, insolubility of the general quintic Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 13 Revision and tying off loose ends Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Recall basics of abstract ring and field theory
  • LO2. Recall the concepts of integral domains, principal ideal domains, Euclidean domains, and unique factorisation domains, and explain the relationships between these concepts
  • LO3. Determine irreducibility in an integral domain both by applying appropriate tests and by applying techniques and methods
  • LO4. Calculate the greatest common divisor in various Euclidean domains via the Euclidean Algorithm
  • LO5. Analyse foundational examples of rings and fields including the integers, Gaussian integers, polynomial rings, the rational numbers, and finite fields
  • LO6. Compute the degree of an extension and analyse the minimal polynomial of a simple field extension
  • LO7. Analyse and solve structured problems using the solutions to the three ancient Greek geometric problems
  • LO8. Recall and apply the foundational concepts and definitions from Galois Theory
  • LO9. Determine Galois groups in various examples
  • LO10. Construct proofs, and manipulate and apply algebraic concepts with an emphasis on the clear explanation of such concepts to others

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


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