Module Catalogue 2016/17

MAS3202 : Foundations of Group Theory

  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Sarah Rees
  • Owning School: Mathematics & Statistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To introduce students to the basic ideas of group theory.

Module Summary

The course introduces the axioms of a group and explores many examples, particularly of symmetry groups, permutation groups, and matrix groups. Basic properties of groups will be demonstrated, always with reference to examples.

We shall prove Lagrange's Theorem, which tells us that for finite groups the number of elements in a subgroup divides the number of elements in the parent group. Groups of permutations will be studied systematically. We will introduce group homomorphisms and prove the Isomorphism Theorem which associates an isomorphism to each homomorphism. We also consider group actions, and Cayley's theorem and apply group actions to prove Cauchy’s and Sylow’s theorems, which are partial converses to Lagrange’s.

Outline Of Syllabus

Symmetries. Definition of group. Groups of symmetries, groups of numbers, cyclic and dihedral groups, matrix groups. Subgroups, cosets, and Lagrange's Theorem. Symmetric and alternating groups. Isomorphisms, homomorphisms, quotient groups, and the Isomorphism Theorem. Group actions, Cauchy’s, Cayley's and Sylow’s theorems.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Group axioms; examples of groups of symmetries, numbers, matrices, permutations, subgroups, homomorphisms, isomorphisms, group actions, Lagrange's, Cauchy's, Cayley's and Sylow's theorems.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Perform calculations with permutations; be familiar with symmetric, alternating, cyclic, and dihedral groups; check group axioms, verify subgroups, homomorphisms; calculate orbits and stabilizers of group actions; compute the number of orbits; calculate cosets; know and use Lagrange's, Cauchy's, Cayley's and Sylow's theorems.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Numeracy : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Written Other : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Formal lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion111:0011:00Revision for unseen Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Unseen Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion55:0025:00Written assignments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Revision lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00Problem classes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00Drop-ins in the lecture room
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study51:005:00Assignment review
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:3021:30Studying, practising and gaining understanding of course material
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work. Problem Classes are used to help develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems. Drop-ins are used to identify and resolve specific queries raised by students and to allow students to receive individual feedback on marked work. Office hours provide an opportunity for more direct contact between individual students and the lecturer.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A90unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M10N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. Written assignments (approximately 5 pieces of work of approximately equal weight) allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; this is thus formative as well as summative assessment.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2016/17 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.