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MAS8708 : Groups, Graphs and Symmetry

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Duncan
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


To equip students with a range of basic tools and methods for analysing geometric and algebraic structures. To enable the students to apply these techniques to naturally occurring phenomena involving symmetries or transformations. To reinforce the students’ ability to read, understand and develop mathematical proofs.

Module summary

Groups arise naturally as concise and tractable characterisations of geometries: for example, as symmetries of regular Euclidean figures, of lattices and of graphs and their higher dimensional analogues. The interaction between group theory and geometry will be the main focus of this course. Various examples of groups given by presentations and groups acting on graphs will be studied, and the interplay between the algebraic and geometric sides of the theory exploited to understand properties of groups.

Outline Of Syllabus

Direct and semi-direct products of groups. Group actions on graphs and Cayley graphs. Free groups and
Stallings foldings. Presentations of groups and algorithmic problems.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:00Problem Classes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Revision Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00Formal Lectures
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study581:0058:00Preparation time for lectures, background reading, coursework review
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study151:0015:00Completion of in course assessments
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
MAS3708Groups, Graphs and Symmetry
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods are appropriate to allow students to develop a wide range of skills, from understanding basic concepts and facts to higher-order thinking.

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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80N/A
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
Groups, Graphs and Symmetry2N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M5Problem-solving exercises assessment
Prob solv exercises2M5Problem-solving exercises assessment
Prob solv exercises2M5Problem-solving exercises assessment
Prob solv exercises2M5Problem-solving exercises assessment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The format of the examination will enable students to reliably demonstrate their own knowledge, understanding and application of learning outcomes. The assurance of academic integrity forms a necessary part of the programme accreditation.

Examination problems may require a synthesis of concepts and strategies from different sections, while they may have more than one ways for solution. The examination time allows the students to test different strategies, work out examples and gather evidence for deciding on an effective strategy, while carefully articulating their ideas and explicitly citing the theory they are using.

The coursework assignments 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; these assessments have a secondary formative purpose as well as their primary summative purpose.

Reading Lists