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MX3531: RINGS AND FIELDS (2018-2019)

Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

Many examples of rings will be familiar before entering this course. Examples include the integers modulo n, the complex numbers and n-by-n matrices with real entries. The course develops from the fundamental definition of ring to study particular classes of rings and how they relate to each other. We also encounter generalisations of familiar concepts, such as what is means for a polynomial to be prime.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Ehud Meir

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

  • Basic concepts and examples. Ideals, factor rings, isomorphism theorems.
  • Rings of polynomials.
  • Field of fractions of a domain.
  • Unique Factorization Domains, Principal Ideal Domains, Euclidean Domains.
  • Passage from R to R[X]. Gauss's Theorem. Eisenstein's criterion.
  • Fields : characteristic, prime subfield.
  • Finite fields, construction.
  • Algebraic and transcendental elements, algebraic closure.


  • Rings
  • Zero divisors and integral domains.
  • Homomorphisms.
  • Ideals and quotient rings.
  • Field of fractions of an ID.
  • ID, UFD, PID and ED.
  • Polynomial rings over commutative rings.
  • Field extensions
  • Splitting fields.
  • Finite fields.

Further Information & Notes

Course Aims
The course provides an introduction to the theory of commutative rings and fields. Ideas familiar from the study of the ring Z of integers, and of the fields Q and Fp of rational numbers and of integers modulo a prime p, respectively, are developed to introduce the general concepts of ring theory.
Learning Objectives
To understand the fundamental notions of ring theory.
- To meet the main surrounding concepts, such as homomorphisms, ideals, quotient rings and Euclidean domains, as well as their relevance in the study of rings and fields.
- To study more in detail the properties of certain rings, such as the rings Z=n, the rings of polynomials over a field and the ring of Gaussian integers.
- To study featured examples of fields, such as C; Q and finite fields.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination (80%); in-course assessment (20%). Resit: 1 two-hour examination (maximum of 100% resit and 80% resit with 20% in-course assessment).

Formative Assessment

Informal assessment of weekly homework through discussions in tutorials.


In-course assignments will normally be marked within one week and feedback provided to students in tutorials. Students will be invited to contact Course Coordinators for feedback on the final examination.

Course Learning Outcomes


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