Math 201: Linear Algebra
Fall 2017, MWF 10-10:50 AM
Bloomberg 272

Instructor: J. Specter
jspecter at jhu dot edu

Welcome to Linear Algebra! You've found the course website. This is the syllabus. Below you'll find important information about the content, structure and logistics of the course. Please take the time to read it carefully.

What is this course about?

This course is about Linear Algebra.

The text

Linear Algebra with Applications, Fifth Edition, Otto Bretscher. ISBN: 978-0321796943

Your grade

Your grade for this course will be calculated as the weighted average of your grades on 13 weekly homework assignments (15%, lowest HW grade dropped), a pair of midterms (23% each), and a final exam (39%).


There will be three exams in this course. Two in class midterms:

Midterm Exam 1: 10-10:50 a.m. Monday, October 9,
Midterm Exam 2: 10-10:50 a.m. Monday, November 13

and a comprehensive final exam:

Final Exam: 9-12 Noon, Wednesday, December 13.

All exams will occur in Bloomberg 272. Please bring your ID to all exams. Exams must be completed in blue or black pen. The use of textbooks, notes, and calculators will not be permitted.

No make-up exams will be offered in this course. If you have to miss an exam for a documented, legitimate reason, then your final grade will be calculated using your other exam grades.

Graded exams will be returned in section. When you receive a graded exam, please take the time to review the grading and scoring to confirm that no errors have been made. Do this before you leave the classroom. If you take your exam out of the room, it will be assumed that you accept the grade, and under no circumstances will the grade be changed. If you need additional time, please return your exam to your TA and schedule a time to continue your review. .

Lecture Notes

I will post notes from each of the lectures (after lecture 5) online on our instagram. Yes, we have an instagram.


Homework accounts for 15% of the grade for this course. It will be assigned weekly, and your homework grade will be the average of the 13 highest grades from your weekly assignments. Homework is due at the beginning of class on its posted due date. Most weeks, assignments will be posted on Friday and will be due on the following Friday. Homework must be written legibly and stapled when necessary. No late homework will be accepted.

You are encouraged to talk to your classmates about the material covered in class and collaborate on homework. However any assignment you pass in must be primarily your own work. To avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism, please write up your assignments alone and independently. If you've worked on a problem with another student, please acknowledge that collaboration in your write up (of that problem).

Homework assignments will appear weekly - posted to the following table.

Week 0 Please read sections 1.1,1.2, and 1.3
HW 1 In section 1.1, please do exercises 6,12,13,14,21. For bonus, do 1.1 exercise 30. In section 1.2, please do exercises 1,4,10,18,25. Bonus: 31 Problems Mock HW Solution due 9/8
HW 2 Read section 2.1 and 2.3 for Monday, 2.2 for Wednesday. Do exercises 17,20,36,47,57 in Section 1.3; Do exercises 6,14,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,36,63,64 in Section 2.1; Do exercises 2,4,6,7,56,64 in section 2.3. No Bonus this week. Problems due 9/15
HW 3 Today's lecture and next Monday's lecture could be augmented by reading 5.3 (this is optional and you should beware that there are terms used that we have not defined in class - consult your textbook). For the complex numbers: read 363-366 in our textbook.

The relevant reading for next Monday is 3.2 (however before reading this section please look at definition 3.1.5 and 3.1.3). Please read 3.1 for Wednesday (optionally for Monday). Please read 3.3 for Friday.

The homework for this week is: 2.2 problems 8,9,19,20,23,24,32,36, bonus: 47; 5.3 problems 33,34,35,36 Bonus: 64; 3.1 problems 4,6,8,37; 3.2 problems 6, 12, 19, 32, 42, 53
Problems + Lecture notes
due 9/22
HW 4 to be posted on 9/22 due 9/29
HW 5 to be posted on 9/29 due 10/6
HW 6 to be posted on 10/6 due 10/13
HW 7 to be posted on 10/13 due 10/23
HW 8 to be posted on 10/20 due 10/27
HW 9 to be posted on 10/27 due 11/3
HW 10 to be posted on 11/3 due 11/10
HW 11 to be posted on 11/10 due 10/17
HW 12 to be posted on 11/17 due 11/27
HW 13 to be posted on 11/24 due 12/1
HW 14 to be posted on 12/1 due 12/8

Sections and Office Hours

The goal of the section meetings is to help you bring the theory presented in the lectures into practice. Please come with questions! Graded homework will be passed back during section meetings, so it is important that you attend only the section assigned to you.

  Meeting Times Location Instructor Email: <>
Lecture 1 Tuesdays 1:30-2:20 Hodson 313 Tianyi Ren tren2
Lecture 2 Tuesdays 3-3:50 Maryland 309 Alec Farid afarid1
Lecture 3 Tuesdays 4:30- 5:20 Maryland 202 Alec Farid afarid1
Lecture 4 Thursdays 1:30-2:20 Shaffer 300 Tianyi Ren tren2
Lecture 5 Thursdays 3-3:50 Hodson 305 Lance Corbett lcorbet5
Lecture 6 Thursdays 4:30- 5:20 Hodson 210 Lance Corbett lcorbet5

In addition to the sections each of the TA's and myself will hold weekly office hour.

My office hours are:
Prof. J. Specter: Wednesdays 11:15 - 1:15 in Krieger 419 or by appointment.

TA office hours will be posted after the first section meeting.

Lance Corbett: Mondays in Krieger 207 from 4:30-5:30, Alec Farid: Thursdays in Krieger 207 from 9-10 a.m, Tianyi Ren: Thursdays in Krieger 201 from 3-4.

The TA does not have to be the TA of your section to attend their office hour.

Additional resources

Students with disabilities

Students with documented disabilities or other special needs who require accommodation must register with Student Disability Services. After that, remind the instructor of the specific needs at least two weeks prior to each exam; the instructor must be provided with the official letter stating all the needs from Student Disability Services.

There may be a student in this class who requires the services of a note taker. This is an opportunity to share notes through the Student Disability Services Office. If you are interested in performing this service, please register as a notetaker with Student Disability Services via the following URL:

JHU ethics statement

"Undergraduate students enrolled in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences or the Whiting School of Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University assume a duty to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher learning. Students are obliged to refrain from acts which they know, or under circumstances have reason to know, violate the academic integrity of the University. [The JHU Code of Ethics]"

Ethical violations include cheating on exams, plagiarism, reuse of assignments, improper use of the Internet and electronic devices, unauthorized collaboration, alteration of graded assignments, forgery and falsification, lying, facilitating academic dishonesty, and unfair competition.

Report any violations you witness to the instructor. If a student is found responsible through the Office of Student Conduct for academic dishonesty on a graded item in this course, the student will receive a score of zero for that assignment, and the final grade for the course will be further reduced by one letter grade.