MATH321-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Rings and Fields

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


An introduction to fields and rings, including applications to coding theory and the impossibility of constructions such as ‘squaring the circle’.

This course formally introduces rings and fields, which have been encountered at 100- and 200-level in special situations, and investigates their algebraic structure. It gives a deeper understanding of these algebraic concepts and thus provides a thorough grounding in the algebraic theory which underpins modern applications like cryptography, error-correcting codes, number theory or finite mathematics. If you are interested in any of these subjects or if you want to see how algebraic theory can be applied to solve certain geometric construction problems or prove their impossibility, then this is the course to take.

The topics covered by this course are:

• fundamentals of ring theory: subrings, ideals, factor rings, ring homomorphisms;  
• special rings: integral domains and polynomial rings and factorizations of elements therein;  
• fundamentals of field theory: field extensions, constructions of fields, in particular finite fields, and their uses, like the impossibility of certain geometric constructions such as trisecting the angle.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students successfully completing this course should:

  • understand a range of basic algebraic concepts.
  • have developed a high level of competence at core algebraic skills.
  • be able to confidently apply algebraic concepts in practical settings.
  • be able to present clear and logical mathematical arguments.


One of MATH203, MATH220, MATH240, or
EMTH211, and a further 15 points from MATH201-294.


MATH439, MATH311

Timetable 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00 Jack Erskine 315
22 Feb - 4 Apr
26 Apr - 6 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 12:00 - 13:00 E12
22 Feb - 28 Mar
26 Apr - 6 Jun
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 12:00 - 13:00 Psychology - Sociology 251
22 Feb - 28 Mar
26 Apr - 6 Jun

Examination and Formal Tests

Test A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 12:00 - 13:00 E12
29 Mar - 4 Apr

Course Coordinator

Gunter Steinke


Gunter Steinke and Felipe Voloch


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Tutorials 5%
Two assignments 20%
Test 25%
Final Examination 50%

To obtain a pass (C- or better), you must obtain at least 40% in the exam.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Gallian, Joseph A; Contemporary abstract algebra; 8th ed; Brooks/Cole Pub Co., 2013 (or later edition).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $788.00

International fee $4,438.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Mathematics and Statistics.

All MATH321 Occurrences

  • MATH321-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021