MATH324-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Cryptography and Coding Theory

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


This course deals with the mathematical ideas underlying modern cryptography, including algebra, number theory and probability theory.

Cryptography is the science of making and breaking secret codes: encryption is what keeps our credit card details safe when we send them over the internet. We will study the mathematics behind some of the main encryption systems in current use. Coding theory comprises the other  half of the course. It provides the theory and methods for coding information so that it can be transmitted over a noisy channel and be accurately decoded by the receiver. Cryptography and coding theory draw on ideas from algebra, geometry, number theory and probability theory. The course is aimed at students majoring in computer science or mathematics. It follows on from MATH220  (Discrete Mathematics and Cryptography); it is good preparation for or a good complement  to COSC332 (Data and Network Security), COSC413 (Advanced Topics in Algorithms) and  COSC436 (Security Fundamentals). Students who do not have the appropriate background in cryptography but who wish to enroll in the course should contact the course coordinator in order to discuss their eligibility.

Learning Outcomes

  • to become familiar with the mathematics behind some of the main encryption systems currently in use
  • to develop the necessary mathematical skills to analyse the efficiency and security of cryptosystems in a rigorous mathematical setting
  • to understand the principles and theory of error-correcting codes, and the various methods for constructing them
  • to understand important ideas from classical number theory, algebra, geometry and probability theory


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


Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Felipe Voloch


Geertrui Van de Voorde


Tutorials 5%
Two Assignments 20%
Test 25%
Exam 50%

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

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Hoffstein, Pipher and Silverman; Introduction to Mathematical Cryptography,; 2nd edition; Springer, 2014.

Raymond Hill; A first course in coding theory; Oxford Univ. Press, 1990.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $780.00

International fee $4,250.00

* 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 MATH324 Occurrences

  • MATH324-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020