MA3G6 Term 2 2016

Module Description

Commutative Algebra is the study of commutative rings, their modules and ideals. This theory has developed over the last 150 years not just as an area of algebra considered for its own sake, but as a tool in the study of two enormously important branches of mathematics: algebraic geometry and algebraic number theory. See also the description in the Undergraduate Handbook.


Name Office E-mail Phone Office Hour
Diane Maclagan C2.26 Zeeman Building D.Maclagan at (024) 7652 8333 Mondays 1pm

Course Times and Location

What Where When
Lecture MS.01 (Zeeman building) Monday 16:00-17:00
Lecture H0.51 (Humanities) Wednesday 10:00 -11:00
Lecture MS.02 (Zeeman building) Thursday 12:00 -13:00
Support class B1.01 (Zeeman building) Thursday 13:00-14:00

Recommended Texts

Much of this module will follow Reid's Undergraduate commutative algebra. An excellent reference for the material on Grübner bases is Ideals, Varieties, and Algorithms, by Cox, Little, O'Shea.

A comprehensive introduction to commutative algebra is Eisenbud's Commutative algebra with a view toward algebraic geometry. I will follow the notation and conventions of this book (though we will only cover a fraction of it in ten weeks!) A classic reference is Atiyah, MacDonald Introduction to commutative algebra.

Other references include Sharp's Steps in commutative algebra, and Zariski and Samuel's Commutative algebra. There are multiple copies of these books in the library; the links above are to the catalogue. If you want to buy copies of any of these books, I recommend first looking at a site like, which searches multiple independent bookstores.


There is a forum for this module. You are strongly encouraged to ask any questions you have about the module on this forum (as well as in/after class, in support class, and in office hours). You can also answer other people's questions if you know the answer. Any emails about this module without personal content will be answered on the forum, and such questions asked on the forum will always take priority over emails.

A handout introducing Macaulay 2 is available here.

A handout for the lectures on primary decomposition is available here.


There will be homework assignments every two weeks. Homework assignments and due dates will be posted on the schedule webpage, which will also have the reading for the following week. You are encouraged to work on homework together, but you should write up the solutions yourself. No late homework will be accepted. The lowest homework score will be dropped, however, when calculating your homework mark. Homework will be due at 2pm on the Tuesdays indicated on the schedule page (except week 10, which is due on Thursday).
Your final mark for this module will depend 15% on your homework, and 85% on the examination in Term 3.