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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

MATH103 Supplementary Algebra 2

First SemesterAlso available:  Second Semester
9 points

This 9-point half-paper covers methods and applications of algebra, building on MATH 160/101. It consists of the algebra component of MATH 170. However, it is not by itself a sufficient foundation for second-year algebra (MATH 241, MATH 242, MATH 272) - for these papers, MATH 170 is required.

Paper details

This paper first expands on the material on vectors and matrices begun in MATH 160/101. (Note, however, that sufficient background is provided on these topics to enable MATH 170 to be taken directly from school.) The course goes on to consider the determinant (a number associated with a matrix) and linear transformations (special mappings associated with computer graphics). The final section considers numbers and factorization, induction (used to prove sequential statements involving integers) and various counting techniques.

Potential students

MATH 103 is taken only by students who need the algebra component (but not the calculus) of MATH 170. This situation may arise when a student has transferred from another university, or has previously taken the calculus half.


MATH 160 or MATH 101 or high achievement (mostly Excellences and Merits) in NCEA Level 3 Mathematics with Calculus

Main topics

  • Algebra and geometry of 3 dimensional vectors
  • Manipulation of matrices and matrix equations
  • Introduction to linear transformations
  • Eigenvalues and eigenvectors
  • Discrete mathematics, including mathematical induction, Diophantine equations and basic counting techniques


Course materials will be available on the resource page. The book MATH 170 Algebra Outline Notes is available for purchase from the Print Shop.

Useful references

Several standard texts are suitable for reference. For example:

  • Elementary Vector Algebra by A.M. MacBeath
  • Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry by M.V. Sweet
  • Elementary Linear Algebra (Applications version) by H. Anton and C. Rorres (7th edition)
  • Introductory Linear Algebra (with applications) by B. Kolman (6th edition)

Lecturer (Semester 1)

Professor Robert Aldred (room 221A)

Lectures (Semester 1)

Monday and Wednesday at 12 noon


Attendance at tutorials is voluntary. An open system operates: tutorial classes run for up to 10 hours per week (depending on demand), and students may attend as many as they need to and are able to.

Internal Assessment

Five computer Skills Tests make up 20% of your final mark. The other 80% comes from a mix of your final exam mark and the assignment mark which is based solely on the ten marked weekly assignments.

You can check your marks by clicking on the Resources link at the top of this page.

Terms Requirement

You have to fulfil the terms requirement in order to be allowed to sit the final exam.

In this paper, to pass “terms” you need to:

  • gain at least 6/10 in each of the first four Skills Tests before the end of the 12th week
  • achieve an overall mark of 40% on the 10 assignments

Exam format

The 90-minute final exam is answered in spaces provided on the question booklet. All questions should be attempted and the number of marks available for each question is indicated on the paper. There are usually about 12 to 15 questions.

Previous exams

Final mark

Your final mark F in the paper will be calculated according to this formula:

F = 0.8max(E, (4E + A)/5) + 0.2T


  • E is the Exam mark
  • A is the Assignments mark
  • T is the Tests mark

and all quantities are expressed as percentages.

So your internal assessment counts at 1/5 weighting if that helps you.

Students must abide by the University’s Academic Integrity Policy

Academic endeavours at the University of Otago are built upon an essential commitment to academic integrity.

The two most common forms of academic misconduct are plagiarism and unauthorised collaboration.

Academic misconduct: Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as:

  • Copying or paraphrasing another person’s work and presenting it as your own.
  • Being party to someone else’s plagiarism by letting them copy your work or helping them to copy the work of someone else without acknowledgement.
  • Using your own work in another situation, such as for the assessment of a different paper or program, without indicating the source.
  • Plagiarism can be unintentional or intentional. Even if it is unintentional, it is still considered to be plagiarism.

All students have a responsibility to be aware of acceptable academic practice in relation to the use of material prepared by others and are expected to take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure no breach of acceptable academic practice occurs. You should also be aware that plagiarism is easy to detect and the University has policies in place to deal with it.

Academic misconduct: Unauthorised Collaboration

Unauthorised Collaboration occurs when you work with, or share work with, others on an assessment which is designed as a task for individuals and in which individual answers are required. This form does not include assessment tasks where students are required or permitted to present their results as collaborative work. Nor does it preclude collaborative effort in research or study for assignments, tests or examinations; but unless it is explicitly stated otherwise, each student’s answers should be in their own words. If you are not sure if collaboration is allowed, check with your lecturer.

Further information

While we strive to keep details as accurate and up-to-date as possible, information given here should be regarded as provisional. Individual lecturers will confirm teaching and assessment methods.

Multiplication by a 2x2 matrix can be used to transform points in the x-y plane — such transformations are called linear since they map straight lines to straight lines.
Apply each of these matrices to the image and see what happens to the kiwi:

Which of these do you think is reversible?

After an evening’s competition the six couples from the “Twirling Dervishes” Ballroom Dancing team headed off to the local pub for a drink. A fairly simple tavern, their local offers 6 different beers and 4 types of wine. Having crammed themselves around a table their captain, Fred, volunteered to get in the first round. Armed with the numbers of each type of drink required he set off for the bar. Being a bit of a wag, Fred decided to perform a pirouette on the way and became dizzy. When he reached the bar he had completely forgotten the order. Too embarrased to go back and ask for the order again, he just made up a selection of twelve drinks from those on offer. What is the probability that he got the order right?
... 1821-1895, published over 900 papers and notes covering nearly every aspect of modern mathematics. The most important of his work was in developing the algebra of matrices, work in non-euclidean geometry and n-dimensional geometry.