Syllabus: MAT 331 Linear Algebra. Spring Semester 2014.

Updated Tue Jan 21 14:51:55 PST 2014

Instructor: George Jennings
Office: NSM A122
Phone: (310)243-3592

Office hours: Please see my website.


Linear Algebra by Cherney, Denton, and Waldron. Click the link to download a free copy or go to

This text was written by faculty in the UC Davis math department for their linear algebra course. It is available for free on the web. The electronic version has links that the reader may click to see videos and homework assignments, but for reading and carrying around it's probably more convenient to have a paper copy. Students may wish to arrange with a copy store or our bookstore to have copies and printed on both sides of the paper to make the copy more compact. If you get together and print several of them at once you can probably get a good price.

Recommended software

You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader or something equivalent to read the electronic textbook.

If you like computers you may want to learn how to solve linear problems with a computer. Large linear algebra problems involve a lot of tedious arithmetic, and many computer packages have been developed to work the arithmetic for you. Your calculator may be able to solve small linear algebra problems. When it comes to large ones a computer is better.

I will demonstrate in class how to solve linear algebra problems using the free software package Sage ( which you can use for free on the web, or on our own campus server ( Ask me to give you an account if you want to use Sage on our server.

You can also find lots of free linear algebra calculators on the web. Just google "matrix calculator" or "linear algebra calculator" and see what comes up. Wolfram Alpha (see is a very good one. There are also excellent commercial packages, for example Mathematica ( and MATLAB (, both of which are available for free in our student labs or for purchase at a cheap price for students. Octave ( a free linear algebra package that's mostly compatible with MATLAB and runs on Linux, and there are many others.

Some people like computers, others hate them. Computers aren't necessary for understanding linear algebra so I will show you how to use them but they will be only a minor topic in this course.

Course Description and Prerequisites

See the University Catalog:

Course Objectives, Expected Outcomes, and Method of Evaluating Outcomes

See the Math Department Syllabus for MAT 331 at

Grading Policy, Make up Work

20% of grade = Homework
40% of grade = Midterm exams
40% of grade = Final exam

Homework is of course the most important part because people who do not do the homework have very little chance of passing the tests.

I normally do not accept late work or give make-up exams. Please arrange your schedule so you can complete the work on time and take the tests as scheduled.

Due Dates

Please see the course calendar

Attendance Requirements

Normally I do not require attendance except on exam days, but long experience shows that students who miss a significant number of classes always flunk, or have to drop out, and lose their registration fees. If you are serious you will come to class, if you are not please don't register for this class because you will just lose your money. It's that simple.

Schedule of Examinations

Please see the course calendar.

Academic Integrity

The mathematics department does not tolerate cheating. Students who have questions or concerns about academic integrity should ask their professors or the counselors in the Student Development Office, or refer to the University Catalog for more information. (Look in the index under "academic integrity".)

Accomodations for Students with Disabilities

Cal State Dominguez Hills adheres to all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations for students with temporary and permanent disabilities. If you have a disability that may adversely affect your work in this class, I encourage you to register with Disabled Student Services (DSS) and to talk with me about how I can best help you. All disclosures of disabilities will be kept strictly confidential. Please note: no accommodation may be made until you register with the DSS in WH B250. For information call (310) 243-3660 or to use telecommunications Device for the Deaf, call (310) 243-2028.


Students will need to be able to use a web browser to access the WeBWorK homework exercises, and to follow along with Sage when we use it, but computers only play a minor part in this course.