18.701: Algebra I

Table of contents

  1. Course Info
  2. Realistic Prerequisites
  3. Subject Matter
  4. Course Staff
  5. Lectures
  6. Problem Sets
  7. Exams
  8. Resources
  9. Grading
  10. Advice to Future Students

Course Info

Class Size 116
Hours/Week 9.3 (57 responses)
Instructors Davesh Maulik
Overall Rating 6.4/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

*Proof writing experience is a hard prerequisite. 18.100x gives this experience, but the content is mostly irrelevant to the class itself.

Subject Matter

  • Largely theoretical and foundational for most other 18.7xx classes. Most examples used were theoretical.

Course Staff

  • Students found the lecturer and the TAs to be very approachable and helpful. Students also found the course staff to be very understanding.


  • Students found the lectures to be well paced and useful. The lectures followed the textbook very closely. Some students found it useful reading the textbook after lecture.

Problem Sets

  • Problems were a mix of straightforward and challenging problems. Office hours were often necessary to complete the problem sets, especially towards the beginning of the semester. The problems themselves were source from Artin’s Algebra.


  • The exams were significantly easier than the problem sets but had a lot of time pressure. Some students found the review sessions helpful. Grades on the exams were generally very high.


  • Many felt that the textbook was incredibly useful as a supplement to lectures.
  • The posted lecture notes were found to be fairly useful as well.


  • Students felt that grading was fair and transparent but slightly nitpicky. It was expected that most students will receive A’s.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Go to lecture! It’s really tempting to just work off the lecture notes or even just the textbook since we follow it so closely, but the process of seeing the proofs and examples worked out rather than reading them is so helpful.”
  2. “Definitely work with other people in this course and make use of the TA’s and instructor’s office hours.”