18.901: Introduction to Topology

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 29
Hours/Week 9.4 (17 responses)
Instructors Anthony Conway
Overall Rating 6.3/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • Knowledge of proof-writing and abstract reasoning is a must. 18.100x is a soft prerequisite, and some experience with group theory in 18.700/18.701 is helpful but not necessary.

Subject Matter

  • The subject matter is very theoretical, with the first half of the class covering point-set topology, generalizing some notions from real analysis. Over the second half, algebraic topology is introduced to prepare students for taking higher-level topology courses, such as 18.905: Algebraic Topology I.

Course Staff

  • Supportive and well-prepared. The professor is very kind and approachable. The professor was happy to answer questions after class and was responsive over email.


  • Students found lectures helpful in introducing new concepts, but fast-paced.
  • Reading lecture notes helped answer questions, and problem sets helped solidify students’ understanding.

Problem Sets

  • Problem sets were long.
  • Some students found the problem sets to be very instructive and useful in understanding the material.
  • Others felt that the problems were repetitive and uninspiring, especially with definition questions on point-set topology near the beginning of the course.
  • Collaboration and office hours were helpful.


  • The exams were fair and straightforward applications of the material. Students found that lectures and psets prepared them well.
  • The professor was transparent about what questions to expect (one problem from lecture, one from a pset, and one new). However, some students found this to encourage memorization.


  • The professor posted comprehensive typed lecture notes. Students found them extremely useful and the main resource to reference.
  • The class followed Munkres’ Topology; a first course for point-set topology and the first part of Hatcher’s Algebraic topology for the algebraic topology half. *Office hours were helpful.


  • Students felt that grading was fair and reasonable. Cutoffs were stricter than expected (90=A, 80=B, etc. with no +/- qualifiers), and were announced before the drop date.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “I highly recommend taking this course!! It is super fun and very interesting.”
  2. “Work through as many examples as possible!”