‘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 21
Hours/Week 8.1 (11 responses)
Instructors Daniel Alvarez-Gavela
Overall Rating 6.9/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • 18.100x is helpful for having proof-writing experience, and taking 18.701 helps with the group theory content.

Subject Matter

  • Most thought the class was very theoretical, especially the first half, which was a lot of setup.
  • The second half of the class went more concretely into algebraic topology, which students enjoyed.

Course Staff

  • The professor was very approachable and made class enjoyable and interesting. Most thought the professor was a good lecturer and hosted good office hours.


  • Most students said lectures were the main way they learned the content.

Problem Sets

  • Problems felt fair and appropriate to the content in lectures.
  • Students reported they worked on problem sets alone.


  • Exams contained challenging problems, but not all were required to do well.
  • All exams were open book/notes.


  • Most students relied on lecture notes which were released by the professor on Canvas.
  • There was also a textbook, but not many students felt it was necessary to consult it.


  • Students felt that grading was mostly fair, but slightly non-traditional, although lenient.
  • It was sometimes easy to lose points because homework was graded out of such a small total.
  • Grade cutoffs were not known in advance.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Try to attend lectures in the second half.”