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 82
Hours/Week 6.7 (20 responses)
Instructors W. Gilbert Strang (lecturer)
# of Responses to Course 18 Underground Questions 8/20

Realistic Prerequisites

  • Taking 18.06 or having some experience with linear algebra is helpful.
  • Some familiarity with scientific computing languages like Python, MATLAB, or Julia can also be helpful.

Subject Matter

  • A mixture of both theoretical and applied material in the problem sets.
  • The final project and Prof. Strang’s various explanations of real world uses of linear algebra, such as deep learning, create a solid base of applied knowledge for use in engineering.

Course Staff

  • Prof. Strang is very approachable. He cares a lot about the students’ learning, and his love of teaching linear algebra is infectious.
  • The course staff is very helpful and approachable as well. Though they had some disorganization issues with the online format at first, such as being unresponsive on Piazza, the staff became more organized and helpful over time.


  • When lecturing, Prof. Strang uses many examples and works through hard concepts by thinking them through with the students. He frequently makes connections between different topics by way of figures and examples.
  • The pace of the lectures is easy-going and the explanations are clear.
  • The lectures are taught from the pre-typed Zoom notes, which make them less engaging and harder to follow, since little advantage is taken of the online setting (such as polls or chat discussion) and copying things like pre-typed example matrices is inconvenient. These problems will likely be mitigated by in-person lecturing.

Problem Sets

  • There are four problem sets, one every two weeks, and then a final project.
  • The problems sets are fun and not very challenging.
  • The lectures prepare students well for the problem sets, which make new connections between bits of material covered in lecture. Some find this illuminating and creative, but some find this unintuitive and challenging, in particular, in the deep learning section.


  • There are no exams!


  • A set of Prof. Strang’s “Zoom notes”, from which he teaches lectures.
    • There is also a textbook from Prof. Strang that you can request from him.


  • The grading policy is lenient, but vague.
  • While some students feel nervous about whether they might get a B, many students feel they could focus on the material without stressing about their grade.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Please just focus on Prof. Strang’s lectures!! He is a pure legend when it comes to Linear Algebra!!”
  2. “Work with others on the p-sets!
  3. “Insist on Piazza questions getting answered.”