‘18.781: Theory of Numbers’

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 26
Hours/Week 8.9 (14 responses)
Instructors Minh-Tam Trinh
Overall Rating 6.4/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • Some experience with proofs was necessary.
  • Some felt that prior knowledge of group theory and complex numbers was helpful, but not at all necessary.

Subject Matter

  • The material was mainly theoretical and very foundational.

Course Staff

  • All students felt that the instructor was very helpful and friendly.
  • The instructor posted hints for common questions on problem sets, and was accommodating of schedules as well.
  • No office hours were scheduled for this class.


  • Most felt that the lectures were very well paced.
  • Students felt that they learned equally from the lectures and the problem sets, with problem sets building on the concepts that were laid out in class.

Problem Sets

  • Most students found problem sets fun, satisfying, and appropriately challenging.
  • Problems were a mix of proof-based and computation-based.
  • Problem sets were only due once every 2 weeks.
  • Many collaborated with others to complete problem sets.


  • Almost all students felt that exams were very fair, and not stressful.
  • Exams were entirely computational, with no proof-based questions.
  • Most felt that problem sets were adequate preparation for the exams.


  • The textbook used was Elements of Number Theory by Stillwell.
  • Additionally, the instructor provided some supplemental notes, along with weekly detailed lecture notes.


  • Students felt that grading was very fair.
  • Some students also mentioned the quick grading time for exams.

Advice to Future Students

  1. ”Take this class!”
  2. “Pray Minh-Tam teaches this again!”
  3. ”This is an amazing class.”
  4. ”Go to class and ask questions!”