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 19
Hours/Week 11.1 (13 responses)
Instructors Andrew Sutherland (Lecturer)
# of Responses to Course 18 Underground Questions 11/19

Realistic Prerequisites

  • 18.702 and 18.112 are useful, and knowledge of Galois theory is essential.
  • Programming experience is a must.
  • Some algebraic number theory and topology are also helpful.

Subject Matter

  • This class can be considered theoretical, applied, useful, deep, and broad all at the same time.
  • The beginning was more algorithmic in focus, but the second half of the course was more focused on theory.

Course Staff

  • The professor is friendly, approachable, helpful, and caring.


  • The lectures were rather fast-paced and sometimes skipped proofs, although all the details could be found in the lecture notes.

Problem Sets

  • Challenging, fun, and required creativity.
  • They are fairly long, and often required both coding as well as math.
  • They had a choose-your-own adventure structure: students got to choose 3-5 problems to solve.


  • This course did not have exams this semester.


  • There are thorough lecture notes on the professor’s website, which are detailed and helpful and sufficient.
  • There are listed textbooks, but they are mostly supplemental and not necessary.


  • Grading is pretty fair and transparent.
  • There is a fixed cutoff and students expect that most get As.
  • There are many in-class extra credit opportunities available.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “I was pretty intimidated by the first lecture and problem set, but sticking with the class proved to be very rewarding. The problem sets are hard (at least for me with my 18.702 background), and sure enough, they get harder as the semester progresses, but they’re also very stimulating and it’s rewarding to collaborate with others when possible.”
  2. ”**The class might feel like it’s rushing by you at times, but working hard on the pset problems and going to office hours really helps click things together! Also don’t worry if you don’t get everything; the course is designed for you to choose some parts to learn well and some parts to softly ignore.”