‘18.904: Seminar in 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 16
Hours/Week 9.8 (9 responses)
Instructors Anthony Conway
Overall Rating 6.2/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • 18.901 was the only necessary prerequisite. Some felt that topics in 18.905 may have been helpful, specifically homology.

Subject Matter

  • Most thought the content was very theoretical and specific. In Spring 2022, the main focus was on knot theory.

Course Staff

  • Several students thought the professor (Anthony Conway) could be curt at times. Most agreed that he was kind and eager to engage with students.


  • The lectures were all student presentations. Some were helpful, and others hard to follow.
  • Notes were used for reference.

Problem Sets

  • Short.
  • One problem per pset, based on the lecture.
  • Students generally considered psets to be very straightforward.


  • No exams.


  • Typed notes from each student presentation were combined into a collaborative set of class notes.
  • Textbook links were shared.


  • Students felt that grading was fair and transparent, though they had to email the professor to see where points were taken off.
  • Most students did quite well in the class.
  • Grade cutoffs were 90/80/70 for A/B/C.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “This class will take more time than you expect.”
  2. “If Knot Theory by Professor Conway appears again, take it! It’s an amazing course. Remember to go to office hours even if you don’t have a question, as Conway can seem curt over email, so getting to know him in office hours is very helpful for communication.”