Instructor: Tim Chumley
Office: Clapp 423
Phone: 538-2299
e-mail: tchumley


Course: Math 301, Real analysis

Prerequisites: Math 211 (Linear Algebra) and Math 232 (Discrete Math), or equivalent experience studying abstract math and writing proofs.

Textbook: Elementary Analysis: The Theory of Calculus by Kenneth A. Ross

About the course: Our course is an introduction to analysis through the lens of trying to understand the underpinnings of calculus. This is a nice way to frame the subject the first time you see it, but in a way, the course and subject is much more about the proof techniques that we’ll learn and the nitty gritty details of the synonymous notions of limits, approximation, and convergence. It’s through this wider lens that it becomes clear why analysis is at the core of many mathematical subjects (eg. probability, mathematical statistics, differential equations, scientific computing, differential geometry), as well as outside disciplines like engineering and economics. It’s really cool, and I hope you end up loving it as much as I do!

Learning goals: During the semester our goal will be to understand the theory of the real numbers and functions at a deep, rigorous level. Central to this will be developing our ability to communicate, particularly through writing proofs. In terms of topics specific to our course, the aim is to cover:

  • field axioms, total orderings, suprema and infima of sets, completeness of the real numbers
  • limits, sequences, and series of real numbers, Cauchy sequences, the Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem
  • continuity, compactness, connectedness, the extreme value theorem, the intermediate value theorem
  • uniform convergence, interchanging the order of limits, and power series
  • (time permitting) the mean value theorem, Taylor’s theorem, the fundamental theorem of calculus.

Attendance: When healthy, I expect everyone to come to each class ready to do math. This means that you should bring paper, pens, pencils, and other equipment that you may need. Before each class please prepare by doing any assigned reading and suggested problems. Please expect to talk in small groups as well as in class discussions. Activities may involve worksheets and informal presentations that will be designed to contribute significantly to our learning.

Participation: Part of your grade will depend on participation and there will be a number of opportunities to participate (eg. asking and answering questions, coming to office hours, responding to feedback surveys, and doing informal presentations).

Homework: There will be weekly homework assignments due at the beginning of class on a fixed day of the week. You’re encouraged to start early on the assignments; they’re not meant to be done in one sitting.

Quiz: There be (mostly) weekly quizzes.

Exams: There will be a midterm exam and a final exam.

Late work, makeups: In general, I ask you to turn homework in by the deadlines and take quizzes and exams on time because it helps you keep up with the class and it helps me to stay organized. However, I nearly universally say yes to short extensions if you ask. Please just get in touch as soon as possible and suggest how long you think you’ll need. We’ll need to have a longer conversation if deadlines start to pile up.

Getting help: Here are some of the resources that will be available:

  • Office hours: These times (which will be posted near the top of the class web page) are open drop in sessions where there may be multiple students getting help. It’s expected that you come with specific questions about notes, homework problems, or the text that you have thought about already. If you need to schedule a time to meet with me one-on-one, either to discuss something private or because you can’t make my office hours, please send me an email with times that you are available to meet, and I will find a time that works for both of us.
  • Study groups: Other students in the class are a wonderful resource. I want our class to feel like a community of people working together. Even though our class won’t have a TA or evening help, I will work to find ways for you to feel supported both by me and each other.

Grades: Grades will be assigned according to the following weighting:

  • Quizzes: 20%
  • Homework: 30%
  • Midterm: 25%
  • Final: 25%

Overall letter grades will be based on a scale no stricter than the usual:

  • 93-100: A
  • 90-93: A-
  • 88-90 B+
  • 83-88: B
  • 80-83: B-
  • 78-80: C+
  • 73-78: C
  • 70-73: C-
  • 68-70: D+
  • 63-67: D
  • 60-63: D-
  • 0-60: F

Academic integrity: It is very important for you to follow the Honor Code in all of your work for this course. Collaboration on homework assignments is encouraged. However, it is important that you only write what you understand, and that it is in your own words. My first instinct is always to trust you, but I cannot give credit for plagiarized work and might have to refer such issues to the deans. If you have any questions about whether something is an Honor Code violation, please ask me.

Students with disabilities: If you have a disability and would like to request accommodations, please get in touch with me. We’ll work together, along with AccessAbility Services, to make sure the class is accessible and equitable.