Math 421-- Introduction to Probability

Spring 2016,  MWF 1:55-2:45PM, SAS 2102

Instructor: Seth Sullivant, office: 3114 SAS Hall, email:

Syllabus: Syllabus

Office Hours: W 2:45-3:45PM, Thu 1:30-2:30, Or by appointment

Text: Sheldon Ross, A First Course in Probability (Ninth Edition), Pearson, ISBN-13:978-0-321-79477-2

Prerequisites: Math 242

Course Description: Probability is the area of math concerned with randomness and chance. Probability theory provides an axiomatic framework for discussing and quantifying
our assessments of how likely events are to happen. While its origins come from the analysis of games of chance, probability theory permeates nearly all of applied mathematics, and forms one of the core mathematical disciplines used in statistics.

We will cover the following topics in this course: basic combinatorics, the axioms of probability, conditional probability and independence, discrete and continuous random variables, joint densities and mass functions, expectation, and the central limit theorem. The material covered comes from selected sections of Chapters 1-8 in the text.

Learning Objectives (This document will be updated throughout the course and can be used as a study guide.)

Schedule: Is available here.

Homework: Homework will be roughly assigned weekly and is due in class on Friday, unless otherwise indicated.

A file explaining how to prepare your homework can be found here. Homework assignments can be found here.

Policy on Late Homework: Homework is due in class on Fridays, unless otherwise indicated. Late homework will be accepted up to Monday class of the week after it was due, and will received 80% of the points. Each student may turn in at most 2 late homework assignments during the semester. If you must miss a class on the day a homework is due and you want full credit, it is your responsibility to get the homework to me by the beginning of class on Friday. I do not accept scans or photos of homework.

Exams: There will be two in class 50-minute midterm exams and a comprehensive final exam. Each midterm will be worth 20% of your grade and the final is worth 40% of the grade. Midterms are on February 12 and April 1. The final is on May 2nd, in the usual classroom from 1-4 PM.

Grades: Grades will be based on Homework (20%), Midterms (20% Each), and Final Exam (40%). Grades are based on the following scale:   A : (> 85%), B: (70-85 %) C: (60-70%) D-F: (<60%).


LateX Resources: