MA 244, Introduction to Linear Algebra

Course Description and Goals

This is an introductory course in linear algebra primarily intended for students in mathematics, science, and engineering. Topics include

  • systems of linear equations and their solution by Gaussian elimination
  • vectors in Rn and the inner product operation
  • the algebra of matrices and the determinant of a matrix
  • eigenvalues and eigenvectors of matrices
  • similarity and diagonalization of matrices
  • abstract vector spaces
  • linear independence, span, basis, and dimension
  • linear transformations on vector spaces and their associated matrices and subspaces
  • special properties of symmetric matrices
  • applications, particularly to geometry and calculus
  • the use of the MATLAB computer algebra system

Goals include

  • a basic understanding of the special language, notation, and point of view of linear algebra
  • a basic understanding of the key concepts of linear independence, span, basis, and dimension
  • an improved ability to think abstractly, in particular a basic understanding of an abstract algebraic structure defined by a set of axioms
  • the ability to solve basic computational problems involving matrices and systems of linear equations.
  • the ability to construct simple proofs
  • a basic understanding of the central importance of linear algebra in other areas of mathematics
  • an improved ability to read, write, speak, and think in mathematical terms

Alabama General Studies Curriculum

MA 244 is an AGSC approved course. The standard AGSC number is Math 237.


MA 172, Calculus B or MA 120, Calculus with Applications

Credit Hours

3 Semester Hours

Grading System

This course is graded A, B, C, D, F. The grade typically depends on a combination of class tests, homework, MATLAB assignments, quizzes, and a comprehensive final exam.