MAT 135A: Probability (Fall 2017) (CRN 48568 (B01) and 63069 (B02))
     MWF 11:00-11:50AM, 168 Hoagland



PREREQUISITES: An excellent knowledge of calculus and the ability to understand a mathematical proof (i.e., courses 21ABC and 25). Material from MAT 125A, while a prerequisite, will not be used in the course. You are responsible for satisfying the prerequisites!

TEXTBOOK: You have two options. My lecture notes are available free of charge at the materials page. Chapters 1-8 will be covered. You may also choose to purchase the book A First Course in Probability, 8th Edition, by Sheldon Ross (Pearson, 2009). The sections in the book that we will cover are, roughly, 1.1--1.6, 2.1--2.5, 3.1--3.5, 4.1--4.8, 5.1--5.5, 5.7, 6.1--6.3, 7.1, 7.2, 7.6, 8.1--8.3. Earlier (or, presumably later) editions of the book are also fine.

GRADE: Course grade will be based on the following:

I will follow this grading curve:


Thursday meeting (B1: 4:10-5pm, 227 Olson; A2: 5:10-6pm, 227 Olson) is a discussion session, lead by the TA, and devoted to quizzes, homework, and further elaboration on lecture material. Attendance of discussion sessions is mandatory.

Please bear in mind that talking, texting, newspaper reading, etc. disrupt the lectures. Use of computers, cellphones, recorders, or any other electronic devices during lectures is prohibited.

If you have any problem at all that requires special accomodation, please let me know well in advance!

Sample exams (with solutions) from the last time I taught the course are available at the materials page. However, material presented in the lectures will be the basis for the exams.

Use of books, notes, calculators, or anything else but pencil and paper, will not be allowed on any exam.

Homework and quiz policy: Homework will be assigned but not collected; you are strongly encouraged to do it. The "Quizzes" score will be based on 5 short quizzes, which will each be worth 10 points. The quizzes will feature no partial credit problems, which will be almost identical to selected (easier) homework problems. The quizzes will given during the discussion sessions, at the dates:

Oct. 12, Oct. 19, Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 16.
There will be no make-up quizzes. See the Homework assignments page for homework information.

Also, there will be no make-up exams. A missed exam counts as 0 points. If you miss the final you will automatically receive an F. The grade I (Incomplete) will not be given in any circumstances. Be aware that, due to a recent policy change, the grade NS (Enrolled No Work Submitted) no longer exists, so you will receive an F if you submit no work.

Solutions for the midterms will be posted at the materials page.


  • If you want a math department computer account, please visit the class accounts page (you will need to know the CRN). You will have access to MATLAB, which is used for almost all computations I do for this class.
  • Book by C. M. Grinstead and J. L. Snell, Introduction to Probability and other materials.
  • A book on basic probability and statistics, which can be viewed online or downloaded (developed at Rice University).
  • Introduction to probability, an online tutorial with many demos, part of statistics tutorial Hyperstat from Rice University.
  • Virtual Laboratories in Probability and Statistics from University of Alabama.