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MA40040: Algebraic topology

[Page last updated: 03 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Mathematical Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take MA10209 AND take MA10210 AND take MA30055
Learning Outcomes: At the end of the course, the students will be conversant with the basic ideas of homotopy theory and, in particular, will be able to compute the fundamental group of several topological spaces.

Aims: The course will provide a solid introduction to one of the Big Machines of modern mathematics which is also a major topic of current research. In particular, this course provides the necessary prerequisites for post-graduate study of Algebraic Topology.

Content: Topics will be chosen from the following: Paths, homotopy and the fundamental group. Homotopy of maps; homotopy equivalence and deformation retracts. Computation of the fundamental group and applications: Fundamental Theorem of Algebra; Brouwer Fixed Point Theorem. Covering spaces. Path-lifting and homotopy lifting properties. Deck translations and the fundamental group. Universal covers. Loop spaces and their topology. Inductive definition of higher homotopy groups. Long exact sequence in homotopy for fibrations.

Programme availability:

MA40040 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Computer Science
  • USCM-AFM14 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics (Year 4)
  • USCM-AAM14 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics with Study year abroad (Year 5)
  • USCM-AKM14 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics with Year long work placement (Year 5)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
  • USMA-AFM14 : MMath(Hons) Mathematics (Year 4)
  • USMA-AAM15 : MMath(Hons) Mathematics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USMA-AKM15 : MMath(Hons) Mathematics with Year long work placement (Year 5)
Department of Physics
  • USXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 4)
  • USXX-AAM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 5)
  • USXX-AKM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 5)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.