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Math 51
Fall 2014

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Course Description, Prerequisites and Other Courses

Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus are two of the most widely used mathematical tools across all scientific disciplines. This course seeks to develop background in both and highlight the ways in which multivariable calculus can be naturally understood in terms of linear algebra.

This course assumes a strong understanding of differential calculus of one variable, as taught in the Math 41-42 series (or equivalent). For the linear algebra portion, we will start from the beginning and build up all concepts in lectures. However, this course is packed with information and moves very quickly. Students who are somewhat unsure of their mathematics background may want to consider courses in the 40 series. In particular, students missing the equivalent of Math 42 may find the portions of Math 51 that demand deeper conceptual understanding to be more difficult than those who have the experience of a full year of college-level calculus. (Students having quite a lot of experience with mathematical proof and who are looking for a more theoretical course may want to try Math 51H.)

Students seeking an accelerated course focusing on more theoretical mathematics should look into Math 51H.

For a detailed syllabus see the Syllabus page.

Enrollment in Lectures and Sections

Math 51 students attend lectures on MWF and discussion sections on TTh. After you have enrolled in a MWF lecture on Axess, you need to enroll in a TTh section corresponding to your particular lecture in Coursework. Please note that you will only receive credit for work turned into your discussion section leader.

You should be able to join discussion sections after 5 p.m. on the first day of class (September 22). After logging into Coursework, select your Fall14-MATH-51 site. (You will automatically be a member as long as you've been registered for a lecture via Axess for about 24 hours.) Select the Section Info page on the Math 51 site and join any one of the sections corresponding to the lecture section you are already registered for. The lecture/discussion section correspondences may be found here. While it is not required that you enroll in a section associated to the lecture you attend, it is helpful. If for some reason you are unable to log onto CourseWork, please select a discussion section corresponding to the lectures you attend according to the table here, and we'll straighten out your CourseWork registration later.


  • Linear Algebra, by Levandosky - Errata
  • Differential Vector Calculus, by Licata

The linear algebra text should be available at the campus bookstore. If you have problems finding it, please contact your instructor. The Licata textbook will be available as a printed course reader from the bookstore; this text won't be used until the second half of the course.

Calculators are neither required nor recommended for Math 51.


There will be two midterm exams and a final exam. Please check the exams page for dates, policies, and previous exams.


There will be weekly homework assignments. Homework should be turned in to your TA (the one whose section you are enrolled in) during section. Homework is generally due on Thursdays; see the syllabus for the homework due dates and see the homework policy for the precise homework submission procedure. Late homework will not be accepted.

Please respect the honor code, write legibly, and never forget to put your name, your section number and your TA's name on the top of your work. Although you are encouraged to discuss homework problems with your classmates, you have to turn in your own work based on your own understanding.

Homework papers should be written up independently. Please see homework policy for more information.


Your grade will be based on the following components:

Office Hours

You are encouraged to attend the office hours provided by the instructors and teaching assistants. You may attend the office hours of any lecturer or TA (regardless of what lecture/section you are enrolled in).

Math 51M

We would like to note the offering of a one unit companion course, Math 51M. This course is an introduction to Matlab, a computation software used widely in science and engineering. Please see Explore Courses for more information. Note that this is a supplementary course, and is not required for Math 51 students.

Additional Help

Useful Links and Other Resources

Fall 2014 -- Department of Mathematics, Stanford University
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