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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

MATH202 Linear Algebra

First Semester
18 points

MATH202 is an introduction to the fundamental ideas and techniques of linear algebra, and the application of these ideas to computer science, the sciences and engineering.

Paper details

The principal aim of this paper is for students to develop a working knowledge of the central ideas of linear algebra: vector spaces, linear transformations, orthogonality, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, the spectral theorem, and the applications of these ideas in science, computer science and engineering.

Potential students

MATH 202 is compulsory for the Mathematics major. It is particularly important for students majoring in Statistics, Computer Science and Physics, and is relevant and useful for any student who forsees themselves working with and analysing data.

It is a prerequisite for MATH 301 (Hilbert spaces), MATH 304 (Partial Differential Equations), MATH 306 (Geometry of Curves and Surfaces) MATH 342 (Modern Algebra), MATH 361 (Numerical Analysis).


MATH 170

Course Outline

The paper will cover the following topics:

Required text

Sheldon Axler, Linear Algebra Done Right, third edition. Available as a free pdf through the library.


Dominic Searles

Office hours


To make an appointment outside of office hours, if they conflict with your schedule, talk to Dominic after class or send an e-mail giving 4-5 times when you can come in.


3 hours per week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9-10.


1 hour per week, starting in week 2. You will be streamed into one tutorial.

Internal Assessment

The internal assessment is made up of 50% from 4 assignments and 50% from an in-class test.



Exam format

A combination of true/false, short-answer and long-answer questions; all questions to be answered.

Final mark

Your final mark F in the paper will be calculated according to this formula:

F = max(E, (2E + A)/3)


and all quantities are expressed as percentages.

This means that the internal assessment counts for at least 15% and at most 30% of your final mark.

Sophia Michelle McMillan Crestani Scholarship 2021

The Sophia Michelle McMillan Crestani Memorial Scholarship is open for applications for 2nd year female students taking a Mathematics major or minor in 2021. To learn more about the scholarship please use the link:

Closing date for applications is 23rd March 2021.

Students must abide by the University’s Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity means being honest in your studying and assessments. It is the basis for ethical decision-making and behaviour in an academic context. Academic integrity is informed by the values of honesty, trust, responsibility, fairness, respect and courage.

Academic misconduct is seeking to gain for yourself, or assisting another person to gain, an academic advantage by deception or other unfair means. The most common form of academic misconduct is plagiarism.

Academic misconduct in relation to work submitted for assessment (including all course work, tests and examinations) is taken very seriously at the University of Otago.

All students have a responsibility to understand the requirements that apply to particular assessments and also to be aware of acceptable academic practice regarding the use of material prepared by others. Therefore it is important to be familiar with the rules surrounding academic misconduct at the University of Otago; they may be different from the rules in your previous place of study.

Any student involved in academic misconduct, whether intentional or arising through failure to take reasonable care, will be subject to the University’s Student Academic Misconduct Procedures which contain a range of penalties.

If you are ever in doubt concerning what may be acceptable academic practice in relation to assessment, you should clarify the situation with your lecturer before submitting the work or taking the test or examination involved.

Types of academic misconduct are as follows:


The University makes a distinction between unintentional plagiarism (Level One) and intentional plagiarism (Level Two).

  • Although not intended, unintentional plagiarism is covered by the Student Academic Misconduct Procedures. It is usually due to lack of care, naivety, and/or to a lack to understanding of acceptable academic behaviour. This kind of plagiarism can be easily avoided.
  • Intentional plagiarism is gaining academic advantage by copying or paraphrasing someone elses work and presenting it as your own, or helping someone else copy your work and present it as their own. It also includes self-plagiarism which is when you use your own work in a different paper or programme without indicating the source. Intentional plagiarism is treated very seriously by the University.

Unauthorised Collaboration

Unauthorised Collaboration occurs when you work with, or share work with, others on an assessment which is designed as a task for individuals and in which individual answers are required. This form does not include assessment tasks where students are required or permitted to present their results as collaborative work. Nor does it preclude collaborative effort in research or study for assignments, tests or examinations; but unless it is explicitly stated otherwise, each students answers should be in their own words. If you are not sure if collaboration is allowed, check with your lecturer..


Impersonation is getting someone else to participate in any assessment on your behalf, including having someone else sit any test or examination on your behalf.


Falsification is to falsify the results of your research; presenting as true or accurate material that you know to be false or inaccurate.

Use of Unauthorised Materials

Unless expressly permitted, notes, books, calculators, computers or any other material and equipment are not permitted into a test or examination. Make sure you read the examination rules carefully. If you are still not sure what you are allowed to take in, check with your lecturer.

Assisting Others to Commit Academic Misconduct

This includes impersonating another student in a test or examination; writing an assignment for another student; giving answers to another student in a test or examination by any direct or indirect means; and allowing another student to copy answers in a test, examination or any other assessment.

Further information

While we strive to keep details as accurate and up-to-date as possible, information given here should be regarded as provisional. Individual lecturers will confirm teaching and assessment methods.