MATH 200: Linear algebra

Instructor:Shawn Baland
Office: Harder 223
Email: sbaland at skidmore dot edu
Office hours: TR 14:00–15:00


Course information

Linear algebra is arguably the most important tool in both pure and applied mathematics. In fact, mathematicians frequently solve very difficult problems by reducing them to questions about linear algebra.

Along with the benefit of having such a useful tool comes the price of learning a bit of abstract machinery. In this course we’ll learn the theory of systems of linear equations as a primer for delving into the more abstract setting of vector spaces. Along the way we’ll explore several applications and exhibit ways to solve otherwise tedious kinds of problems using our newly obtained collection of awesome tricks.

Times and locations: MW 14:30–15:50, Harder 202
F 14:30–15:25, Harder 209
Textbook: David C. Lay, Linear algebra and its applications, fifth edition


If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need academic accommodation, you must formally request accommodation from Meg Hegener, Coordinator of Student Access Services. You will also need to provide documentation which verifies the existence of a disability and supports your request. For further information, please call 580-8150 or stop by the office of Student Academic Services in Starbuck Center.

A word on Title IX

Skidmore College considers sexual and gender-based misconduct to be one of the most serious violations of the values and standards of the College. Unwelcome sexual contact of any form is a violation of a student’s personal integrity and their right to a safe environment and therefore violates Skidmore’s values. Sexual and gender-based misconduct is also prohibited by federal regulations. Skidmore College faculty are committed to supporting our students and upholding gender equity laws as outlined by Title IX. If a student chooses to confide in a member of Skidmore’s faculty or staff regarding an issue of sexual or gender-based misconduct, that faculty or staff member is obligated to tell Skidmore’s Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Deputy Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will assist the student in connecting with all possible resources for support and reporting both on and off campus. Identities and details will be shared only with those who need to know to support the student and to address the situation through the college’s processes. If the student wishes to confide in a confidential resource, The Counseling Center Staff, Health Services, and Victim Advocates are all options available.


Homework will make up 20% of the overall course grade. The lowest homework score will not count towards your final grade.

Assignments are due by 17:00 on the specified days. You may hand in homework before or after class, but please do not interrupt lecture to do so. Work may also be turned in to my mailbox in the math office any time prior to the deadline. Late work will not be accepted for grading.

To make life easier on the grader, you must ensure that your name is written clearly on the front of your homework and that your pages are stapled securely together.

Assignment 1, due Monday 18 September pdf
Assignment 2, due Monday 25 September pdf
Assignment 3, due Monday 2 October pdf
Assignment 4, due Monday 9 October
This is a group assignment!
Assignment 5, due Monday 16 October pdf
Assignment 6, due Wednesday 1 November pdf
Assignment 7, due Friday 10 November pdf
Assignment 8, due Friday 17 November pdf
Assignment 9, due Friday 1 December pdf
Assignment 10, due Friday 8 December pdf


There will be one midterm exam which will make up 30% of the overall course grade. It will take place on Wednesday 18 October during class.

The final exam will be cumulative and make up 50% of the overall course grade. It will take place on Thursday 14 December from 09:00 until 11:00 in Harder 202.

Specific examination guidelines will follow via email.

Supplementary materials