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How important is algebra?

  1. Dec 7, 2014 #1
    I'm a second year student at university studying mathematics. I'm having troubles deciding between a few modules and I hope you can help.

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/maths/courses/undergraduates is where all the modules are, please take a look at "Honours Year 2"

    I get to choose four modules, and so far I'm adamant on choosing: Analysis 4: Real Analysis, Computation Methods, Probability and Statistics. I'm deciding now between Algebra 4, and Mathematical methods 4. I'm leaning more towards Mathematical Methods 4 because so far, I really have not enjoyed algebra and it has been one of my worst modules (but still average of ~90%). I'm wondering, if I skip out Algebra 4 would I be missing out on a lot of mathematics? I want to specialise in analysis in the future (functional analysis probably), and I'm choosing Probability and Computational methods as they'd be useful in my career.

    Any help please, thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Hard to say, it's that much of what we learn is not needed when we start a job. The problem is determining what is not needed.

    While I'm very poor in proofs, I felt abstract algebra gave me a deeper insight into how things work mathematically. It gave me a way to look for patterns, things that were completely different but mapped to the same mathematical system with the same rules of operation. My guess is it has helped in my understanding of computer language compiler design alllthough I can't give you specifics.

    If you ever plan to study group theory or topology or the physics that use those then I think abstract algebra will really help you.
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