UMBC CMSC203, Discrete Structures, Fall 2010

Course Description


Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications, Kenneth Rosen, 5th edition (ISBN 0-07-242434-6, 2002) or 6th edition (ISBN 0-07-322972-5, 2006). McGraw-Hill.


The prerequisite for this course is MATH 151 Calculus & Analytic Geometry I or its equivalent. MATH 140 Differential Calculus is an acceptable substitute. There is also a programming corequisite: you should have taken or be currently taking a programming course such as CMSC 201. If you are unsure about the programming corequisite, consult the instructor.


This course is a prerequisite for several required courses for computer science and computer engineering majors including: CMPE 212, CMSC 313, CMSC 341 and CMSC 441. The main objectives of this course are: 1) to train the students to read and write mathematical proofs; 2) to develop the students' mathematical problem solving skills; and 3) to familiarize the students with standard concepts and techniques in discrete mathematics.


Final grades will be based upon in-class assignments (4% total), homework assignments (26% total), quizzes (35% total), the midterm exam (15%) and the final exam (20%). The syllabus lists 13 homework assignments and 5 quizzes. However, if a homework assignment or quiz is canceled and not made up (e.g., because UMBC is closed for snow or some other emergency), the proportion of your grade from homework, quizzes and the final exam will remain the same. That is, homework will still count for 26% of your grade and quizzes 35% of your grade (each homework or quiz will have greater weight). The number of in-class assignments has not been fixed.

Your final letter grade is based on the standard formula:

0 ≤ F < 60,    60 ≤ D < 70,    70 ≤ C < 80, 80 ≤ B < 90,    90 ≤ A ≤ 100

Depending upon the final distribution of grades in the class, there may be a curve in your favor, but under no circumstances will grades be curved downward.

Grades are given for work done during the semester; incomplete grades will only be given for medical illness or other such dire circumstances.

Note: the drop date has been moved earlier this semester. September 14, 2010 is the last day to drop a class without a grade of "W".

In-class assignments

When appropriate for the lecture topic, students will be given problems to solve during the meeting time for the class. In general, you must be present during lecture to receive credit for in-class assignments. Exceptional situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


There are five in-class quizzes scheduled on Thursdays 9/23, 10/7, 11/4, 11/18 and 12/2. Make every effort to attend — unexcused absences will result in a grade of zero for that quiz. Each quiz will be held during the last 30 minutes of the class period.

Since quizzes account for 35% of your final grade, it is the main evaluative instrument for this class. You should think of the homework as practice for the quizzes and the exams as a second chance to show you have learned the material.

At least half of the credit for each quiz will be from a question that requires you to solve a new problem (i.e., not simply a regurgitation of facts). In order to do well in these quizzes, you must be able to do the types of questions assigned for homework on your own. If you do not learn from doing your homework, you will not pass the quizzes.


An in-class midterm exam is scheduled on Thursday, October 21. The final exam is scheduled on Tuesday, December 21.

Lecture and Homework Policy

You are expected to attend all lectures. You are responsible for all material covered in the lecture as well as those in the assigned reading. A significant amount of the material provided during lecture does not appear in the textbooks. If you miss a lecture, you should ask your classmates for notes.

The subject cannot be learned simply by listening to the lectures and reading the book. In order to master the material, you need to spend time outside the classroom, to think, to work out the homework and understand the solutions.

Assignments are due at the beginning of lecture. Late homework will not be accepted — this is to allow for timely grading and discussion of the homework solutions. Reasonable provisions will be made for students who are delayed by traffic, who are on travel, ... Late homework will be rejected from students who have obviously been working on homework instead of attending lecture.

Partial credit will be given for serious attempts on the homework problems. So you should simply turn in whatever you have accomplished by the beginning of class. If you cannot attend lecture when homework is due, for some honorable reason, you must make arrangements to submit your homework directly to the instructor. Do not ask another student to submit your homework for you. This is to reduce the temptation to cheat (see below).

Academic Integrity

You are permitted, but not encouraged, to work with other students on the homework problems. Most of the homework assignments are straightforward and should be done independently. This increases the likelihood that you will have mastered the material for the quizzes. The occasional brain teaser is more suitable for collaboration. If you do collaborate with other students, you must acknowledge your collaborators by listing them on the last page of your homework. Also, you must write up your homework independently. This means you should only have the textbook and your own notes in front of you when you write up your homework — not your friend's notes, your friend's homework or other reference material.

You should not have a copy of someone else's homework under any circumstance. For example, you should not let someone turn in your homework. Cases of academic dishonesty will be dealt with severely. At the very least, students who submit copied homework assignments will receive a grade of 0 for that assignment — this applies both to the person who copied the homework and to the person who allowed the his/her homework to be copied.

The UMBC academic integrity policy is available at

Last Modified: 30 Aug 2010 17:10:19 EDT by Richard Chang
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