Course Syllabus

This document is subject to major updates until the first day of classes!
This syllabus is subject to minor corrections and updates at any time! Major changes may arrive, if we are so ordered by (disease control) authorities.

Last update: Monday, February 15, 2021

(MATH 3166-003, Spring 2021)


Instructor: Gábor Hetyei
Office: Fretwell 335F, Phone: 704-687-1045, E-mail:
Office hours: TR 2:30-3:30 pm or by appointment. Office hours will be held over Zoom.
Text: Combinatorics, a Guided Tour by David Mazur. ISBN: 978-0-88385-762-5. There is also an electronic version.
Some information may be provided on supplementary handouts, and you can not expect everything told in the lecture to be found in the book. Attendance (virtual or physical) is mandatory!
Prerequisite: MATH 2164, or consent of the department.
Topics: We will focus on basic counting principles (Chapter 1), combinatorial proofs (Chapter 2), algebraic tools (inclusion-exclusion, recurrences, generating functions; Chapter 3) and famous number families (binomial coefficients, Fibonacci and Lucas numbers, Stirling numbers; Chapter 4). Time permitting and depending on interest we may look into counting equivalence classes (Chapter 5) and partially ordered sets (Chapter 8).
Test Dates:
Test 1 Tuesday, February 23, 4:00 - 5:15 pm
Test 2 Tuesday, March 30, 4:00 - 5:15 pm
Final Exam Thursday, May 13, 2:00 -4:30 pm. Double-check on the Office of the Registrar's web page
The final exam will be cumulative, consisting of two parts. The first part will be mandatory, covering only material taught after Test 2. The second half will contain questions reviewing the material taught before Test 2. This part will be optional, if left unanswered, I will reuse the average of your test scores (with the appropriate weight).
If we have to take the tests on-line, you will need to have a web camera that I may use for on-line proctoring.
Attendance: Required, either in person, or by synchronous participation via Zoom.
It is your right to attend online if you want to be cautious, it is your duty if you feel sick! Recall that wearing a CDC-compliant face covering is mandatory in classrooms and labs. You are only allowed to attend in person on the days the Office of the Registrar assigned you to do so. This is to help contract tracing and I have no authority to change your subsection assignment.

The current expectation is that both tests and the final exam will be on campus. Zoom sessions will be recorded and you will have to have your video on. You will be counted absent if you miss 15 minutes or more of a lecture. Having 7 or more absences results in an automatic course grade of F! Even excusable absences are counted toward the maximum of 6 allowed absences. This is a synchronous class. Zoom recordings and scanned lecture notes will be posted as a courtesy, subject to no unexpected technical problems.

Homework: Homework will be assigned every day, and will be usually collected once every week, via Canvas. You will have to submit scanned PDF files, any other file format may be rejected. A random selection of the assigned exercises will be graded. Past due assignments will be rejected. There will be also bonus questions which may be resubmitted an arbitrary number of times before its final due date of April 22. Some of my test questions may be very similar or even identical to homework questions that have been previously discussed in class. This by itself is a great reason to regularly attend every lecture, another reason being that mathematics is cumulative, failing to understand one section will impact the ability to learn several subsequent sections.
Evaluation: Grades will be based on: 23% for the homework, 22% for each of the tests, and 33% for the final (22% for the mandatory part, 11% for the optional part).
Tentative grading scale: 90 - 100 % A, 75 - 89% B, 60 - 74% C, 50 - 59 % D, 0 - 49% F. (This scale is applicable only if you have 7 or less absences.)
Class meeting: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00 - 5:15 pm in Fretwell 100.
Disabilities: UNC Charlotte is committed to access to education. If you have a disability and need academic accommodations, please send me your accommodation letter as early as possible. You are encouraged to meet with me to discuss the accommodations outlined in your letter. For more information on accommodations, contact the Office of Disability Services at 704-687-0040 (Fretwell 230).

Rules of the Classroom: To ensure that your fellow students' right of learning is protected, please observe the following:
  • No conversations during class. People who disturb the class in any manner will be asked to leave the classroom and counted as absent twice. Raise your hand if you have any question.
  • If you attend the class via Zoom, your microphone should be muted. Use the "chat" feature to ask questions.
  • Students must have proper registration to attend the class. The instructor has the right to check students IDs during classes and exams.
  • Students are not allowed to leave the classroom in the middle of the class, except for going to the bathroom, or emergencies. If you know that you have to leave early for a valid reason, let the instructor know before class starts. Do not mark yourself present if you miss more than 15 minutes of the lecture.
  • For further rules (banning discrimination and harassment of any kind) see the following University policies: Policy 406, The Code of Student Responsibility, Policy 502, Sexual Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedures; and see the Information Technology Services Standard for Responsible Use
  • As for my behavior, correct me, if I address you incorrectly. If you changed your name recently and it is not reflected on the official roster, please use your Ninernet login ID to identify yourself on exams. This is also a good idea if you have the same name as someone else in class.
Academic Integrity: All students are required to read and abide by the Code of Student Academic Integrity. Violations of the Code of Student Academic Integrity, including plagiarism, will result in disciplinary action as provided in the Code. Definitions and examples of plagiarism are set forth in the Code. The Code is available from the Dean of Students Office or online. In this class, the following special rules apply:
  • You are allowed to collaborate on homework solutions, but you have to put them in writing using your own words. If two or more write-ups are identically worded, all of them will be rejected.
  • Exams will be closed book, without notes. The current plan is to have all tests on campus. Should be forced to have online exams, expect that I may require to have your web-camera on during the test. In either case verbatim quotes from the textbook, including theorem and page numbers will be considered academic misconduct.
Copyright issues: My lectures and course materials, including presentations, tests, exams, outlines, and similar materials, are protected by copyright. I am the exclusive owner of copyright in those materials I create. I encourage you to take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. However, you may not, nor may you knowingly allow others to reproduce or distribute lecture notes and course materials publicly without my express written consent. This includes providing materials to commercial course material suppliers such as CourseHero and other similar services. Students who publicly distribute or display or help others publicly distribute or display copies or modified copies of an instructor's course materials may be in violation of University Policy 406, The Code of Student Responsibility. Similarly, you own copyright in your original papers and exam essays. If I am interested in posting your answers or papers on the course web site, I will request your written permission.

I wish to especially underscore that under no circumstances should you make homework solutions publicly available.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due