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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Mathematical Sciences

MATH30620: Topology

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to G1K509 Mathematical Sciences


  • Complex Analysis, Analysis in Many Variables and Algebra


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Algebraic Topology


  • To provide a balanced introduction to Point Set, Geometric and Algebraic Topology, with particular emphasis on surfaces and knots.


  • Topological Spaces and Continuous Functions: Topology on a set, open sets, closed sets, limit points and closure, examples of topologies.
  • Compactness and Connectedness.
  • Topological groups and group actions.
  • The Orthogonal groups. The Fundamental Group: calculation for circle, homotopy type, homotopy equivalence.
  • Generators and relations of groups, Tietze theorem, Van Kampen's theorem.
  • Compact surfaces, classical knots, basic knot invariants.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will: be able to solve novel and/or complex problems in Topology.
  • have a systematic and coherent understanding of theoretical mathematics in the field of Topology.
  • have acquired a coherent body of knowledge of these subjects demonstrated through one or more of the following topic areas: Topological spaces.
  • Topological Groups and group actions.
  • Fundamental group, homotopy type.
  • Group presentations and Van Kampen's Theorem.
  • Surfaces and Knots.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • In addition students will have specialised mathematical skills in the following areas which can be used with minimal guidance: Spatial awareness.
Key Skills:
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Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures demonstrate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples.
  • Assignments for self-study develop problem-solving skills and enable students to test and develop their knowledge and understanding.
  • Formatively assessed assignments provide practice in the application of logic and high level of rigour as well as feedback for the students and the lecturer on students' progress.
  • The end-of-year examination assesses the knowledge acquired and the ability to solve predictable and unpredictable problems.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 42 2 per week for 20 weeks and 2 in term 3 1 Hour 42
Problems Classes 8 Four in each of terms 1 and 2 1 Hour 8
Preperation and Reading 150
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 3 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Eight written or electronic assignments to be assessed and returned. Other assignments are set for self-study and complete solutions are made available to students.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University