Introduction to Probability Theory
General Information and Syllabus
MODIFICATIONS TO THE SYLLABUS:
All changes that have been made to the syllabus since the first day of
class will be shown on this website in red. They will also be announced
MWF 2:30-3:20 PM in 358 Willard
OFFICE HOURS: Wednesdays 4:00-5:00 and Thursdays 2:00-3:00 most weeks.
Some weeks, the Wednesday hour will be replaced by Tuesday 1:00-2:00.
301 Thomas Building, 863-2314,
OFFICE HOURS: Tuesdays 12:00-1:00 and Thursdays 12:00-1:00
Hogg, Robert V. and Tanis, Elliot A. (2006).
Probability and Statistical Inference, seventh or eighth
Pearson Prentice Hall.
The link to this page (which serves as the official course syllabus) is
The final score in this course will be calculated as a weighted average of the overall
homework score (30%), the two in-class midterms (20% each), and the final exam (30%).
- Homework (30%):
There will be 12 weekly homework assignments, each consisting of somewhere around 10 problems.
The grader will carefully grade 2 of the problems, each worth 5 points, and scan the remaining problems to ensure
that they are finished. The remaining problems are worth a total of 10 points. Thus, each homework will earn
up to 20 points. At the end of the semester, the lowest 2 homework grades will be dropped, so there are
200 points possible during the semester.
Homework is due by the beginning of class
each Friday (except midterm exam Fridays). No late homework will be accepted
for any reason. If you cannot be in class on Friday, you are encouraged to turn in your homework early or
have a friend turn it in for you. My mailbox is in 325 Thomas building. Do not turn in any homework
directly to the grader; all homework must be turned in to me.
- Midterm exams (20% each): There will be two midterm exams on dates to be announced. The midterms
will take place in class on Fridays and there will be no homework assignments due during weeks in which midterms
occur. These exams will be closed-book and closed-notes. The second midterm will not be comprehensive; i.e.,
it will cover only the period of time between the two midterms.
- Final exam (30%): The comprehensive final exam will take place at the registrar-designated time
and place during the week of December 14-18. Like the midterms, it will be closed-book and closed-notes. Unlike
the midterms, it will cover the entire semester and not merely the period after the second midterm.
No rescheduled final exams will be allowed except for those mandated by the Penn State registrar because
of conflicts. This means that you must attend the final exam and should under no circumstances
make end-of-semester travel arrangements before knowing your final exam schedule.
OTHER GRADING NOTES:
- Some of the homework problems may require the use of the statistical software called R, which
may be downloaded for free from www.r-project.org.
- Solution sets for the homeworks will be provided; login to the course
ANGEL page to access them.
You are strongly encouraged to
learn how to do any homework problems you had trouble with, either by
reading the solutions,
discussing them with colleagues
in the course, or asking questions of the grader or me. This is especially important in this
course, where solving problems is absolutely essential to learn the material.
I am happy to devote some class time to answering homework questions as necessary.
- Don't overlook office hours (mine or the grader's) as a great opportunity to discuss homework,
both past and present. You do not need an appointment to show up to office hours; simply walk in!
- Each exam will include at least two problems taken directly from the homework assignments.
This is intended to reward those who are conscientious about making sure they can solve all of the homework
All Penn State and Eberly College of Science policies regarding
academic integrity apply to this course. See
Of particular relevance to this course are the following policies:
- On homework assignments, you are allowed and indeed encouraged to work with other students in the
class. However, each student must turn in his/her own work, and in no case is it ever acceptable to
simply copy directly from another person's work.
- On exams, each student must complete his/her own work without aiding or receiving aid from anyone else
in any way. Examples of infractions that will result in disciplinary action are
listed under "Categories of infractions" on the ECOS academic integrity page.