MATH 174 - Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science

Course description and objectives

Students will gain mastery of concepts in discrete mathematics. Connections to computers and programming are emphasized when possible. In particular, students will have a fundamental understanding of: logic, number theory, sequences, series, recursion, mathematical induction, set theory, enumeration, functions, relations, graphs and trees.


C or better in any 100-level MATH course or placement through either version of the Mathematics Placement Test.


Essentials of Discrete Mathematics, David J. Hunter. Jones and Bartlett, 2021. ISBN: 9781284235234

Examination dates

  • Exam 1 on 2/9/23
  • Exam 2 on 3/16/23
  • Exam 3 on 4/20/23
  • Final Exam on TBA

Examination information

There are three exams and a final exam. For the time being, these exams will be in person, but there might be circumstances to have the exams done online. In this event, the structure of these exams will be given ahead of time. You are not permitted to use any outside materials, resources, or electronic devices (including but not limited to mobile phones, smartwatches, etc., but not including a calculator) on the exams. Any violation of this policy is a violation of the university’s Academic Integrity Policy. There will be no make-up exams unless otherwise stated and/or justified. A missed exam counts as a zero unless a valid excuse is given. Make-up exams will be available in the event of documented illness/family emergency. Those with acceptable excuses must contact me within 24 hours of the scheduled exam time to schedule a make-up. Tests given in class must be made up in person. All three tests and the final exam will be a combination of short answer questions and applications where you will work out math problems. You will be graded based on a completely correct solution – not just the final answer. All steps must be correct for full credit. The final exam is comprehensive and will be given during a three-hour block. The exact time will be announced later in the semester. The final exam will only be given at the announced time. If a student has a conflict with another final exam, the student must contact their instructor at least a week in advance in order to have it resolved.

Homework information

It is essential for students to complete all of the homework assignments. The purpose of homeworks will be for you to practice the conceptual concepts covered in class, and reinforcing the methods posed to approach particular problems. Completing all the homework problems, and honestly attempting recommended exercises, is the best way to practice and prepare for quizzes and exams. In general, homeworks will due by on Tuesdays. If you need or desire an extension on any homework for any reason, contact your instructor in a timely fashion, as permitted by the need. There is no guarantee that you will receive an extension on any assignment, so plan your schedule carefully. In the event an extension is given, typically it is 48 hours. Participation is expected of all students. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning and make sure to ask necessary questions for clarification when needed, and participate in answering questions in class. Students who actively ask/answer questions and are engaged during class will receive full participation points. Students who are constantly off task and never complete given tasks/examples will receive no participation points.

Grading policy


  • Homework – 25%
  • Exam 1 – 15%
  • Exam 2 – 15%
  • Exam 3 – 15%
  • Final – 30%


  • A – 90-100
  • B+ – 85-89
  • B – 80-84
  • C+ – 75-79
  • C – 70-74
  • D+ – 65-69
  • D – 60-64
  • F – 0-60


Regular attendance and participation is expected. In accordance with university policy, a letter grade may be deducted for each 10% of classes missed (unexcused). Any student wishing to withdraw from the class should do so by the appropriate date. Students dropping after this date will receive a WF for the course.

Academic integrity

Your work in this course is expected to be your own. The University’s commitment to academic integrity is enshrined in the Carolinian Creed and is detailed at the Office of Academic Integrity. Information on violations of academic honesty and integrity and the University’s punishments for these violations can be found under Sanctions. It is your responsibility to be aware of and adhere to the Honor Code Policy. The Carolinian’s Creed calls every student to “practice personal and academic integrity.” The University expects students to adhere steadfastly to truthfulness and to avoid dishonesty, fraud, or deceit. Cheating, plagiarism, lying, and bribery are examples of breaches in this code found in the classroom. Students violating this principle or who assist others in violating it are subject to disciplinary action. Breaches of academic integrity will, at a minimum, result in the failure of that assignment.

Course Policies

Cell phones should be put on silent and put away as to not cause a distraction to any students learning during class. It is vital to your learning in this course that you attend each lecture and participate within the discussions. Therefore, you are expected to attend each lecture and to show up on time. Should you need to miss a class for any reason, you are to contact the instructor in a timely manner. You are responsible for any material covered, any work assigned, or any course changes made during the lecture. \emph{Do not} expect the instructor to provide notes from any class that you might miss. Furthermore, excessive lateness will also count as an absence. If you are dismissed from lecture due to problems during the lecture, e.g. disruptive behavior or unauthorized cell phone use, then this dismissal will be recorded as an absence. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. Students are obligated to complete all assigned work promptly, to attend class regularly, and to participate in whatever class discussion may occur. Absence from more than 10 percent of the scheduled class sessions, whether excused or unexcused, is excessive and the instructor may choose to exact a grade penalty for such absences. The instructor’s attendance policy should be ascertained by the student at the beginning of the semester. It is of particular importance that a student who anticipates absences in excess of 10 percent of the scheduled class sessions receive prior approval from the instructor before the last day to change schedule as published in the Master Schedule of Classes.

Mathematics & Writing Help

Be proactive about your success in the course! If you need help, there are many resources available to help you. Your first primary contact for help is the instructor. If you are struggling, attend office hours or send an email. Do not wait to bring issues, course related or otherwise, to the attention of the instructor. If you cannot attend office hours, send an email to the instructor to try to make other arrangements. You may also find help at the Calculus Help Center. The math department also offers the following tutoring services. Furthermore, the Student Success Center offers FREE tutoring and FREE 1 on 1 ONLINE tutoring.

Students with Disabilities

University of South Carolina values diversity and inclusion; we are committed to a climate of mutual respect and full participation. My goal as your instructor is to create a learning environments that are useable, equitable, inclusive and welcoming. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or accurate assessment or achievement, I invite you to meet with me to discuss additional strategies beyond accommodations that may be helpful to your success. If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Office of Student Disability Services (OSDS) located the main floor of Close-Hipp, in 102 go to the OSDS website. OSDS is responsible for coordinating disability-related accommodations and will issue Accommodation Letters to students as appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible.

Email policy

University of South Carolina has established email as a primary vehicle for official communication with students, faculty, and staff. All email communication in this course should be done using your email account. Due to federal laws, such as FERPA, emails coming from a non-SU email may not receive a response. Please, title emails with ‘MATH~174: Email Issue’, where “Email Issue” is a summary title of the content of the email. This is to help ensure that your email is noticed and responded to.

Tips for success

  • Be proactive about your success in the course.
  • Do not procrastinate! Begin your assignments and studying early!
  • Attend every class and recitation.
  • Ask questions whether it is during class, recitation, office hours, at the math clinic or via email to your instructor.
  • Form a study group! Working together will help you and others better understand the course material as you can work through different difficulties and offer each other clarifications on concepts.
  • Do problems! Reading through your notes is not enough. Seek out new problems and work through them carefully. When you are done, check your answer. If you are wrong, examine carefully what misunderstanding occurred and how to avoid it in the future. If you were correct, examine if there was a faster way, check to see if your solution “flowed” and was easy to read, and think over what concepts/computations were used and what “type” of problem the exercise was.
  • Always check to be sure that you understand when a statistical computation can be used and possible sources of error or bias in the statistics computed.
  • Every time you approach a new concept, carefully think how it could be applied in your own field of study.