MTH5113 - Low-dimensional topology - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Mathematical Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Jessica Purcell


Associate Professor Jessica Purcell

Not offered in 2019


Enrolment in the Master of Mathematics and MTH3130


MTH4113Not offered in 2019


This unit is offered in alternate years commencing S2, 2020


The study of low-dimensional topology is the study of spaces of dimensions 2, 3, and 4, including the study of surfaces and their symmetries, knots and links, and structures on 3 and 4-manifolds. It has applications to mathematical fields such as geometry and dynamics; it also has modern applications to fields such as microbiology, physics, and computing. The unit will cover core concepts in low-dimensional topology such as surfaces and the mapping class group, descriptions of 3-manifolds by Heegaard splittings and Dehn fillings, cobordism in 4-dimensions. Additional topics may include prime and torus decompositions of 3-manifolds, knot and link invariants, contact and symplectic structures on manifolds, foliations, 3-manifold geometries, and applications to mathematical physics.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Formulate complex mathematical arguments using ideas from low-dimensional topology.
  2. Apply sophisticated tools of low-dimensional topology to tackle novel problems, for example, to distinguish or classify new spaces, etc.
  3. Communicate mathematical concepts and arguments.
  4. Apply critical thinking to judge the validity of mathematical reasoning.


Examination (3 hours): 60% (Hurdle)

Continuous assessment: 40%

Hurdle requirement: To pass this unit a student must achieve at least 50% overall and at least 40% for the end-of-semester exam.

This unit is offered at both Level 4 and Level 5, differentiated by the level of the assessment. Students enrolled in MTH5113 will be expected to demonstrate a higher level of learning in this subject than those enrolled in MTH4113Not offered in 2019. The assignments and exam in this unit will use some common items from the MTH4113Not offered in 2019 assessment tasks, in combination with several higher level questions and tasks.

Workload requirements

  • 3 hours of lectures
  • 1-hour tutorial and
  • 10 hours of independent study per week

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Master of Mathematics