AMS131, Fall 2011, Section 01: Introduction to Probability

Syllabus for AMS-131 and AMS-203

General Description

This is an introductory course to probability theory and its applications. Some of the topics that will be covered include: combinatorial analysis, axioms of probability and independence, conditional probability, Bayes' theorem, random variables (discrete and continuous), joint probability distributions, properties of expectation, the central limit theorem, the law of large numbers, and Markov chains. Students cannot receive credit for this course and CE-107.


The course aims to provide an introduction to the basic ideas of probability, distribution theory and their applications. The main goal is to develop basic mathematical tools to consider models that incorporate uncertainty using a probabilistic framework.


Economics 11B or Mathematics 11B or 19B.


M.H. DeGroot and M.J. Schervish (2002) Probability and Statistics. Fourth Edition (if you have the third edition that's fine too). Addison Wesley.

Additional Reference:  A First Course in Probability (sixth edition). S. Ross. Prentice Hall


There will be one midterm (35%), three quizzes but only best two scores will be used in the grade calculation (30%), and a final exam (35% DATE). Exams and quizzes will be based on the homeworks. The quizzes will be held in class. There will be no make-up for quizzes, your lowest score will be dropped to allow for any event (i.e., health problems, appointments with the doctor, etc) that might prevent you from taking a particular quiz. Check the calendar for the dates of the quizzes. The dates are tentative. If the date for a given quiz is changed, it will be announced at least one week in advance of the new date.

Homework Assignments

There will be several (possibly weekly) homework assignments which will not be graded. Homeworks will give you a very close indication of the material that will be covered in exams and quizzes. The homework for AMS-203 will consist of the AMS-131 problems and some additional problems.

Reading Material

Please keep in mind that the material in this course is cumulative. You really need to stay up to date by reading the relevant book chapters and by solving related homework problems. The reading material for AMS-203 will consist of the AMS-131 reading material and additional reading material that will be assigned by the instructor in class.


You are strongly encouraged to attend one of the sections offered.  The TA will be there to work on problems that supplement the material covered in the lectures and will help you with the homework (or any other questions/concerns that you may have about the course material). Therefore, it is very important that you attend the sections.