There are a lot of subjects that to understand them you need to have other basic knowledge. So, let's say I want to study for some specific reason, the subject of abstract algebra.

Could this question be accepted?

What should I learn before abstract algebra to understand it?

  • $\begingroup$ We'll there have been many questions of the type "what should I read to learn X" (i.e. "What are some good introductory textbooks to elementary number theory"), so this seems, at first sight, to be in the same general category. On a side note, good introductory textbooks will provide you with some of the background you need in order to be able to reasonably digest the material, or at least a note on prerequisites. So I would not stress over getting the optimal learning route through mathematics. Also see meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/8469/… $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ You can find some similar post on the main site. For example, Introduction and Prerequisites to Abstract Algebra or What are the prerequisites for taking introductory abstract algebra? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 6:53
  • $\begingroup$ Taught myself Calculus, if I didn't understand something, I had to side-track. Big pain. I think this question is broad though. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


This looks broad and under-specified. What does it mean to "understand" "abstract algebra"?

We can enumerate various mathematical fields that could be classified under "abstract algebra". Is your plan to write a Ph.D. thesis in each of them? Probably not.

Perhaps "abstract algebra" means "a course by this name taught at my institution", in which case "to understand" probably means "to do well in said course". Then the question falls under "academic advising" category, because it is specific to that course.

A course may be named "abstract algebra" but the course content and expectations vary dramatically from one educational system to another; a lot of undergraduates studying abroad find this out the hard way.

So, the answers would be guesses based on each answerer extrapolating from their own experience to the situation of someone on the Internet. And I'd be voting to close.

  • 15
    $\begingroup$ Now, when you say abroad... $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ I mean "not in this country". $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 5:47
  • 29
    $\begingroup$ Now, when you say this country... $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 8:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .