Course Syllabus

CMSC 250 - 010x / 020x

Discrete Structures

Students in college.


  • Instructor: Jason Filippou (
  • Office hours: MW 1-3pm, IRB2206
  • Lectures:
    • 010x: TuTh 3:30-4:45pm, IRB0324
    • 020x: TuTh 12:30 - 1:45, IRB 0324.



The following is a list of topics that we intend to cover. 

  • Logic
    • Propositional Logic
    • Circuits
    • Number bases
    • Predicates and quantifiers
  • Set Theory 
    • Basic definitions
    • Powerset, Cartesian Product
  • Number Theory and Proof techniques
    • Definitions  (parity, divisibility, modular arithmetic, prime factorization, floor / ceiling, rationality, ....).
    • Proof strategies (direct, indirect, universal and existential statements)
    • Famous proofs and open problems
  • Induction
    • Mathematical (weak, strong)
    • Constructive
  • Combinatorics
    • Permutations, combinations
    • Binomial Theorem, Pascal's Triangle, combinatorial proofs
    • Elementary discrete probability, conditional probability, Bayes Theorem
  • Optional (as time allows)
    • "Big-oh" (LaTeX: \mathcal{O}) notation
    • Functions, Relations


Discussion Sessions, Tutors, Graders, Office Hours

We have prepared a Google spreadsheet with available office hours of all CMSC250 sections (010x + 020x included), so you can get more help. If there is ever any need for a cancellation or a trade of office hours, you will be notified through ELMS and the update will also be reflected on that sheet.

Claiming an Excused Absence

If you were absent from a Major Scheduled Grading Event and your absence is excusable as per University Regulations (see below), please e-mail Jason Kuo so that he can compile a Doodle poll with the names of all people who are in need of a make-up. That way, we can find an appropriate time and room to help all of you simultaneously.

Description of Assignments

  1. Weekly homework assignments. There will be 1 (one) homework given out every week, on Tuesdays, with some exceptions (midterm weeks, thanksgiving). They will be uploaded on Gradescope, with a regular deadline of 1 week (so, the following Tuesday midnight) and 2 (two) more days for 50% credit. Your lowest graded homework will be dropped for grading purposes. Homework solutions will be posted after the late deadline is through. Weight:15%.
  2. In-lecture worksheets. In every lecture, we will have a written worksheet which you will be filling in as we go over the lecture, following instructions on our slides. At the end of the lecture, our TAs will be gathering your responses, which we will then upload on Gradescope. Weight: 5%
  3. Examinations. We will have 2 midterm exams and 1 final exam (see "Major Scheduled Grading Events" section below). They will be written in pen (or pencil) and paper and will be handed out to proctors after the exam time. Closed book. Weight: 22, 28 and 30% respectively.


Major Scheduled Grading Events

  • Midterm 1: Originally scheduled for Wednesday, October 9, which coincided with Yom Kippur, so we changed it to Thursday, October 10. Time: 6 (six) -8 (eight) pm. Room distribution is based on first letter of last name and you will all be seated one seat apart of each other:
    • A-H inclusive: ARM 0126 
    • I - O inclusive: ARM 0131
    • P - Z inclusive: ARM 0135
  • Midterm 2: Wednesday November 13th, 6 (six) - 8 (eight) pm . Same rule as above applies for your distribution among our three rooms.
  • FinalFriday 12-13 from 4 (four) to 6 (six) pm(not between six and eight PM like the midtertms!) Room distribution:
      • 010x: CHM1407
      • 020x: TYD0130


University Course-Related Policies

The University has packaged certain campus-wide "course-related policies" into a single centralized webpage. Every course is required to link to these policies, which cover very important elements such as:

  • Excused absences (what are your rights, what are our responsibilities), including dates of projected religious observance.
  • Disability accommodations on campus
  • Code of Student Conduct and matters pertaining to Academic Integrity.
  • Grade contesting.
  • Mid-Term ("Early Warning") grades

We further specialize these policies as follows:

  • Exam (midterm or final) make-ups will be given only up to 1 (one) week after the date of the exam proper.
  • Regrade requests are submitted by you electronically once the exam's grades are published. You will have time to submit a regrade request within one week from the release of an assignment's grades. This is set automatically from Gradescope, and there are no exceptions to this rule.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: If from what you claim in your regrade request it seems you know LESS than we thought you can lose points. Here are two characteristic examples that really happened:

(a) The problem asks for a prime between 50 and 60. The students answers 57 and gets a 0 (3 divides 57).The student's regrade request argues that 57 IS a prime and hence he deserves credit. He LOST 5 additional points, since 57 is not a prime LaTeX: (57 = 3 \ast 19)

(b) The problem asks for a quantifier statement that is true in the integers but not in the naturals.The student writes:

(\exists x)(\forall y)[ y\ge x]

This is incorrect- its true in \mathbb{N}. The instructors had been incorrect in assuming it was a misread; the student proved to us that they knew less than what we thought.

  • Students needing ADS accommodations are requested to provide the instructor with the necessary ADS forms during the schedule adjustment period, detailed on this webpage as being the first 10 days of lecture.



The following textbook is recommended, yet not required.

Susanna Epp, Discrete Mathematics with Applications, 5th edition Cengage, ISBN-13: 978-0495391326

To reiterate, in no way do we require that you purchase the 5th edition of the book new (the cost of the hardcover can go all the way up to $350 through online retailers like Amazon). In fact, we do not even require that you purchase the textbook: it is a fantastic resource for practice, yet we will be providing you with all materials you will need. Consult the University Bookstore for more options. Of those options, another excellent (and a bit harder!) option is:

Kenneth Rosen, Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications, 8th Edition, McGraw Hill, ISBN-13: 978-1259676512


Uploading your homework assignments on Gradescope

We only allow PDF format for the uploading of your homework assignments, which are uploaded on our Gradescope page (you will be added automatically from ELMS). The  description will be supplied in PDF format, which you will need to print. A very generous amount of homeworks will be printed outside the instructor's office for you to pick up when  homeworks go out, so in all likelihood you won't even need to find a printer or spend money on ink. YOU SHOULD WRITE YOUR ANSWERS ON THE ACTUAL HOMEWORK PAGES (i.e, do not write them on separate sheets which you then attach to the homework questions, or even without attaching them). You need to fill in the provided answer space with your answers exactly where we require them, since Gradescope's automated clustering features depend on the answers being exactly where they are expected. If your answers are all over the place, your grading will also be all over the place! Help us help you, please and thank you.



We run a Piazza forum for the class. You may access it here.



Here are some official tutoring services for you:

    • The Iribe Initiative for Inclusion & Diversity in Computing offers 1:1 tutoring and Guided Study Sessions (GSS) for CMSC250 (and all other 1x, 2x and 3x - level CS core courses) in IRB1104. Tutoring begins September 3rd. Interested students must first complete the Tutor Request form.  GSS will be offered twice a week for approx. 1 hour, beginning September 16th.
    • The Academic Success and Tutorial Services (ASTS) program offers complimentary tutoring for UMD students. To connect with a peer tutor for this course, sign up directly at For questions, contact Christal Dimas, Tutorial Coordinator for the Academic Achievement Programs (AAP) at or 301-405-4745.
    • The office of Learning Assistance Services, which is part of the Counseling Center of the University (link to their website), also offers free tutoring for UMD students. Their office is 2202 Shoemaker and their phone # is 301-314-7693. Their academic coaches can help with time management, reading, math learning skills, note-taking and exam preparation skills. They also offer practice midterms.


Contacting the instructor

Office Hours and our Piazza forum are the most direct way to reach the instructor. E-mail / ELMS messages might take a few days to answer because of the instructor's extreme email load. Please be patient; all questions / concerns get answered, sometimes with higher latency than others.


Web accessibility

Please navigate this official UMD accessibility link for the full spectrum of accessibility information in the UMD campus. ELMS-Canvas is highly tuned towards accessibility, offering automatic link checking, suggested color palettes, standardized HTML for screen readers, and so on and so forth. The course staff takes accessibility issues quite seriously; please e-mail us if you feel you would like some further assistance with accessing our course materials. Also, please go through this ELMS student orientation if you'd like some information about using the system.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due