18.600 | Fall 2019 | Undergraduate

Probability and Random Variables


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session


18.02 Multivariable Calculus

Course Description

This course introduces students to probability and random variables. Topics include distribution functions, binomial, geometric, hypergeometric, and Poisson distributions. The other topics covered are uniform, exponential, normal, gamma and beta distributions; conditional probability; Bayes theorem; joint distributions; Chebyshev inequality; law of large numbers; and central limit theorem.

Course Numbering

Until spring 2015, the course now called 18.600 was called 18.440. It was renamed as part of a departmental effort to make course labels more logical. The current label conveys that 18.600 is a foundational class and a starting point for the 18.6xx series.



Ross, Sheldon. A First Course in Probability. 8th ed. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009. ISBN: 9780136033134.

A Free and Fun-to-Read Book

Introduction to Probability (PDF - 3.1MB) by Charles Grinstead and J. Laurie Snell.

Problem Sets

There will be 10 problem sets assigned throughout the semester, but there will be no problem sets in the weeks that have exams.


There will be two midterm exams, as well as a final exam for the course.


10 Problem Sets 20%
2 Midterm Exams 40%
1 Final Exam 40%

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2019
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Exams with Solutions
Lecture Notes
Online Textbook
Instructor Insights