The intention of the 1 credit of seminar requirement for M.S. students is to expose them to this form of presentation of research findings, and to give them some breadth of exposure to current research activities in Environmental Science among Program faculty, students and invited guests. There are three ways in which the requirement can be fulfilled. Alternative 1 consists of a regularly scheduled seminar class. For Alternatives 2 and 3, which are by arrangement, at the beginning of the semester students should notify the Graduate Program Secretary who the instructors are for their seminars. She will then know which faculty to distribute the rosters to.
New students are encouraged to take 16-375:613 (Fall semester), Section 01, which has been offered for several years by Dr. Lily Young. This section usually meets Thursday afternoons from 2:50 to 4:10. Presentation of a seminar is not required. Grading is Pass/Fail, although assignment of a letter grade has sometimes been required by the Graduate School. This course offers an introduction to the Program Options and to the research of several faculty members.
Students also may complete the requirement by taking 16-375:612 or any other section of 16-375:613 (or alternative approved by their Advisor), which may be offered by any graduate faculty member on a "by arrangement" basis. Often this is done in conjunction with laboratory group meetings, in which other students are not registered for seminar. As for any course, the requirements are set by the instructor. It is typically expected that a student will attend the equivalent of 12-14 seminars of about 1 hour each. A presentation by the student may or may not be required. Written summaries of seminars attended may be required, at the instructor's discretion, although this is not typical. A regular letter grade is assigned.
If neither of the two alternatives above is available to the student, an advisor may approve an "independent" seminar. The student registers for 16-375:612 or 16-375:613, and attends 12-14 advisor approved (Departmental, College-wide, Graduate Student Association, outside, or other) seminars. In this case, since the "instructor" is not present to evaluate the student's participation, the advisor needs to require some type of brief oral or written report on each seminar so that a regular letter grade can be assigned.
Ph.D. Students (Fall 2010)
All Ph.D. students are required to take two 1-credit seminars. In addition, Ph.D. candidates (post-qualifying exam) are required to give 1 or 2 presentations each year with at least 1 presentation per year outside of the laboratory group meeting. Post-qualifying exam presentations may include talks or posters and will be verified annually by the student's advisor.
For the first required seminar credit, new Ph.D. students are strongly encouraged to register for 16:375:613 (section 1, Fall semester), although this requirement may be fulfilled by any of the three seminar Alternatives described for M.S. students.
The objective of the second 1-credit seminar is to provide Ph.D. students with an opportunity to give an oral presentation in a constructive setting to help develop their public speaking skills. To meet this requirement, students must register for 16:375:612 or 16:375:613 (section 2) and give a talk in the ESGSA seminar series of at least 30 minutes in length. Audience members will complete anonymous evaluations of the talk and the student will meet with his or her advisor to discuss audience feedback and the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation.
For Ph.D. students who entered the program prior to Fall 2010
An additional objective of the seminar requirement (2 credits) is to provide the student with an opportunity to present a seminar. One credit can be through Alternative 1 (or 3) above, but the second (or both) must be through Alternative 2 and include at least 30 minutes of oral presentation. The presentation can be in the lab group, at the GSA run seminars, or in another forum. A related requirement, to be enforced by the advisor, is that the student present his/her work at a professional conference or meeting, although this can be in a poster session.