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Carnegie Mellon Department of Chemistry

Guide to Graduate Studies

Ph.D. Requirements

Literature Seminar

For students entering Fall 2015 and later

The learning objectives of the literature seminar are to demonstrate that the student has:

The seminar presentations also introduce all seminar participants to issues in the current chemical literature and create an environment for discussion of the literature.

Students will enroll in 09-911, Graduate Seminar, for their first four semesters, and receive non-lecture course credit for delivering their seminar and providing constructive feedback to other students on their presentations.

Expectations

The topic may be chosen by the student with the approval of the student’s advisor(s) and the course instructor. Students may choose a seminar topic to broaden his/her knowledge beyond the current project or serve as a foundation for the original proposal. Details are provided in the syllabus for 09-911. An extension to present the seminar in the fourth semester in residence may be requested by petitioning the Graduate Program Committee, explaining what makes the circumstances exceptional and proposing an alternate deadline.

The seminar must be based on published work done in other laboratories. In general, seminars should draw on many articles from the literature and represent a synthesis of ideas that goes beyond summarizing individual pieces of research. An annotated bibliography should be submitted two weeks in advance of the presentation to the course instructor and student’s advisor. Presentations are expected to be approximately 30–40 minutes in length, including approximately 10 minutes of questions and discussion with peers and faculty. Students are advised to arrange a practice talk with their advisor and others to prepare. Additional guidelines are available in the supplemental materials section and through the course instructor.

If a student who is a non-native speaker of English has not yet reached Restricted II on the ITA test, he/she must seek written permission to proceed with the seminar from the GPC Co-Chairs. Permission will be granted based on a combination of his/her hours of training at the ICC, and faculty observations in the department. The literature seminar presentation may be delayed based on fewer than 15 hours/semester effort at the ICC in any semester or summer.

Outcomes

Formal evaluation of the seminar will be by the course instructor, the student’s advisor, and one other faculty member selected by the student (ideally a member of his/her Advisory Committee), and will include evaluation of responses to questions. The student will receive detailed feedback and constructive suggestions on the seminar from at least two faculty members, along with written feedback from the audience.

Should the seminar be determined to be deficient (recorded as failure), the instructor may allow the student to repeat the requirement before their Advisory Committee or in the Graduate Seminar setting. In this case, the deficiencies must be communicated in writing by the course instructor and advisor to the student and the Graduate Program Committee, along with a new deadline for re-presenting the seminar. The student may not proceed to defend the research progress report without a satisfactory performance on the literature seminar.

For students entering Fall 2014 and earlier

Formal Seminar

Each student must present a formal seminar during the third semester of residence. The seminar may be given in an earlier semester if the student is ready.

The purpose of the seminar is to train students to speak to an audience of faculty and peers about chemistry and to read the research literature appropriately. Students will enroll in 09-911, Graduate Seminar, for their first four semesters, and receive course credit for delivering their seminar and providing constructive feedback to other students on their presentations.

Expectations

The topic may be chosen by the student with the approval of the student's advisor(s) and the course instructor. Students may choose a seminar topic to serve as a foundation for the original proposal. An extension to present the seminar in the fourth semester in residence may be requested by petitioning the Graduate Program Committee, explaining what makes the circumstances exceptional and proposing an alternate deadline. The seminar must be based on published work done in other laboratories. In general, seminars should draw on many articles from the literature and represent a synthesis of ideas that goes beyond summarizing individual pieces of research. An annotated bibliography should be submitted two weeks in advance of the presentation to the course instructor and student's advisor. Presentations are expected to be approximately 30-40 minutes in length, with 10-20 minutes of questions and discussion with peers and faculty. Students are advised to arrange a practice talk with their advisor and others to prepare. Additional guidelines are available in the supplemental materials section and through the course instructor.

If a student who is a non-native speaker of English has not yet reached Restricted II on the ITA test, he/she must seek written permission to proceed with the seminar from the GPC Co-Chairs. Permission will be granted based on a combination of his/her hours of training at the ICC, and faculty observations in the department. The formal seminar presentation may be delayed based on fewer than 15 hours/semester effort at the ICC in any semester or summer.

Outcomes

Formal evaluation will be by the course instructor, the student's advisor, and one other faculty member selected by the student (ideally a member of his/her Advisory Committee), and will include evaluation of responses to questions. The student will receive detailed feedback and constructive suggestions on the seminar from at least two faculty members, along with written feedback from the audience.

Should the seminar be determined to be deficient (recorded as failure), the advisor may allow the student to repeat the requirement before their Advisory Committee or in the Graduate Seminar setting. In this case, the deficiencies must be communicated in writing by the course instructor and advisor to the student and the Graduate Program Committee, along with a new deadline for re-presenting the seminar. The student may not proceed to defend the research progress report without a satisfactory performance on the formal seminar.