What to Expect in a Doctoral Seminar

If you are anything like me, you are a professional who has been out of school for more than a few years. You might also be the first person in your family who went to college (not to mention getting a Master’s degree or PhD). If so, there is little in our networks that will help us understand how a PhD is inherently different than any other degree.

I described in a previous post the three stages of earning your PhD. Check it out!

Here, I will discuss how you will be spending two years on your education: taking seminar courses.

First, seminars are SMALL. You might take this course with as few as two other classmates, depending on your program. The smallest seminar I ever took, it was me, my classmate, and our professor.

Second, seminars are based on reading academic papers. Each week, you will be assigned to read as few as 5 and up to about 10 different academic articles, books, or chapters.

Third, you need to UNDERSTAND the papers. In undergrad and Master’s degrees, you read a chapter ahead to have an idea of what the lecture is about. In a PhD, you need to understand what the authors were trying to say and if they were able to accomplish it.

And last, you need to DISCUSS. You need to come prepared with notes, ready to talk about the paper. Check out my post on how to read an academic paper. I discuss in detail what you need to do to prepare.

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