The schedule of the course for Fall 2014 is below.  Please make sure to sign up on the Piazza forum to receive important announcements.

Please conduct all preparation before class.

Topics in italics are part of the in-house Responsible Conduct of Research training.  To receive credit for this training, you must attend class on these days.

Fall 2014 Schedule of Lessons

Week Lessons Preparation
August 29 Introduction and Overview

  • Why do I want a Ph.D.?
  • What job do I want?
 Why Ph.D.?
September 5 Fellowships: Why, where, how?
September 12 Motivation and Time Management
People Skills and Advisor Managment
 Time Log
September 19 Recognizing Great Ideas

  • Scientific revolutions
  • Examples of scientific revolutions
  • Examples of great researchers
Recognizing Ideas
September 26 Generating Great Ideas

  • Research patterns
  • Creativity
  • Cross-disciplinary thinking
Creating Ideas
October 3  Practical Survival Skills

  • Data analysis and presentation
  • Programming and math
  • Human subjects studies
 Applying Ideas
October 10  Spreading Ideas

  • Writing papers and articles
  • Presentations and talks
  • Publication 2.0 (blogging, etc.)
  • Science and engineering in society
Multi-Resolution Elevator Pitch
October 17  Critiquing Ideas

  • Peer review
  • Reading papers
  • Reviewing papers and the review process
  • Offering feedback
Critiquing Ideas
October 24 Graduate Student Panels

  • Fun outside the lab
  • Grad student survival skills
 Research Web Page
October 31  Mock Program Committee Meeting
November 7  Teaching and Mentoring

  • Teaching advice and methods
  • How to give a good lecture
  • How to get the most out of your TA experience
  • Responsibilities of mentors and trainees
November 14  Research Ethics I

  • Human Subjects/Institutional Review Board
  • Authorship and publication
  • Plagiarism
  • Collaborative Research
November 21 Research Ethics II

  • Conflicts of interest
  • Workplace conduct
  • Data management
December 12  Mini-Conference

We are in the process of preparing the lecture notes for public release.  As we release the notes for each lecture, we will also post a brief article to accompany the slides.  In the future, we will prepare a video for each lecture topic, as well.  We encourage you to work through the material on this site independently, and to post comments and thoughts to the articles and postings on the site.  We will periodically also update the site with blog posts.  Although many of the blog posts linked in the syllabus are from previous years, we intend to continue posting blog entries this year on new topics related to the Ph.D., and research in general.  Please follow along!

Online Discussion

This term we will be using Piazza for class discussion. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates, the TA, and myself. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, I encourage you to post your questions on Piazza. If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email

Find our class page on Piazza, where online discussions will be held.