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Physics Seimnar: Justin Burton

October 2, 2023 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Title: Integrating First-year Research Rotations into Physics Graduate Programs
Abstract: The vast majority of physics graduate programs in the USA rely on 1-2 years of intensive classes followed by a shift towards research. Students often begin working in a research group at the end of their 1st year, after they have passed a written and/or oral qualifying exam. This can be problematic since students are not given an opportunity to excel at the primary focus of graduate school. Since the early 2000s, the Physics Graduate Program at Emory University has used a different approach, instead relying on a system of research rotations in different groups during the first year of graduate school. The rotations serve to familiar students with faculty research and individual group management styles and allow faculty to evaluate students prior to joining their group. These rotations are coupled to a proposal style, research based qualifying exam at the end of the second year of graduate school. During these first two years, students are also taking both core and elective classes. I will discuss the main benefits and potential drawbacks of this model, and the common pitfalls to look for during implementation. As a whole, this model leads to a two-year evaluation period for students (prior to the qualifying exam) where they are assessed on research, classwork, and scientific writing. In addition to high rates of student satisfaction, the rotation model is more inclusive and accommodates a diverse range of student talents and levels of preparation.


October 2, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Lampe Hall Room 243
111 Lampe Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607 United States
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