The following guidelines are to assist qualified graduate students in the preparation and delivery of a successful seminar.

  • CUTF seminars should be designed as General Education courses. Additionally, students taking part in the Undergraduate Honors Program will receive credit towards their Honors requirement upon successful completion of the course.
  • The seminar is worth five units. Undergraduate students who enroll are expected to have 12 out-of-class hours per week in addition to the three class hours of student contact, i.e., the seminar.
  • Seminars are intended for undergraduate students only and are specifically targeted to freshmen and sophomores.
  • Seminar content should be related to the graduate student’s dissertation research or advanced graduate work.
  • The seminar should require a substantial writing component, i.e., 12-15 pages for a final paper. In writing assignments it is usually best to provide for a "draft and rewrite" experience so that students can learn how to respond to supportive criticisms and can also experience the distance that usually has to be traveled between a draft and a polished paper.
  • The seminar should provide an active learning format in which students can develop the ability to read critically and conceptually, and therefore to speak and write with discrimination.
  • Assign weekly core readings so that the seminar can focus on topics or documents that all students are prepared to discuss. Pose prompt questions from the readings in order to improve the quality of discussion. Assignment of formal presentations and critical comment may also be a useful strategy for stimulating discussion.
  • The seminar should provide insights into research methodology in the field, as well as an introduction to the meaning and excitement of research. The best results are usually obtained when students are obliged to define a topic for research early in the quarter and report on preliminary results by the fifth or sixth week.
  • Attendance may not be used as a class requirement. The CUTF Program recommends using class participation instead.
  • Limit lectures, guest lectures, field trips, and films so as to insure those weekly discussions are at the heart of the seminar experience.
  • Do not include any prior requirements for the seminar, e.g., “knowledge of a second language.”
  • Limit the seminar enrollment to about 16 students so as to insure active participation by all members.
  • Consult the General Education Submission Guidelines and Foundation Area GE Credit Guidelines to assist with developing a syllabus:

Examples of past successful syllabi