Core Seminar II
(MARS 501)
Spring 2013

Ron Kaufmann
Office: Shiley Center 274; x5904; kaufmann <at> sandiego<dot>edu or rkaufmann <at> gmail<dot>com

Office Hours: Monday 1:30-3:00, Thursday 2:30-4:30, Friday 12:30-2:00, or by appointment

Note: This syllabus is subject to change during the semester.  All changes will be posted to the web site.


Jan 29


Introduction; Updates (progress since early December)
Format and expectations for final thesis proposals, presentations
; Guidelines for thesis proposal

Feb 5


Thesis proposals: Review of most recent drafts
Scientific Presentations: Considerations, discussion

Feb 12


Graduate Colloquium: Review, discussion
Literature identification: strategies, types, relevance

Feb 19


Ocean Sciences Meeting - No class

Feb 26

Literature discussion - Challenging papers

Mar 5

Discussion of thesis proposal first drafts


Mar 12


Literature discussion

Mar 19


Individual meetings
First drafts due on Tuesday, Mar 26

Mar 26


Spring Break - No class

Apr 2


Literature discussion

Apr 9


Discussion of thesis proposal second drafts

Apr 16


Individual meetings

Apr 23


Scientific Presentations: Short talks
Second drafts due on Friday, Apr 26

Apr 30


Individual meetings

May 7


Thesis proposal practice talks

May 14

3:00-4:00  Thesis proposal oral presentations (ST232)
Final thesis proposals due by 11:59 pm on Friday, May 24

     Thesis Proposal Drafts (2)
100 points
     Final Thesis Proposal
200 points

     Final Oral Presentation

100 points

     Participation & Short Talk
100 points

600 points


Course Objectives
     The main goal of this course is for each student to write a solid, focused thesis proposal describing the research that will form the core of their M.S. research project.  Along the way each student will work with a thesis committee chair, who will help to refine the thesis proposal and will work with the student to constitute a thesis committee of at least three members.


     To help you with your thesis proposal we will discuss the identification, selection and evaluation of relevant scientific literature, explore some of the important concepts behind experimental design and data analysis, and cover the general content and style guidelines for the proposal and thesis.  The course will be conducted as a seminar in which students and the instructor will evaluate and critique scientific literature and proposal drafts.  At the end of the semester, you will present a synopsis of your proposed thesis research to the Marine Science graduate faculty.  To help you prepare for that presentation, we will discuss and practice scientific presentation techniques.  Your written proposal will be submitted at the end of the semester and must be approved by both your committee chair and the course instructor.


Learning Outcomes
    After taking this course, you should have

Academic Integrity
    The use of information from published sources can create some confusion about proper use and referencing of material that you did not generate yourself.  Here are some guidelines to help you use but not misuse information produced by others.  For writing assignments in general, it is expected that you will read publications and incorporate into your papers some of the findings and ideas contained in those published works.  When you refer to information generated by someone else, it is important to credit the source of that information.  Commonly, that credit comes in the form of a parenthetical citation.  For example:

    Global climate change has been implicated in the decline of zooplankton biomass in the eastern Pacific during the second half of the 20th century (Roemmich and McGowan, 1995).
    This sentence contains a conclusion described by Roemmich and McGowan in a paper published in 1995.  It could be appropriate for you to include a sentence like this in one of your papers, but since you didn’t perform the research that led to this conclusion you need to cite the people who did.
    Neglecting to properly cite another person’s work is a form of plagiarism, the practice of reporting someone else’s work as your own.  There are other forms of plagiarism as well, including: copying portions of text verbatim from published sources (including the internet), receiving unauthorized assistance on papers, and drawing material from similar papers written by other students.  Plagiarism constitutes a serious breach of professional ethics as well as a violation of the University of San Diego’s academic integrity policy.  If an instructor has reason to believe that an act of plagiarism has occurred, an academic integrity report must be filed with the dean of the college and an academic integrity hearing may be convened.  If the academic integrity hearing committee determines that plagiarism has occurred, disciplinary action may range from loss of points or a grade penalty to expulsion from the university.  Bottom line: do your own work and don’t copy the work of others.  Any questions about acceptable procedures for sharing of data, exchange of ideas, citation of sources, or any other academic integrity issues should be addressed to your instructor.  Better safe than sorry!

    The schedule included in this syllabus is a draft and is subject to change as the semester progresses.  Updates to the schedule will be posted on the web site.

    Assignments are due by 11:59 pm on the due dates listed in the syllabus.

    There are a number of weekly seminar series at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  A calendar of those seminars can be found here.  If there are seminars in that series that would be of interest, we can organize class trips to attend.


This page copyright 2007-2013 by Ron Kaufmann
All rights reserved
Last modified 13 May 2013 by Ron Kaufmann