BCSC 310: Senior Seminar

Prerequisites: Senior status in BCS
Offered: Fall/Spring
Required or recommended for: Seniors only

A 2-credit course that must be taken in the senior year by all BCS majors who do not enter the Honors Program. (Students in the Honors program take BCSC 311 instead.)The main purpose of the course is to provide students with experience reading, evaluating, and discussing primary research papers. Each student chooses a topic of particular interest, familiarizes him or herself with the topic, chooses a classic paper for the entire class to read, and leads a discussion of the paper. Members of the class come prepared to discuss a set of questions provided at the time the article is assigned, such as:

  • What was the question addressed?
  • What was the method?
  • What was observed?
  • What is the main conclusion, the logic behind it, and the assumptions on which it depends; is it convincing?
  • What was new or important about the paper?
  • What are the broad implications?

Finally, the student writes an evaluation of the paper as though providing peer review for a journal. Students' grades depend on performance as leaders, as discussants, and as authors of reviews, in equal parts.