What is a Ph.D. seminar really like, and how can I prepare?

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How are Ph.D. seminars structured?

Ph.D. seminars vary in how they are set up. Some universities have methodological seminars such as archival, experimental, judgement and decision making, etc. Others have topical seminars such as auditing, financial, tax, managerial, etc. The structure of the seminar is largely dependent on the university you are at and on the faculty who teach the seminar. You will likely take seminars in the accounting department as well as other departments such as finance, management, and/or economics..


What do I do in a seminar?

Faculty take different approaches as to how they structure their seminars. During your doctoral program you will have multiple seminars and will likely have more than one approach. Some faculty may assign one doctoral student to each research paper to be the disussion leader. Others may ask that you come prepared with overheads or Powerpoint slides and present the research paper assigned to you. Still others may prefer to lead the discussion themselves for all papers but will likely expect your involvement in the discussion. The frequency of you taking the role of "discussion leader" or "presenter" will depend largely on the number of students in your seminar.


How do I prepare for a Ph.D. seminar?

Regardless of the approach taken in the seminar, the best preparation is to thoroughly read all of the papers assigned and come prepared with questions and comments. If you don't understand something in the paper you would be wise to cross reference with other papers (even if they are not assigned) to get a deeper understanding of the material. All faculty recognize thorough preparation and your efforts will pay off down the road.


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