Orientation and First-Semester Course

All new students should participate in orientation meetings held by the Graduate School, and the short orientation session within the Field – these sessions are usually held before classes begin or during the first week of classes. The purpose of the Field session is to provide an overview of the field and the Cornell system, to start to get to know your peers and faculty, and to have a first chance to ask questions about this handbook or any other aspect of graduate student life.

All first-year students should take a one-credit fall and spring-semester course in EAS (6920 “How to be a successful Graduate Student”), designed to introduce Geological Sciences and Atmospheric Sciences students to the department and to acclimatize students to graduate life. The course has a different topic each week: introduction to campus resources available (for example professional development and mental health); discussions of ethical and practical issues as a student in science; how to be a good mentor/mentee; creation of an individual development plan; what it is like to be an international student; how to write a paper and complete peer review; how to give a successful presentation; and a proposal writing element where students get training and feedback to write an NSF-style graduate fellowship proposal.