What To Expect in a Seminar Course


No matter your major,  you’ll definitely benefit from enrolling in a seminar course. Regardless of the path you’re going to take, great communication goes a long way. One of my favorite courses from this past semester was actually a seminar course looking at child development in a social context. Here are some of my tips that really helped me succeed:

1)    Be prepared to read: Journal articles and textbook readings are not optional. You can expect to read at least 4-5 articles a week, as well as several chapters from your book. The professors often have slides that will supplement these two resources. This can bolster your learning and lead to an enriching experience (plus it’ll be more enjoyable coming to class prepared). Do your readings!

2)    Time to talk: You’re going to be talking - a lot. The seminar course is built on small-group discussions. These will often focus on an assigned reading, or a prompt that the professor may have. For instance, in my course, we discussed racial disparities when it came to breast cancer diagnoses. Be prepared to talk, state your opinion, and engage in discussion. This is often for marks, or is crucial for your learning.

3)    You’re going to present: Every week the course involves someone giving a talk on an article they read, or something that caught their interest. Be prepared to get up in front of the class and deliver a short talk. This is also going to be for marks, or to bolster your learning. Time to step outside that comfort zone!

4)    Engage: The classroom usually seats approximately thirty students, for Psychology students, as most seminar courses are higher level courses. These are the best of the best students, who are motivated, determined to engage, and are willing to participate. Ask their feedback, opinion, and even meet for coffee to get to know your colleagues. You’re gaining valuable connections and developing communication skills at the same time.

5)    Keep track: Although most of the course is built on oral communication, this does not mean that you don’t have to write notes. Keep track of the discussion by jotting notes and summarizing articles beforehand! This will help for later evaluations that you may be required to write. Also, due to the large workload and expected readings, this may also help to keep you organized.

Overall, a seminar course is a great course to take to prepare for a Masters, professional school, or going into the workforce. You might be required to deliver a powerpoint presentation at some point in your career, or to engage in a debate in your day-to-day work life. I personally enjoyed this course and the amount of information that I learned throughout the semester about social development, as well as how deep some of the debates we had in class were. I highly recommend trying something outside of the traditional lecture-setting to enrich your undergraduate experience. After all, you’re paying for it!