Introductory Graduate Seminar in Earth Sciences (GEOL 505)

Instructor: Thorsten Becker (; ph: 213-740-8365; office: 269 ZHS

Times: Meets Mondays 10 AM in ZHS 118 unless specified otherwise

The purpose of this course is to become familiar with the breadth and depth of study represented in the Department of Earth Sciences at USC via interaction with the faculty. In addition, we will learn how to prepare for professional meetings, get to know the staff, facilities, and analytical equipment available in the department. Lastly, we will learn about grant proposal writing, reviewing and writing papers.


Aug 22: Organizational meeting

Aug 29: Katrina Edwards, Ken Nealson

Sep 5: Labor day

Sep 12: SCEC (reading assignment)

Sep 19: Frank Corsetti (full slot)

Sep 26: Sarah Feakins (11am)

Oct 3: Scott Paterson, Doug Hammond

Oct 10: Columbus day

Oct 17: Meghan Miller, Julien Emile-Geay

Oct 24: Greg Davis, James Dolan

Oct 31: Dave Bottjer, John Platt

Nov 7: Will Berelson, Yehuda Ben-Zion

Nov 14: Andrea Donnellan (11:00), Charlie Sammis

Nov 21: Thanksgiving week

Nov 28: Sergio Sanudo-Wilhelmy, Josh West

What is expected of class participants:

  1. Attendance is mandatory, and roll will be taken. If more than two class periods are missed without documentation, failure will result.

  2. Each week, different Earth Science faculty members will give presentations on the important topics of their field, in order for class participants to gain an appreciation for the breadth of research taking place in the Earth Sciences Department. Participants are required to attend and encouraged to ask questions.

  3. Class participants will read recent grant proposals that have been submitted by faculty members in order to become familiar with grant writing, an important skill in academia. In week 10, the students will have chosen one of the proposals and written a detailed NSF-style review of it.

Statement for Students with Disabilities

Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to me (or to TA) as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number for DSP is (213) 740-0776.

Statement on Academic Integrity

USC seeks to maintain an optimal learning environment. General principles of academic honesty include the concept of respect for the intellectual property of others, the expectation that individual work will be submitted unless otherwise allowed by an instructor, and the obligations both to protect one’s own academic work from misuse by others as well as to avoid using another’s work as one’s own. All students are expected to understand and abide by these principles. Scampus, the Student Guidebook, contains the Student Conduct Code in Section 11.00, while the recommended sanctions are located in Appendix A: Students will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for further review, should there be any suspicion of academic dishonesty. The Review process can be found at: