PhD Research Seminar series

Course Term: 
1st year
2nd year
ECTS credits: 
Course Description: 

In the PhD workshop, students present their original research to other students and the instructors. The research presented should be preliminary, and interaction between the speaker and the audience is encouraged.

Learning Outcomes: 

The goal is to teach students how to do research and to provide feedback about their work.


Presentations: required for second- and third-years, option for first-years.  Except for those in the first year, all registered students must give at least one talk during the semester.  Regular talks are 30 minutes, but students whose research is more advanced should sign up for a 1 hour talk.  Each meeting has time for 2 hours of presentations, but to encourage discussion, we prefer not to have 4 short talks.  Only registered students are allowed to present.

Make sure you sign up for your presentation before the first meeting of the semester. If you do not sign up by then, we will sign you up for the earliest available date.

You should prepare slides for your presentation.  Email your slides to the instructors and your advisor five days in advance (Thursday for a Tuesday talk).  If we do not receive the slides by the deadline or if the slides are substantially incomplete, you will not be allowed to present. It is useful to practice out loud your talk at least twice before the presentation, either for yourself or in front of friends.  In the talk, explain your research question and why it is important before moving on to the details.  Don’t waste much time with the literature, instead get to your contribution.  Read the advice about writing papers and preparing slides linked from the seminar website for helpful tips.

Referee reports: option for first-years.  First-year students also have an option to give a short talk.  Otherwise, they are required to submit referee reports on two talks of their choice that take place on two separate meetings during the semester.  For each meeting, you have to select one presentation on which to write a referee report.  A referee report is a constructive evaluation of the promises and shortcomings of the student's project.  It usually consists of two parts.  The first part is an overall evaluation of the project; you identify the main results and how they fit into the literature; suggest the most promising directions to pursue; and point out major flaws and (if possible) how to remedy them.  This part can be similar to the evaluations we send after your talks.  The second part is a more detailed evaluation that also delves into smaller issues, such as suggestions on the empirical methodology, alternative estimators to use, less central interpretational issues, alternative plausible assumptions for the model, presentational tips, etc.  Your referee report will be shared with the presenter, so please try to write in a way that will be helpful for your colleague in improving her/his research.  Each referee report is due on the third day after the meeting on which the presentation is given.

Attendance: required for everyone.  Registered students may miss at most one class during the semester, and must send an email to the instructors in advance. We will take attendance.


The PhD workshop is mandatory for all PhD students in their first three years of study. Students from senior years are also encouraged to register.