Graduate Seminar


The purpose of the Graduate Seminar is to provide:

  • Graduate Students with exposure to a variety of research projects and activities in order to enrich their academic experience.
  • department members with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with all Graduate Students within the department and learn about each student’s research activities.
  • an opportunity for Graduate Students to develop skills in presentation and discussion of research topics in a public forum. Seminars will be conducted on a continuing basis appropriate to the complement of students within the department.


The Department of Civil and Resource Engineering guidelines for the graduate seminars are:

  1. All registered Graduate Students must participate as part of the required program of study.
  2. Regular attendance at seminars throughout the duration of a student’s program is required and shall be monitored by the Department.  
  3. In addition to regular attendance, Master’s-level students are required to make one seminar presentation. MASc and MEng students will normally make a presentation four months prior to the end of their program. Doctoral candidates are required to make two presentations, one during the third or fourth term to discuss the proposed research program and one in the final term prior to the thesis defense to provide a summary of the thesis work and findings. In all cases, seminar presentations must be completed prior to scheduling defense dates.
  4. The topic must be related to the student’s current thesis or project. Students should obtain the approval of their supervisory committee prior to planning a presentation and may choose to present to this committee prior to the departmental presentation.
  5. Each student shall submit an abstract to the Seminar Coordinator two weeks prior to the seminar presentation. A presentation will not be permitted if this requirement is not met.
  6. Each presentation will be monitored and evaluated by all in attendance at the presentation. If the presentation is deemed unsatisfactory by both the Graduate Studies Coordinator and the student’s Supervisory Committee, the student will be required to make additional presentation to satisfy the course requirements.
  7. The Department’s Graduate Studies Coordinator shall have the responsibility of deciding if a student has fulfilled the Graduate Seminar requirements according to the evaluation scheme presented below.
  8. Presentations will normally be scheduled during a one day ‘conference’ at the end of each term through consultation with the Graduate Studies Coordinator. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure scheduling of their presentation at an appropriate time. Tentative titles for the presentation must be submitted at the time of scheduling. Only in special cases, will presentations be scheduled at other times.

Abstract Template

Department of Civil and Resource Engineering
Graduate Student Research Seminar


Authors: Susan B. Anthony1, Daffy C. Duck2, & D. E. Author3

Instructions (to be deleted before submission by student): Replace the text above with the actual coauthors’ names. List authors by first name followed by their middle initial (if relevant) and last name. Use superscript numbers to indicate affiliations. Include your name and your supervisor’s as well as collaborators if applicable. Replace the text below this with the actual affiliations and degree type. The first one is given as an example. Delete unnecessary affiliations and authors or add more as needed.

1PhD candiate, Department of Civil and Resource Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
2Degree type, Affiliation for author 2
3Degree type, Affiliation for author 2

Instructions (replace with abstract text): The abstract should be at most two paragraphs, with a maximum of 250 words in total. Your abstract should tell the story of your presentation. Avoid figures as well as acronyms and jargon that other people in your seminar group (structures/geotech or mining/environmental) are unlikely to understand. The following should be included where relevant, and the entire text should fit on this one page.
• Introduction of subject area
• Description of project
• Review of project objectives (including novelty if relevant), methods,   results
• Clear statement of summary or conclusions


There are three required components to obtain a passing grade in the seminar course requirement. This grade will be assigned only after it has been determined that a student has met all requirements and ordinarily will not be given until several weeks prior to the thesis defense or project presentation. 

The three required elements are:

  1. Regular attendance at seminar presentations as monitored by the Graduate Studies Coordinator by attendance records.
  2. Submission of an acceptable abstract prior to the presentation.
  3. Successful completion of the required presentation or presentations.

The Graduate Studies Coordinator may enlist the help or advice of other members of the Department of Civil and Resource Engineering in making the final determination of a student’s performance.

Presentation requirements

The objective of the presentation is to convey information regarding the student’s research to the audience in attendance. The presenter must consider that the audience will include faculty members and students. As well, the background of the attendees will vary depending on their expertise and program of study. The presenter must endeavour to construct and give a presentation that is beneficial to all in the audience regardless of their familiarity with the topic.

The presentation will normally be scheduled for 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes for questions. Students are responsible for ensuring that their presentation meets the time requirements as they will not be permitted to continue beyond the 20 minute time limit. Only the information presented in the 20 minute time limit will be used in the evaluation of their performance. Students should anticipate that questions will be asked by both students and faculty members in attendance.

The presentation must be about or directly related to the students thesis or project work. It must contain the following elements:

 1st Presentation (all students)

  • An introduction to the area or topic of research
  • A review of the problem or issue being investigated
  • Discussion of the current practice or knowledge and an indication of the difference or originality of the proposed research plan or project.
  • Specific objectives of the research or project
  • A review of the methodology (or proposed methodology) to meet those objectives
  • Discussion of results (if available)
  • Summary or conclusions.

2nd Presentation (PhD Candidates)

  • Introduction and review of topic and problem being researched
  • Objectives of thesis work and original elements
  • Review of methodology
  • Presentation of detailed results
  • Conclusions and recommendations