Expectations and grading policy, honor code
The senior seminar in the both semesters has 3 credits. We expect
you to spend on average about 9 hours/week on the course (3
hours/credit). This includes times spent on the research project
during the semester inside and outside of the class room. Since
research is inherently unpredicable there might be crunch times
where you need to spend more time and others where you can relax.
However, some planning can go a long way to avoid work overload.
I. Process/Presentations: 20% of Senior Seminar Grade.
We expect from you that you meet the following requirements in a
- Read one previously written thesis proposal recommended by you
seminar advisor and be able to summarize the content in words at
one of the individual meetings.
- Discuss with your seminar advisor at
least one paper that is relevant for your project. .
- Attend the group and individual meetings (we will take
- Implement your project in a professional manner: meet
regularly with your thesis mentor, and be proactive about
carrying your project through.
- Hand in outline, draft and final version of your thesis
(proposal), on time! We will deduct
1/3 of the final grade if any of the documents are not
turned in on time.
- Improve your drafts following advice of advisors, mentors, and
- Present your work in the mini conferences and poster session.
II. Thesis (Proposal): 80% of Senior Seminar Grade (also see rubric)
Content (most important): Does the paper clearly define the
(proposed) research? Does contain a good discussion of the
scientific background of the study? Is the proposed research
design adequate? Are statements of fact appropriately
referenced? Does the abstract summarize the major results of the
work to date?
Writing Quality: Does the manuscript flow or are
there gaps in the logic? Is it well organized? Does
each paragraph cover one subject? Is the grammar
correct? Does the paper have spelling errors that would be
caught by using a spell checker? Is the title informative and a
reflection of the content? Are all scientific terms
adequately defined? Is scientific terminology used
correctly? Are abbreviations and acronyms used only when
Quality of Graphs and Tables: Are any
reproductions of high quality? Is each axis labeled? Does
each figure have a figure caption? Are different symbols
legible? Are all figures interleaved with the text? Do
figures adequately represent the points you want to make?
Referencing: Does the paper contain an adequate
number of references from the peer reviewed scientific
literature? For the proposal we require at least 15 and
for the final thesis, 30 RELEVANT references. A few web
sites are acceptable, as are major reference books and
newspapers. However, the bulk of the references should be
from scientific journals and books. Are all citations in
the list of references?
Approximate final thesis
(proposal) length: 40 (20) pages, double spaced, 12pt
font, including title page, plus figures.
III. Conducting research during the school year
The goal of the senior seminar is to conduct independent
research and present the results at the end of the year.
Some students include the summer in their research, other's
don't. Both groups of students can and have produced
excellent theses. For both groups we expect that the
research and results are furthered during the academic
year. Results and reports written during the summer can be
a part of but not the entire thesis. The students who
routinely have the best theses do not have the largest or most
complex data sets but are the students who diligently work on
their topic and thoroughly analyze and discuss the data they
have; taking the time throughout the year to fully explore their
Definition of grades
||Highly exceptional, rare performance
||Excellent work, exceeds course expectations
||Very good work, meets all course expectations
||Good work, meets most course expectations
||Work meets major course expectations
||Fair achievement, but below what is generally
||Barely acceptable achievement
||Lowest achievement to allow for pass
The Columbia College Student Council, on behalf of the
whole student body, has resolved that maintaining
academic integrity is the preserve of all members of our
intellectual community – including and especially
As a consequence, all Columbia College students will
now make the following pledge:
We, the undergraduate
students of Columbia University, hereby pledge to value
the integrity of our ideas and the ideas of others by
honestly presenting our work, respecting authorship, and
striving not simply for answers but for understanding in
the pursuit of our common scholastic goals. In this way,
we seek to build an academic community governed by our
collective efforts, diligence, and Code of Honor.
In addition, all Columbia College students are
committed to the following honor code:
I affirm that I will not
plagiarize, use unauthorized materials, or give or
receive illegitimate help on assignments, papers, or
examinations. I will also uphold equity and honesty in
the evaluation of my work and the work of others. I do
so to sustain a community built around this Code of
Approved by the student body in 1912, the Code states:
We, the students of Barnard College, resolve to uphold the honor
of the College by refraining from every form of dishonesty in our
academic life. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or
receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any papers or
books not authorized by the instructor in examinations, or to
present oral work or written work which is not entirely our own,
unless otherwise approved by the instructor. We consider it
dishonest to remove without authorization, alter, or deface
library and other academic materials. We pledge to do all that is
in our power to create a spirit of honesty and honor for its own