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INFSCI 3005 - Introduction to Doctoral Studies

(Fall 2020, CRN 21487)

[ Formal Data | Syllabus | Materials ]


Learning Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to introduce new doctoral students in Information Science and Intelligent Systems programs to the doctoral programs and a range of topics critical for doctoral students and young researchers - working of the scientific enterprise, scholarly research, ethics, and the current state of the art research in information science and intelligent systems.

By the end of the course, you will gain a deeper understanding of the following topics:

Several types of activities and the course project performed during the course will allow you practice and improve several important skills, which contribute to your success in doctoral studies and research career:


Participants in this course are first year doctoral students attending Ph.D. programs at the School of Computing and Information - such as Information Science and Intelligent Systems Programs. Others can take the course or audit it by permission of the instructor. The most important prerequisite for taking this course is your interest in scientific research, motivation to succeed in your PhD studies, and commitment to learning.

Course Work and Grading

Components of the Final Grade

Course assessment includes attendance, assignments, and projects. Each lecture bears 1 attendance point. Each assignment and project bears certain number of points. The instructor also reserves the right to administer unannounced quizzes for up to 5 points each if he feels that the students are not pursuing a resonable amount of assigned reading. Your final grade depends on the percentage of points you have earned. Score < 50% corresponds to F, 50-62.5 is D range, 65.5-75 is C range, 75-87.5 is B range, and 87.5-100 is A range.


Class attendance, while not mandatory, is required if you want to succeed in this course. While the course a reasonable set of assigned readings, by the nature of this unusial subject most of the material is not sufficiently covered by the books or papers. Finally, many lectures include demonstrations and videos. The attendance credit is engineered to encourage your attendance. Each lecture bears 1 attendance point. The maximum number of attendance poits is 12. If you have missed the lecture, make sure that you have a copy of the slides and watch the video of the lecture if it is available online. The links to the lecture slides and videos are provided on the Materials page.

Weekly Grind

Every week, you are expected to do three things

Special Assignments and Projects

To practice specific skills, each student will need to complete the following special assignments and project. Details for each of these assignments can be found on the CourseWeb.

  1. Journal paper presentation (12 pt)
  2. Peer reviewing experience (10pt)
  3. Research project proposal (10+20pt)

Other Course Requirements

In addition to graded work, there are a few course requirements. No further points will be assigned for completing the requirements, but you are expected to satisfy it before the end of the course to receive the grade. Options and details are explained on the CourseWeb.

Extra Credit Points

You can earn extra credit points for several things such as asking a good question in class, helping during the lecture, finding errors in slides, and suggesting good supplementary materials for the class (books, articles, videos, etc). Also, one extra credit point per week will be awarded to the student with largest CoMeT post impact for that week.

Course Policies

Academic Integrity

You are expected to be fully aware of your responsibility to maintain a high quality of integrity in all of your work. All work must be your own, unless collaboration is specifically and explicitly permitted as in the course group project. Any unauthorized collaboration or copying will at minimum result in no credit for the affected assignment and may be subject to further action under the University Guidelines for Academic Integrity. You are expected to have read and understood these Guidelines. A document discussing these guidelines was included in your orientation materials.

Late Submissions

Homework or projects submitted after due date will be accepted, but your objective grade will be scaled so that you lose 10% of the grade for every late working day. I.e., if you will submit your work one week late, you will lose 50% of the grade. Note that most homework and projects require submission in both electronic and printed form. The submission date (used in calculating late days) is the date when the last of these forms is submitted. In addition, projects have a portion of the grade for presentation of the project. If you will fail to present your project on due date, you will lose these points.

Special Considerations

COVID-19 Delivery Mode: Due to COVID-19 restrictions all class comunications including in-person work with the instructor will be beformed using synchronous or asynchronous tools including e-mail, Canvas discussions, and Zoom

For students participating remotely from China: This course covers topics and materials that may be viewed as politically sensitive in some contexts. Please review the material carefully. If there are particular topics or readings that concern you, please contact your instructor immediately.

Disability Policy: If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Disability Resources and Services, 140 William Pitt Union, at 412-648-7890 or 412-383-7355 (TTY) as early as possible, but no later than the fourth week of the term or visit the Office of Disability Resources website as early as possible, but no later than the 4th week of the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.

Copyright © 2020 Peter Brusilovsky