Directed Introductory Graduate Research

  • Course Type: Graduate Course
  • Semester Offered: Fall, Spring
Course Number: 
OPTI 792
Distance Course: 
Course Description: 
This course is designed to aid PhD students in their search and selection of a research area and research advisor by incorporating research activities into the first year of the Optical Sciences PhD program. In this course, students select a faculty advisor who will supervise a research project and assign a grade at the end of the semester based on student performance in the course. For their research project, students may select from various options, including (but not limited to): assisting with an ongoing research project, creating and working on their own research project under their supervisor’s guidance or the guidance of another mentor such as a more senior graduate student, choosing rotations through multiple research groups (in which case multiple single-credit research courses with different supervisors might be taken in a single semester), or theoretical or computational investigation into fundamental aspects of science and engineering that underlie specific research areas or specific projects. In all cases, the student and supervisor must agree upon the research-related tasks to be accomplished during the semester, the expected time commitment, and the basis for determining the letter grade. The student and advisor must describe these aspects of the course on a Course Description and Grading form that will be turned in to the Optical Sciences Academic Programs office. A course grade may, for example, be based upon oral presentations (such as in group meetings or in a seminar-format course), construction of a laboratory project or device, time and effort expended towards the completion of an extended project, numerical simulations in support of an experiment, or a written document describing a laboratory project or aspects fundamental to a research area. The number of course credits that the student registers for must be commensurate with the expected time commitment to be spent on the project during the semester. University of Arizona policy requires a minimum of 45 hours of student work to be expended during the semester per credit hour. This is roughly equivalent to an average of at least 3 hours of work per week per credit hour. This course is not a replacement for general independent study projects, which are not graded on a letter-grade scale, nor is this course a replacement for traditional laboratory courses or dissertation credits that are allowed after the first year of the PhD program. Unless special approval is otherwise given, this course is only available to students in their first year of the Optical Sciences PhD program. However, the research supervisor may be a faculty member from a department other than Optical Sciences. Students may register for up to 3 credits for each of the fall and spring semesters of the first year of their PhD program. For a research rotation option, students would register for a single credit with two or three different supervisors, to be undertaken concurrently throughout the semester or concurrently at different times during the semester. Students who are not enrolled in the PhD program on a full-time basis may submit a request to take this course after their first year of enrollment in the PhD program. Under no conditions will a student be able to receive more than 6 credits in total for this course.

Various faculty may be listed as primary instructor for this course.

Questions about this course and course registration forms should be directed to the graduate academic advisor.

Course Material:


Course Syllabus: 
Academic Integrity

According to the Arizona Code of Academic Integrity, “Integrity is expected of every student in all academic work. The guiding principle of academic integrity is that a student’s submitted work must be the student’s own.” Unless otherwise noted by the instructor, work for all assignments in this course must be conducted independently by each student. Co-authored work of any kind is unacceptable. Misappropriation of exams before or after they are given will be considered academics misconduct.

Misconduct of any kind will be prosecuted and may result in any or all of the following:

  • Reduction of grade
  • Failing grade
  • Referral to the Dean of Students for consideration of additional penalty, i.e., notation on a student’s transcript re: academic integrity violation, etc.
Students with Learning Disabilities

If a student is registered with the Disability Resource Center, he/she must submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if he/she is requesting reasonable accommodations.

The information contained in this syllabus may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.