Office: RLM 16.324
Hours: M 1:30-2:30, W 10:30-11:30, or by appt
Phone: (512) 471-3449
Philosophy of this course
AST 185C is a professional development seminar tailored for incoming graduate students in the
UT Astronomy Ph.D. program. It is informal, consisting mainly of information, advice, and discussion.
The main activity is weekly attendance and participation. We will try to address questions and issues
that can be important to your progress in our program, and in astronomy as a profession, but don't
generally come up in conventional courses. UT's Graduate School offers a number of less field-specific
professional development courses, as well as occasional one day workshops on topics such as grant
proposal writing, applying for academic jobs, etc.
A major goal of the semester is to give you an in-depth overview of research activities at UT Austin,
including the areas of stellar, interstellar, extragalactic astronomy, planetary systems, and theory.
This may be particularly useful if you have not yet picked a research area and advisor, but even if you
know what your area of specialization will be, it is a good thing to know generally about what is going
on in the department. We will also discuss issues such as: What does it really take to succeed in graduate
school and beyond? What are the prospects of finding a job, what kind of jobs are available, and how
does one prepare for various career paths? These questions will be addressed by a variety of guest with
various backgrounds and experiences.
What is expected of you in this class?
To attend regularly, except in case of illness or conflicting activities such as an observing run. Several class
sessions will require a little bit of preparation (one round of short oral presentations and and possibly a brief
survey or reading), but most of the time you'll come just to listen, ask questions, and participate in discussions.