2020 M2 Career Seminar

Co-taught by Anastasia Bezarianos and Wendy Mackay. Our TA is Eugénie Brasier. You can contact us at carreer.seminar@gmail.com (yes with the typo) - please use [CareerSeminar] in the title of your communications.

The goal of the M2 Career Seminar is to introduce Masters (and Ph.D.) students to a career in research, in industry or as an entrepreneur.

This course is essential if you plan to apply for a Ph.D. grant, either at the Universite Paris-Saclay, or elsewhere. However, the course is also relevant for anyone who plans to join a startup, to conduct research at Inria, CNRS, or an industrial research laboratory, or to work in any international organization.

We will emphasize technical writing and communication in English, with a series of exercises, both in class and as homework assignments. You will also receive practical training, including how to choose a research topic, how to search, review and cite the research literature, how to organize and write a research paper and how to present your research project.

We will discuss the politics of research, including the publication process, deciding where to publish, choosing a doctoral program, cultural differences in research, different types of research careers, as well as plagarism and research ethics.

Our goal is to help you make an informed decision about a career and to prepare you for an excellent internship next spring.


The Career seminar requires your presence: 50% of your grade is based on your attendance and in-class participation (handing-in assignments and discussing them).

If you cannot come to class for some reason, please let us know in advance. Please put "[CareerSeminar]" in the subject line.

Homework assignments make up the other 50% of your grade. To receive credit, you must:
1. Upload your assignments by the due date using the links that you can find in the slides and in the assignment descriptions
	Name your files: LASTNAME_Firstname-Assignment1-BestPaper
2. Have a pdf version with you in class, including your name!

3. Important Check we have recorded your work, this will affect your grade.

Readings and Handouts

The following book is a classic that has taught several generations of native English speakers to write clearly and well. It has the advantage of being very short and clearly written. You can buy the book, or download an on-line version:
Elements of Style (Strunk and White)

The following is a useful essay on how to write a better research paper:
Everyone Can Write Better (Clark)

If you would like to take a coursera course, which involves registering first, try this:
Coursera (Stanford) - Writing in the Sciences

Digital notetaking apps: Evernote for general note taking (there is a free version), Mendeley (for annotating pdf papers mostly), online simple notes like google Keep, and any text editor.

Class and Assignments

Session 1: 9 September
Slides Introduction
Assignment #1 Best Paper Report (Homework for all students)
Assignment #2 Research Notebook (Homework for all students)
Recording of session

Session 2: 2 Oct
Slides Reviewing Papers
Only assignment for next week is your notebook
Recording part 1 and part 2 of the session

Session 3: 9 Oct
Slides same as previous week (Reviewing papers)
Assignment #3 Review
Don't forget to update your notebook (ongoing Assignment 2)
Recording part 1 and part 2 of the session

Session 4: 16 Oct
Slides Career planning
Assignment #4 Recommendation Letter
Don't forget to update your notebook (ongoing Assignment 2)
Recording of session

Session 5: 23 Oct
Slides Technical writing
Assignment #5 Abstract and Citation
Recording part 1 and part 2 of the session

Session 6: 6 Nov
Slides Writing a research paper
(Optional) Assignment #7 Write your CV and have the document in class with you
Recording of session

Session 7: 13 Nov
Slides Preparing a talk
Assignment #6 Abstract and Citation
Recording part 1 and part 2 of the session