The GradFIRST seminar series supplements discipline-specific training in graduate students’ academic programs with focused professional development and engagement/networking opportunities with faculty and other graduate students across UGA’s campuses. GradFIRST seminars are 1-credit courses (GRSC 7001) taught by UGA graduate program faculty.



In his 2022 State of the University address, President Jere W. Morehead announced a new initiative – GradFIRST – that will offer faculty-led seminars to provide first-year graduate students with foundational training in research, scholarship, and professional development. These university-wide GradFIRST seminars launched in Fall 2022. Providing an onboarding seminar for new graduate students ensures that regardless of background or academic discipline, students will have access to the resources and information that can support their success at UGA and beyond.

This program was developed in response to graduate student and stakeholder input on how we can best help our students thrive in their graduate studies and beyond. GradFIRST seminars will improve awareness of and access to important resources, provide an opportunity for students to connect with others, and build a strong foundation for their success.


What it includes

All GradFIRST seminars include discussion of the following topics:

  • Planning your graduate education roadmap
  • Getting the most out of graduate mentoring
  • Grievance procedures and conflict resolution
  • Ethical conduct of research and scholarship
  • Promotion of mental health and well-being
  • Career exploration and planning for success after graduate school

Faculty instructors tailor additional seminar content to reflect their expertise and interests, including topics such as:

  • Science communication
  • Grant writing and seeking external funding
  • Advocacy/public policy
  • Data visualization
  • Academic writing and reviewing skills
  • Community-engaged research/scholarship
  • Other topics proposed by faculty instructors


Department Contact

Anne Shaffer, Associate Dean



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