Graduate Student FAQs

Who is required to take GradFIRST seminar?

New graduate students matriculating Fall 2022 or later are required to take a GradFIRST seminar, unless they are enrolled in a graduate program that is exempt from this requirement. Your program’s graduate coordinator will notify you if your program is exempt.

Am I required to take GradFIRST seminars in my first year of study?

Yes. Most seminars will be offered in fall semester with a limited number available in spring semester to accommodate students who matriculate in spring or could not enroll in a fall seminar due to scheduling conflicts. No summer seminars will be offered.

How can I choose which GradFIRST seminar to take?

Incoming graduate students will be notified about the GradFIRST seminar requirement at orientation and during advising at the beginning of their first semester. Graduate Coordinators and/or Graduate Coordinator Assistants will have access to information on available seminars in Athena and on the GradFIRST website to guide students to sections that fit their schedules and interests. In some cases, graduate programs may reserve seats in specific sections for members of their incoming cohorts.

How will the Graduate School track completion of GradFIRST seminars?

Students should list the GradFIRST seminar (GRSC 7001) on their program of study unless you are enrolled in a graduate program that is exempt from this requirement. The Graduate School may notify departments/programs when students have not completed this requirement within the first two semesters.

I’m a DoubleDawg student, am I required to take a GradFIRST seminar?

Yes, however, not until you formally matriculate into a graduate program for which GradFIRST is required.

Are non-degree seeking students, certificate-only students, or students seeking teacher endorsements required to take a GradFIRST seminar?

No. Only students who are formally admitted to and enrolled in graduate programs are required to complete GRSC 7001.

I transferred from a graduate program at another institution; am I required to take a GradFIRST seminar?

Yes. GradFIRST will prepare students to succeed at UGA.

I’m already required to take a 3-credit Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course as a funding or program requirement. Do I have to take a GradFIRST seminar?

Yes. The GradFIRST seminar covers content in areas beyond research ethics that are critical to promoting graduate student success. Conversely, the GradFIRST seminar does not necessarily cover content in sufficient depth to qualify/replace as a RCR course as required for some graduate funding programs.

Can I be exempt from taking a GradFIRST seminar?

Decisions to exempt students from the GradFIRST requirement are made at the graduate program level, not at the individual student level.

Can I take more than one seminar?

No. The GRSC 7001 course is not repeatable.

I’m a 2+ year student, can I take a GradFIRST seminar?

GradFIRST seminars are reserved for incoming, first-year students.

I am a student in an online graduate program. How can I take a GradFIRST seminar?

Approved online sections are not visible on Athena to prevent the seats from being enrolled by students who could otherwise take an in-person section. However, we will work directly with online students to advise them on an option that fits their schedule and location. In these cases, please contact for assistance.

I am a student at an extended campus (e.g., Griffin, Tifton, Gwinnett etc.). How can I take a GradFIRST seminar?

We have taken a few approaches to ensuring access to GradFIRST seminars for graduate students at an extended campus including offering in-person sections on extended campuses, approving online sections, and working with instructors to offer hybrid classes. If an in-person session is not available at your location, we will work directly with students at extended campuses to advise them on an option that fits their schedule and location. In these cases, please contact for assistance.

I am returning to UGA to earn a second graduate degree or transitioning to a second graduate degree program. If I already took a GradFIRST seminar, do I need to take one again?

No. If GRSC 7001 is on your transcript from a previous UGA degree, you do not need to take the course again.

I am a dual degree graduate student. Am I required to enroll in a GradFIRST seminar?

If a student is enrolled in two degree programs concurrently, the student is required to take a GradFIRST seminar (GRSC 7001) if it is a requirement of either program.

Course Scheduler FAQs

Does my department need to create a section of GradFIRST (GRSC7001) in Banner?

To facilitate coordination of the GradFIRST program, the Graduate School will be responsible for creating sections of GRSC7001 in Banner. Our office will contact instructors with an assigned CRN once it becomes available.

What should I do if I already created a section of GRSC7001 in Banner?

If you have already created a section of GRSC7001 in Banner, please email with the CRN number as soon as possible.

What should I do if the instructor already knows when they want to offer their GradFIRST seminar?

Please send an email to if you know your instructor’s preference for teaching a GradFIRST seminar.

I am concerned there will be limited classroom availability since the Centralized Classroom and Event Scheduling period has concluded.

Our office works directly with the Registrar’s Office to reserve classrooms for GradFIRST seminars, and we continue to coordinate this process through the start of each semester.

FAQs for Faculty

How many students will be allowed in each GradFIRST seminar?

The target enrollment for each GradFIRST seminar section is fifteen (15).

Who is eligible to teach a GradFIRST seminar?

Faculty with grad program faculty status may teach GradFIRST seminars.

What resources and support are available to faculty teaching a GradFIRST seminar?

Compensation – Faculty can propose a seminar to teach for $3500 extra compensation or scholarly support. Teaching a GradFIRST seminar is in addition to regular teaching responsibilities.

Out of Class Activity Fund – Instructors may make a request up to $300 to reimburse costs associated with a class meal or other “social” experience for students in your seminar. Submit your request form to

Content Development – Approximately half of the content of the GradFIRST seminars will be standardized across seminars. This standardized content (example syllabi and PPTs prepared by subject matter experts) is available in the GradFIRST eLC space. Faculty instructors are added to the eLC space once approved to teach the GradFIRST seminar. You will have flexibility to design your course around these required items and include specialized topics of your choosing.

How can I propose a GradFIRST seminar? What topics are appropriate?

In addition to the standardized seminar content expected for the GradFIRST seminars, faculty are encouraged to develop seminar content that reflects topics related to their expertise, disciplinary focus, or academic interests. Example topics (e.g., science communication, academic writing, data visualization) are presented in the overview; additional topics are welcomed and will be considered during the review process.

Faculty will submit proposals for GradFIRST sections to the Graduate School via the Graduate School’s GradFIRST portal and will be notified of approvals in order to schedule section meeting times and classroom locations.

How will students enroll in my GradFIRST seminar section?

Students will be advised to enroll in GradFIRST seminars during orientation, and program advisors will have access to topical overviews to guide students to seminars of interest. Students can also review the available seminar sections on the Graduate School’s GradFIRST website and in Athena.

Graduate Program FAQs

Will there still be a requirement that all graduate research assistants funded by the Graduate School take GRSC 8550?

Students funded by the Graduate School (e.g., Presidential Fellows, Doctoral Fellows) will no longer be required to take GRSC 8550, with the expectation that they will complete GRSC 7001 (GradFIRST) in their first year of graduate studies.

Can we reserve GradFIRST seminars for students in our department/program?

GradFIRST seminars are offered by interested faculty and are not required to be offered in every graduate program, as students may enroll in seminar sections taught across campus. However, GradFIRST instructors may work with their respective graduate programs to reserve a specified number of seats for their own graduate students in GradFIRST seminars.

We don’t have anyone in our department/program to teach a GradFIRST seminar. Can our students enroll in a section offered in another department/program?

Yes. GradFIRST seminars are offered university-wide and need not be program specific. Where appropriate, we encourage students to enroll in GradFIRST seminars in other departments/programs to broaden their exposure to other academic disciplines and faculty. Graduate advisors will have access to the full list of seminars on the GradFIRST website to facilitate placing students in appropriate sections.

Do we need to update our program curriculum to include this requirement? Will the GradFIRST seminar be listed on students’ program of study?

GRSC 7001 (GradFIRST) may be listed on students’ programs of study in order to comport with updated financial aid regulations from the Department of Education. In order to allow students to access federal financial aid, all required courses should be listed on a program of study. Thus, graduate programs should update their programs of study to include GRSC 7001 (GradFIRST) when required, without changing other curriculum guidelines (i.e., add one credit hour).


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