Instructor FAQs

How many students will be allowed in each GradFIRST seminar?

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

Can non-tenure track faculty teach GradFIRST seminars?

Non-tenure track faculty may teach GradFIRST seminars if they are members of graduate program faculty and have significant experience working directly with graduate students.

I've taught a First Year Odyssey seminar before. How is this similar, and how is it different?

The GradFIRST seminar model is similar to First Year Odyssey (FYO) in that faculty can propose a seminar to teach for $3500 extra compensation or scholarly support. Like FYO, teaching GradFIRST seminars is in addition to regular teaching responsibilities. In order to meet the needs of graduate students, and different from the FYO model, approximately half the content of the GradFIRST seminars will be standardized across seminars (see additional FAQs regarding seminar content). Faculty may propose additional topic(s) relevant to their expertise to complete the seminar content in their section.

I am interested in teaching a GradFIRST seminar, but I am not an expert in/comfortable teaching about the required topics. Will there be resources to help prepare me to teach the required topics?

The Graduate School will partner with UGA subject matter experts and campus partners to develop modular content that can be adopted or adapted by faculty instructors to assist with course preparation on key topics (e.g., ethical and academic honesty guidelines, resources and tips for mental health and well-being, overview of UGA resources for graduate students). GradFIRST seminar instructors will also be encouraged to share teaching resources, expertise, and strategies to promote and support graduate education university-wide.

How can I propose a GradFIRST seminar? What should I know about the types of specialized topics that are appropriate to include?

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.

Why are GradFIRST seminars designed with A/F grading rather than S/U?

We expect that graded assignments will increase student engagement and investment in the seminar content. See the sample syllabus for suggested assignments that fit the scope of the 1-credit hour course while providing expectations for student engagement.

Graduate Program FAQs

What will GradFIRST cost our program/department?

Funding for the GradFIRST seminars will be provided centrally, and academic units are not expected to provide funding for this program. GradFIRST instructors will be compensated $3,500 via funds disbursed by the Graduate School. Additionally, $300 will be allocated per section to allow instructors to provide meals for students in their GradFIRST seminar sections.

We already have a seminar like this in our department. Do we have to create a new one?

Your program can determine, in consultation with your department/unit head and/or dean, if it is appropriate to convert an existing departmental seminar to the GradFIRST seminar format. However, we prefer to discourage redundancy between GradFIRST seminars and program course offerings.

Note that the GRSC 7770 (Graduate Teaching Seminar) and GRSC 8550 (Responsible Conduct of Research) courses cover their respective content in greater depth than what is intended for GradFIRST GRSC 7001. Therefore, GRSC7770 and GRSC 8550 will still be required of students with instructional roles and other research-related requirements (students on training grants), respectively.

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?

The GradFIRST seminar will be a university-wide requirement, though programs may wish to update their graduate handbooks and course planning to include this seminar. GRSC 7001 will be listed on programs of study as “University Requirement,” similar to “Research Skills Requirement” or “Departmental Requirement.” GRSC 7001 should not be listed as a course as part of the student’s curriculum in their graduate degree’s program of study.

This seminar will place an exceptional burden on our students due to coursework required for accreditation or another unique aspect of our graduate program. Can they be exempt from this requirement? What criteria will be used to determine if students in the program will be exempted from the GradFIRST requirement?

The Graduate School will consult with departments and programs to consider program-level exemptions from the GradFIRST seminar requirement. Please use the form at the link and submit to

The overarching goal of GradFIRST seminars is to benefit students and not to impose burdens. Therefore, if the GradFIRST seminar requirement negatively impacts the achievement of accreditation standards and program quality, or increases costs to students, exemptions will be considered.

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 advising in the beginning of their first semester. Graduate Coordinators and/or Graduate Coordinator Assistants will have access to information on available seminars (GradFIRST website/portal) 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?

The Graduate School will develop an internal audit system and will notify departments/programs when students have not completed this requirement.

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

Students on the DoubleDawg pathway are not required to enroll in a GradFIRST seminar as an undergraduate student. However, upon formal matriculation in a graduate program (i.e., after being admitted to graduate school) they will be required to take a GradFIRST seminar.

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?

Online sections of GRSC 7001 will be reserved for students enrolled in online programs.

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

Ideally, seminars will be offered by faculty at the extended campuses. If none are available, students will be permitted into an online section of GradFIRST.

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.


Unlocking potential. Building futures.

Apply Today