The basic unit of studies at SEAS is a course. There are two basic course types, seminars (practical courses) and lectures (theoretical courses). Exams, consultation, and thesis writing are also technically courses.
According to the type of activity and student participation in courses, there are three main categories. However, the 2020 pandemic forced universities to introduce several further subtypes of courses. These are also listed below.
Seminars are courses held in groups of usually 10–20 students. Ideally they involve lively discussions, regular attendance, often homework, in-class tests, longer home assignments. Seminars have a strict absence policy.
Although attendance at lectures is highly recommended for the successful completion of the course, it is usually not mandatory (the curriculum indicates where it is), the only obligation is taking the end-term examination.
An examination course only consists of an examination. Some examination courses are linked to a lecture course that is not offered in every term. These typically require you to have taken the given lecture course in an earlier term, failing to take its examination. Language examinations are always examination courses, though they are often preceded by language seminars.
Courses at SEAS in autumn 2020 fall into several categories. By default, seminar courses offered to first-year BA students are on-campus courses (OC), while most other courses (lectures and those offered to higher-year BA students and MA students) are remote courses. Lectures are typically asynchronous remote courses (ASY); seminars are typically synchronous remote courses (SYN).
By joining an on-campus course, you indicate that you will be able to attend the course in person. By joining a remote course, you confirm that you have access to the internet and an appropriate device and software to participate in the course.
Depending on the circumstances, all courses may have to turn into remote courses during the semester.
A course where students and their instructor are simultaneously present in an on-campus room. A course website and online materials usually assist the course. The room in which the course is held is in compliance with social distancing rules.
To comply with social distancing rules, the class is divided into two or three groups who meet in consecutive weeks in an on-campus room. Students not meeting in person on a particular week typically receive home assignments to cover the material.
A course that takes place via some video conferencing tool. Classes are held and, in the case of seminars, must be attended by students in the specified time slot each week.
A course (typically, a lecture course) where the study material has been pre-recorded or otherwise prepared and published on a digital platform by the instructor. Students may follow the course and work on the assignments after the recording or study material has been made available online.
A course typically conducted in the form of an asynchronous remote course. Students may attend it if they are unable to participate in a particular course as required, and need the express written permission of the dean in the case of an on-campus course and permission of the instructor in the case of a synchronous remote course. An exceptional remote course is allowed only in justified cases, and only if no other options are available. Before requesting permission, students should check whether an advertised replacement course is available.
The following chart shows which course types have a specified time slot and/or a room where they take place.
|regular on-campus course, ONC||✓||✓|
|alternating on-campus course, ALT||✓||✓|
|synchronous remote course, SYN||✓||✗|
|asynchronous remote course, ASY||✗||✗|
|exceptional remote course, EXC||✗||✗|
Some students participate in the class in person, whereas others attend it online, or some meetings are in person, whereas others are online. Due to the absence of the necessary technical conditions, this course is not common at this time.
If you have completed courses outside SEAS, you may transfer (some of) them to your programme at SEAS. An external course must cover a minimum of 75% of the course here. This percentage is decided by the relevant credit transfer officer at SEAS (typically the heads of departments).