The Center for Professional Education promotes the following courses:

Graduate courses (interdepartmental)

  • Research Skills for Graduate Students: SYGN501 (1 credit) – This course consists of class sessions and practical exercises. The content of the course is aimed at helping students acquire the skills needed for a career in research. The class sessions cover topics such as the choice of a research topic, making a work plan and executing that plan effectively, what to do when you are stuck, how to write a publication and choose a journal for publication, how to write proposals, the ethics of research, the academic career versus a career in industry, time-management, and a variety of other topics. The course is open to students with very different backgrounds; this ensures a rich and diverse intellectual environment. Questions regarding this courses may be directed to Dr. Roel Snieder.


  • Introduction to Research Ethics: SYGN502 (1 credit) – A five-week course that introduces students to the various components of responsible research practices. Topics covered move from issues related to the planning of research through the conducting of research to the dissemination of research results. The course culminates with students writing and defending their own ethics statements. Questions regarding this course may be directed to Dr. Qin Zhu.


  • Integrating into the CSM Community: SYGN503 – Designed for both incoming and experienced international graduate students who want to strengthen their professional skills for their degree programs and careers.  This has been offered every semester for 4 years.  We explore topics such as improving communication skills, preparing technical papers and oral presentations in a professional and transparent style, actively contributing to group discussions and team work, understanding and meeting expectations at CSM, having productive appointments with advisors, resolving conflict, giving and accepting feedback, and networking with other students to share strategies for success.  The class also offers a relaxed, friendly space for students to explore questions regarding the cultural and academic transitions they are making. I would eventually like for departments to consider allowing this course to fulfill elective requirements (in oral communication and professionalism, for example) for their students. Questions regarding this course may be directed to Diane Witters.


  • Oral Communication Skills: SYGN683 – This 1-credit course is designed for ME, MS, and PhD students and focuses on designing and delivering technical presentations. Course assignments will be based on technical and non-technical material relating to earth, energy, and the environment and will include the topics of professionalism, ethics and diversity. Oral communication skills are highly valued by employers and industries of all disciplines. This course furthers the Mines@150 goal of producing “differentiated and highly-desired STEM-educated leaders.” Questions regarding this courses may be directed to Dr. Linda Battalora.


  • Writing Skills: SYGN684 – This 2-credit course is designed for MS and PhD students and will focus on the research process and the technical writing process. Course assignments will be based on technical and non-technical material relating to earth, energy, and the environment and will include the topics of professionalism, ethics and diversity. Written communication skills are highly valued by employers and industries of all disciplines. This course furthers the Mines@150 goal of producing “differentiated and highly desired STEM-educated leaders”. Questions regarding this courses may be directed to Dr. Linda Battalora.


  • College Teaching: SYGN600 – The course is designed for graduate students planning careers in academia and focuses on principles of learning and teaching in a college setting; methods to foster and assess higher-order thinking; and effective design, delivery and assessment of college courses. Questions regarding this course may be directed to Dr. Sam Spiegel.


  • Leading & Managing High Performance Teams: EBGN577 (3 credits)  Effective leaders contribute significantly to their organization’s performance. When they take advantage of a technological innovation or respond to a crisis, leaders rely on critical skills to communicate their vision and coordinate tasks performed by others. This course is about developing your unique leadership skills and style whether you lead a small engineering team or, eventually, a large global corporation. We review key theories of leadership and examine the lessons learned from those who applied them. We synthesize and translate these lessons into specific behaviors that enhance your ability to lead. We discuss how generational shifts, economic and political factors impact the workplace in ways that call for effective, quality leadership. Ultimately, you have to understand how to lead and motivate individuals who don’t look or think like you. This may involve motivating followers and involving them in making decisions. Following a learning-by-doing approach, we complement class discussions and case studies with a hands-on simulation of a leadership team facing a series of crises. For questions contact Dr. Sid Saleh.


  • Advanced Science Communications: HASS523 – This course examines historical and contemporary case studies in which science communication (or miscommunication) played key roles in shaping policy outcomes and/or public perceptions. Examples of cases might include the recent controversies over hacked climate science emails, nuclear power plant siting controversies, or discussions of ethics in classic environmental cases, such as the Dioxin pollution case. Students study, analyze, and write about science communication and policy theories related to scientific uncertainty; the role of the scientist as communicator; and media ethics. Students are exposed to a number of strategies for managing their encounters with the media, as well as tools for assessing their communication responsibilities and capacities.  Questions regarding this courses may be directed to Dr. Roel Snieder.


  • Academic Publishing: HASS601 – Students will finish this course with increased knowledge of general and discipline-specific writing. Beyond publishing research articles, students will also have the opportunity to learn more about conference presentations, literature reviews, and research funding proposals. Brief list of topics covered: (1) How to write an article and prepare it for publication. (2) Writing effective titles, abstracts, introductions, body-paragraphs, and conclusions. (3) How to identify journals in your field and submit papers for publication. (4) How to write a successful grant proposal. (5) How to give effective conference presentations. (6) Revision techniques. (7) Grammar, mechanics, syntax, etc. For questions contact Dr. Paula Farca.

  • Professional Oral Communication: LICM501 – A five-week course which teaches the fundamentals of effectively preparing and presenting messages. “Hands-on” course emphasizing short (5- and 10-minute) weekly presentations made in small groups to simulate professional and corporate communications. Students are encouraged to make formal presentations which relate to their academic or professional fields. Extensive instruction in the use of visuals. Presentations are rehearsed in class two days prior to the formal presentations, all of which are video-taped and carefully evaluated.  Questions regarding this course may be directed to Dr. Roel Snieder.


Undergraduate courses (interdepartmental)

  • Engineering you Career Path: CSM250 – This 1.0 credit course is designed to provide students with advanced career planning and job searching tools that are instrumental in obtaining internships, co-ops, research, and full-time positions. The class also provides guidelines on transitioning into a new career, building career and life success after graduation, progressing to the next level, and making a positive impact in their chosen profession. The class features top guest speakers, many who are alums and leaders in their respective industries. These engineers, executives, and owners of successful companies look forward to imparting their valuable advice and tips directly to the students. Questions regarding this course may be directed to Wendy Winter-Searcy.


  • Personal Wellness: PAGN201: – This is a 1.0 credit course taught through the Counseling Center. The course objectives are as follows:
    • To provide an overview of the 5 Dimensions of Personal Wellness: Physical, Social, Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual
    • To promote a proactive approach to developing strategies for optimal wellness for individuals.
    • To offer students the opportunity for personal development and exploration in each wellness dimension.
    • To provide guidance around practical goal setting and application of wellness principles to life at Mines and beyond.


  • Leadership Class: CSM350 – This 3-credit elective course examines several aspects of leadership to help develop leadership abilities, self-awareness, and engage in numerous professional development opportunities. The class includes discussions and activities around Strengths Finder, ethics and decision making, various leadership theories, negotiations, and a unique mentorship opportunity. Students are connected with a non-faculty professional staff from across campus to deepen the in-class learning as well as address challenges and opportunities students are facing in their leadership roles on campus and in the professional realm.


  • Research, Values, and Communication: HASS360 – This 3-credit class helps students prepare to be effective in research in science or engineering, for communicating research to an intended audience, and for developing ethical standards that are grounded in personal values. The class covers elements of doing research, such as choosing a research topic, generating research questions, making a work plan, dealing with the ambiguity and hurdles of research, research ethics, as well as publishing scientific papers, scientific writing, giving oral communications, and writing research proposals. Students acquire hands-on experience by choosing a research project, performing a literature search, develop critical thinking, making a work plan, writing a proposal, and presenting that proposal. The proposal can be the upbeat to a senior design project. More information can be obtained from Dr. Cortney Holles, Dr. Roel Snieder or Dr. Qin Zhu.





“The course “Research Skills for Graduate Students” was an eye opener for me. It made me think of my career and my life differently. It gave me energy and ideas to restart and continue when I am stuck.” -Eman Yahyn Al-Juraib


“I was surprised by the depth the course “Introduction to Research Ethics” offered. I initially hesitated taking this course, as I feared the same cynical attitudes towards ethics that seem prevalent in so many academic circles. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the instructors really challenged students to critically assess personal motives for conducting their research. This resulted in a stimulating course with excellent class discussions.”  -Tom Meuzelaar


“Academic Publishing may be the most useful class I have ever taken. The seminar answered many of my questions and has provided me with a framework to develop as a writer. I have often observed that individuals selecting careers in academia are poorly prepared for some of the job requirements. Your class addresses a very important aspect of what is required to be successful. Thank you.”  -Dr. Ravel Ammerman, Division of Engineering


“The professional oral communication course for me was a wonderful reminder of many speaking concepts that I had learned earlier, but tended to gloss over when I came to graduate school. The detailed focus and repetition of speaking refocused my attention on how to be an effective presenter. I would recommend this for anyone who wants to learn more on speaking, or has simply become lazy in their speaking preparation and needs a wake up call. The value of the course was excellent for me in terms of time put in versus improvement in speaking.” -Doug Hakkarinen


“All graduate students should enrich their programs by taking courses in the Center for Professional Education. While most other courses in a student’s curriculum focus on technical subject matter, these particular courses help develop the whole person into a technical professional who is prepared for success in research, effectiveness in teaching and communicating, and a fruitful career marked by professional integrity.”   -Dr. T.K. Young, Department Head of the Department of Geophysics