Molto bene!

Five geology MSc students defended their MSc thesis at the Geology Department at Perugia University yesterday. I was able to attend all five presentation, and not as I had originally thought, only Francesco’s presentation. This gave me an opportunity to learn how the final steps for MSc degrees are handled here in Perugia.
Each of the five students presented their MSc work in Italian during about 15-20 minutes. These project dealt with how projected future climatic conditions could affect a large water reservoir in Italy; the use of oxygen and carbon isotopes to reconstruct Holocene paleoclimate in southern Sweden; variations in organic remains and content in a more than 50,000 year old sediment core from a close-by lake; the usefulness of combining seismic investigations and geomorphology to reconstruct landscape, tectonics and sedimentation patterns; and the sediment geochemistry of carbonate precipitations. All presentations were very nicely prepared and were easy to understand, but I had wished that some of the students would have spoken a bit slower so that I could have understood a bit more.
After each presentation, the committee, which was composed of about 10-12 researchers/teachers/professors, and of the supervisors, and presided over by the dean of the faculty, had about five minutes to ask questions. Then everyone had to leave the room, except for the committee, who discussed the potential marks of the students. The final mark was a combination of the grades of the MSc courses and the grade assigned to the MSc work and the presentation of the work. The maximum points were 110, and if a student had been especially good with the presentation, and/or very independent and had made a very good thesis, then he/she moreover obtained a laude. Once the decision had been made, the students came back into the room, listened to the verdict, shook hands with the committee, signed their papers and where released to celebrate with friends and family. The group of students who presented yesterday were, according to the staff members, some of the best students they had had in their MSc program this year.
Francesco, who was the first Erasmus exchange student between the Department of Geology here in Perugia, and our department of Geological Sciences, did very well, made a very nice presentation of his work, and was rewarded with a full pot of points and a laude! Congratulations, well done Francesco!!
Perugia is a beautiful city and a great place for students to study for a term. I hope that our students take the opportunity that is offered by the Erasmus exchange and will come to Perugia to study. And, actually, the exchange – as I have learned – is also for staff and PhD students!!!

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