Helping a friend writing a description of the courses taken, we seem to not find information about which is the correct preposition to put with "seminar". After looking through the Internet, in particular, university webpages, I found examples of both, so I cannot arrive to a final answer. I tried to check also some grammar references, but I was unsuccessful.

Which one is correct? "seminar on" or "seminar in"? In particular, is it "seminar on topology" or "seminar in topology"? And more generally, which is the rule to use "in" or "on" related to areas and fields of knowledge?

  • I think the truth is there's no such rule. If you can't find previous examples accepted by the relevant institution, why not avoid the issue and use a topology seminar instead? Jan 19 '18 at 22:50
  • @RobbieGoodwin The problem is the original institution courses names are in German and a list of several seminars is provided. It's a good solution for saying "I took the topology seminar" but not for saying "I took the seminars on/in topology, discrete mathematics and discrete geometry", which is what need to be expressed in the description. Note that this description is by writing and not by giving a list. Jan 28 '18 at 0:47
  • why is that a problem, please? Why can you not use "I took the topology, discrete mathematics and discrete geometry seminars"? Why not take the original German to a German-English translation site? Jan 28 '18 at 14:46

‘Seminar on X’ and ‘seminar in X’ are both acceptable; which one will sound more natural depends on what X is. ‘Seminar on X’ can be regarded as a shorter version of ‘seminar on the topic of X’, while ‘seminar in X’ can be regarded as a shorter version of ‘seminar in the discipline of X’. Whether ‘on’ or ‘in’ will be more apt thus depends on whether one would be more inclined to say that X is a topic or that it is an academic discipline.


I would say that it depends on the material being reviewed.

If it's an informative seminar discussing elementary concepts of topography, it would seem to be a seminar on topography, like a college grad job fair.

If it's a seminar in topography, I'd assume it'd be an in-depth discussion that requires some background knowledge of the material, like a topoligists convention or mixer.

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