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Sebastian Lutz

Having organized colloquium talks at different universities and given a few myself, I agree with Marcus. A bit more precisely, it is very common to ask about the typical audience and suggest different topics. Regarding the time for having the topic fixed: Just ask when they need a title, when they need an abstract, and what else they'd like to have (some speakers send along the papers their talk is based on).


Yes, asking is fine. If you have several things you could talk about, mention them and ask whether they prefer any of them. You can also ask whether they can tell you a bit about the usual audience. From their answer you can infer how best to pitch your talk. The staff webpages should also give you an idea whether or not there'll be experts in your area. What seems clear, though, is that they want to learn about your research specifically and are therefore likely to expect more than simply a teaching-style overview of the area - which is cool!


I would try to make the talk accessible to undergrads, but I wouldn't consider it a classroom lecture. When I was an undergrad, anyway, the talks were always the style of a professional conference, which is what I think they wanted us to see. But I agree with Marcus that you should just ask - you will get the answer soon enough.

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