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First-year Seminar Program

Fall Quarter 2024 Enrollment Information

First-year Seminars are open first to all first-year students including first-year freshman with sophomore standing during the first-year student enrollment period. Incoming first-year students with sophomore standing should use the campus Course Pre-Authorization system to be cleared to enroll in a seminar and then use WebReg to enroll in seminars during your enrollment time.

Early enrollment is encouraged due to the small class size.

Visit the Schedule of Classes to see enrollments (select all departments and 87.) Use WebReg to enroll in seminars during your enrollment period.

Sophomores may enroll directly in first-year seminars by using WebReg after the freshman enrollment period and if seats are available.

Please use the campus Course Pre-Authorization system if you have an enrollment question.

Please use the Virtual Advising Center, VAC to contact the advisor of the department or program offering the seminar for all non-enrollment questions.

Department of Anthropology

Anthropology of Religion
ANTH 87 C00
Section ID: 660552
Jordan, David (
Location: SSB 269
Tuesdays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will analyze case studies from around the world, focusing on the ways in which religious and “superstitious” beliefs and practices affect psychological and social cohesion, including trance, taboos, ghosts, demons, ancestor worship, curses, talismans, and magical scriptures.
Chinese Tales and Values
ANTH 87 B0
Section ID: 660469
Jordan, David (
Location: SSB 269
Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will explore the orientations to life enshrined in some of the most famous stories and myths in Chinese popular culture, analyzed from an anthropological perspective.
Social Justice in South Asia
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 528892
Varma, Saiba (
Location: SSB 102
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will explore contemporary struggles for social justice in South Asia, one of the world's most important geopolitical regions. We will examine unfolding crises, from the farmers' protests to struggles for gender justice to the protests around the new citizenship act, to the militarization of Kashmir, to understand what South Asian futures will look like. This course counts towards the newly created South Asian studies minor in Warren College.

Department of Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies Program

Introduction to Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies
AAPI 87 A00
Section ID: 627604
Solomon, Amanda (
Location: McGil 2126 DOC Conference Room
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Students will be introduced to the critical concepts and practices of Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies, centering the study of race, power, and inequality in contemporary AAPI life. Key concepts include: diaspora, community building, intersectionality, worldmaking, demilitarization, and decolonization. Students will also learn the long history of student activism that resulted in the creation of the AAPI Studies Program at UCSD in 2020 and meet program faculty.

Department of Bioengineering

Bioengineering in Muscles
BENG 87 A00
Section ID: 654483
Mc Culloch, Andrew (  &
   Omens, Jeff (
Location: PFBH 291
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

An exploration of the structure and function of skeletal and cardiac muscle in health and disease as seen through the eyes of engineers. Just how does the heart keep our blood circulating throughout a whole lifetime without missing a beat? How do skeletal muscles adapt and remodel in exercise and disease? How do bioengineers measure, analyze and model muscle structure and function? What new insights can computer models and experiments give us so that we can better treat muscle diseases and improve athletic performance? These and other topics related to muscle bioengineering will be discussed by members of the Cardiac Mechanics Research Group from the Bioengineering Department at UCSD.

Division of Biological Sciences

Earth's Fragile Biosphere
BILD 87 B00
Section ID: 540246
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar will address the consequences of human activity on the Earth's biosphere. Topics include species extinction, global warming, habitat destruction, individual responsibility to future generations, and human values/morals.
The Philosophy of Science and the Science of the Supernatural
BILD 87 A00
Section ID: 540239
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar will consider the philosophy of science and the science of faith. Topics to be included are: 1. The Creation Story 2. The Ptolemaic Universe 3. How to explain the supernatural 4. Copernicus and Galileo 5. Kepler's analyses 6. Sir Isaac Newton 7. Darwin and Evolution 8. Koch's Postulates 9. Mental illness 10. The Scientific Method.

Department of Chicanx and Latinx Studies

What is a Chicano? And why should we care anyway?
CLX 87 A00
Section ID: 524588
Castro, Robert (
Location: TBA
Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

These questions are the springboard for our seminar. The answers will be discovered through discussions of important social, political, economic, cultural, and historical aspects of the Chicano experience. Join the conversation and share your voice!

Department of Cognitive Science

How Minds & Cultures Make Religion & Superstition
COGS 87 A00
Section ID: 535783
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: CSB 272
Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Why do humans, individually and in groups, attribute natural events to supernatural agents? How does the human brain accept religious beliefs, even in the face of contradictory evidence? We will examine how cognitive, developmental, and cultural factors work together to cause humans to believe in the supernatural.

Department of Communication

Discover Media Industries
COMM 87 A00
Section ID: 660797
Schmidt, Thomas (
Location: MCC 133
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar introduces students to the critical study of various media industries (e.g. journalism, advertising, film, television, social media) and identifies pathways in the Department of Communication to explore key concepts for understanding the role of digital media in everyday life.

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Neural Networks as Models of the Mind
CSE 87 B00
Section ID: 661953
Cottrell, Garrison (
Location: EBU3B B240
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

We investigate how neural networks can be used to model how we see, read, remember, and learn. We use simple demonstration programs that implement these models. We teach a neural network to recognize faces, facial expressions, and gender. We also get some insight into the latest trends in neural networks, Deep Learning.
Tracking Viral Epidemics
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 542102
Moshiri, Niema (
Location: EBU3B 2154
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

How can epidemiologists track the spread of a virus? As sequencing technologies become increasingly affordable and accurate, the analysis of viral genome sequence data is becoming increasingly commonplace in epidemiology. We will learn how to use bioinformatics tools to study the evolution of viruses and to conduct real-world molecular epidemiological analyses.

Critical Gender Studies

Virtual Intimacies
CGS 87 A00
Section ID: 547771
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: STCTR E209
Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

How do digital technologies bring us closer to other people and drive us away from them? What happens when personal interactions once conducted face-to-face are carried out over email, text message, Skype, and Facebook? What consequences arise when our physical relationships become virtual? This course explores the role of digital media in intimate relationships through such case studies as online friendships, Tinder and Grindr, transnational surrogacy, and helicopter parenting.

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Design, Build, and Break
ECE 87 A00
Section ID: 687898
Morris, Karcher (
Location: DIB 253
Mondays, 12:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet (Week 1, 3, 5, 7- 9/30, 10/14, 10/28, 11/11)

In this course, you will be introduced to the UC San Diego's Makerspace. You will learn how to design, build and break (preferably learning from how you broke) a project from the ground up using Makerspace equipment and materials. All majors are encouraged to participate as a strong diversity of backgrounds and experiences is found desirable in the Makerspace environment.

Department of History

Gunpowder, China, and the Rise of the West
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 543191
Schneewind, Sarah (
Location: RWAC 0915
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

We will read The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West (Princeton University Press, 2017), by historian Tonio Andrade, and some related material from Ming times (1368-1644). Andrade offers a new, fact-based answer to the old question of why Europe colonized parts of Asia rather than vice-versa, informed by primary sources from both sides.
Pandemics, Panics, and Plagues: Human Responses to Inhuman Catastrophes
HITO 87 C00
Section ID: 543205
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RWAC 0846
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

An exploration of the role that pandemic and epidemic illness has played in human history, focusing on the different ways in which people have responded to their fears, their mortality, their uncertainty about the causes of contagion, and their disastrous losses. We will study contemporaneous accounts from the distant and recent past, coupled with historical analyses and fictional depictions, to understand the struggle to survive, control, and recover from the onslaught of deadly infections.
What Is Socialism? (And What Isn't)
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 543204
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RWAC 0846
Wednesdays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Socialism has recently become a very hot topic in American politics -- something that people are fighting for and fighting against. Conservatives, libertarians, and others on the political "right" continue their long tradition of rejecting as "socialism" a wide range of policies they do not like. But many progressives and others on the "left," inspired by Bernie Sanders and like-minded activists, have recently started to embrace this label (after running away from it in the past).

Department of Literature

El español y la gente latina en los Estados Unidos
LTSP 87 A00
Section ID: 654667
Bessett, Ryan (
Location: RWAC 0374
Mondays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet class meets weeks 1-8

En este seminario analizaremos la experiencia de la gente latina en los Estados Unidos, el papel del lenguaje y la cultura en dicha experiencia y la reproducción de las ideologías lingüísticas y culturales en la sociedad estadounidense. In this seminar we will discuss the experiences of Latinxs in the USA, the role of language and culture in their experiences, and the production of language and cultural ideologies in US society.
Love at First Sight
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 654666
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: RWAC 0374
Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Seminar will meet Class meets on 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, and 10/24 (Weeks 0, 1, 2, and 4)

The course looks at the relationship between love and time in contemporary romantic comedies. It examines rom-com relationships that follow traditional life courses and those that reject romantic chronology altogether. Films may include How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 50 First Dates, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I Give It A Year, and Weekend. Students will learn foundational skills in film analysis.

Department of Mathematics

Fibonacci Numbers and Beyond
MATH 87 B00
Section ID: 704964
Meyer, David (
Location: APM 6402
Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar explores the sequence of Fibonacci numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, ... and its connections with topics in higher math. The goal is to provide participants with glimpses of the concepts taught in several upper division math courses they may take in the future, including combinatorics, number theory, abstract algebra, analysis, logic, and topology. While there are no prerequisites beyond a good understanding of high school math, students who are concurrently enrolled in Math 18, 20 or 31
Teaching Math: The Challenge
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 704855
Harel, Guershon (
Location: APM 2402
Mondays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Why do so many students seem unable or unwilling to learn mathematics? Which of the difficulties students have in mathematics are due to ineffective instruction and which are inevitable? How can teaching make mathematics stimulating for all students? How can a teaching career be fulfilling?

Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Battery Energy Storage Bootcamp
MAE 87 A00
Section ID: 688001
Kleissl, Jan (
Location: EBU2 105
Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

The goal is to prepare UCSD students to enter the workforce in this growing field. The Battery Energy Storage Seminar will cover a comprehensive range of subjects crucial for understanding battery technology, its applications, and its pivotal role in the current energy space. Students will explore standard li-ion chemistries such as NCA, NMC, and LFP and emerging alternatives such as zinc-ion and sodium-ion. Mechanical aspects such as component design and form factors will be examined alongside the manufacturing processes of batteries. Performance metrics like capacity, energy density, and efficiency will be introduced along with methods for optimizing performance and lifespan. The course will address applications of batteries such as electric vehicles and energy storage systems as well as explore second-life solutions and recycling. At least one site visit will be planned to enable students to observe an operational battery energy storage system. Additional topics will be discussed to provide insight into the broader socio-economic context of battery technology deployment - namely: energy equity, incentive programs, and government funding.

Department of Music

The 21st Century Symphony
MUS 87 A00
Section ID:
Lytle, Cecil (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

This 1-unit seminar will study selected works to be performed by the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) during its 2024-25 season. The repertoire will include historical symphonic masterworks by Franz Josef Haydn, Bela Bartok, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure, Felix Mendelssohn, and Arnold Schoenberg. Their 2024-25 season will feature new works by living composers including: Andres Martin, Vivian Fung, Gabriella Smith, Anthony Davis, Anna Thorvoldsdottir, Julia Perry, and Lei Liang. Class discussions will review the impetus behind the creation of each work, the form of the composition, instruments new to the orchestra, and the work’s influence on the development of orchestral and choral music from the 18th century to the present.

Revelle College

The Work of Albert Camus
REV 87 A00
Section ID: 539389
Lyon, Antony (
Location: GH 253
Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Albert Camus (1913-1960) is a French thinker often associated with existentialism. His work continues to resonate with readers because it prioritizes humanity and confronts the challenges of living in the modern world. We will read his novels, and selections of his journalism, essays, and philosophy.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 C00
Section ID: 590697
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: York 3030
Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet meets weeks 1-5

Students will be introduced to the fascinating world of volcanoes using a combination of hands-on activities, analogue demonstrations, and a wide variety of multimedia including videos, photos, and computer simulations.
Big Ideas in Earth and Planetary Science
SIO 87 D00
Section ID: 590741
Wright, Vashan (
Location: IGPP 4301
Thursdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will introduce students to nine of the biggest ideas and findings in Earth and Planetary Science. Students would watch existing videos from the Big Ideas Series from the World Science Festival or other sources and will partake in class discussions on how these ideas came to be and ponder whether these ideas shape how they see the world. How the Universe Works & Cosmology: a) Space, Time, & General Relativity b) Quantum Mechanics & the Potential Existence of a Multiverse c) Quantum Field Theory (The best theory in all of science) Earth & Our Solar System: a) The Deep, Exploring Earth’s Frontier b) Environmental Pressures Bearing Down on Earth (Sustainability) c) The Next Steps in Space Exploration Life & Aliens: a) Evolution, from then till now b) The Fermi Paradox (Where are the Aliens) & Search for Aliens c) Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness
Drugs from the Sea, Fact or Fantasy?
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 590675
Gerwick, William (
Location: PSB 1182
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar and discussion course will present the most interesting cases wherein the chemical compounds of marine life, including such agents as venoms and other toxins, have contributed to useful pharmaceutical agents. Future prospects of the field will discussed, and the contribution of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the UCSD campus will be highlighted. The discussions will be multidisciplinary and include the subjects of marine biology, organic chemistry, medicine, and economics.
The Language of the Ocean: and why we should be listening
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 590676
Jensen, Paul (
Location: ECKRT 236
Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

The primary mechanisms by which marine organisms communicate with each other and interact with the environment are not mediated by sight or sound but instead chemistry. The processes mediated by chemical compounds include predator/prey interactions, mate recognition, defense, larval settlement, and even nutrient acquisition. This seminar will explore the topic of marine chemical ecology, how we are learning to decipher the language of the ocean, and how climate change is affecting the alphabet in which this language is written.
Weather in San Diego
SIO 87 F00
Section ID: 701782
Norris, Joel (
Location: ECKRT 236
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar will discuss types of weather in the San Diego region, their causes, and how to read weather maps and satellite images. Topics include Santa Ana winds, marine layer clouds, winter rain, summer thunderstorms, high wave events, and others.

Department of Theatre & Dance

Architecture and Design of UCSD campus
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 615309
Guirguis, Mark (
Location: GH 102
Fridays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar will introduce concepts and ideas of architecture and design. This class is intended as an introductory glimpse into the history and future vision of the built environment at UCSD.

Warren College

Writing for Well-Being: The Science of Happiness and the Art of Connection"
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 689077
Gagnon, Jeffrey (
Location: EBU3B 117
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Stepping into your first year of college marks a pivotal transition in life; a journey filled with exciting opportunities and undeniable challenges. It's a time when questions of resilience and connection come to the forefront: How do we navigate the complexities of this new chapter with authenticity and courage? How do we develop meaningful, lasting friendships that are crucial for not only surviving but thriving during these transformative years? In this first-year seminar, students will be introduced to the science of positive psychology and the art of cultivating relationships.