Freshman Seminar Program

Winter Quarter 2018 Enrollment Information

Freshman Seminars are open first to all freshman including first-year freshman with sophomore standing during the freshman enrollment period. Incoming freshmen 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 freshman 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

Discover Anthropology
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 927860
Semendeferi, Ekaterini (
Location: SSB 105
Mondays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

The seminar introduces students to the various disciplines within anthropology, library and laboratory resources, faculty research and mentoring opportunities in the department.
ANTH 87 B00
Section ID: 927861
Jordan, David (
Location: SSB 105
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will briefly examine the history of Taiwan and the evolution of popular culture in Taiwan in recent decades. Sources will largely be ethnographic descriptions and analyses of Taiwan life.
The Aztecs
ANTH 87 C00
Section ID: 929233
Jordan, David (
Location: SSB 105
Fridays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Origins and evolution of pre-Columbian Aztec society and culture. Sources are a mix of archaeological, early colonial writings and some ethnographic material.

Department of Bioengineering

Engineering Stem Cells
BENG 87 B00
Section ID: 930509
Engler, Adam (
Location: PFBH 391
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet 1/10, 1/17, 1/24, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21 2/28

We will discuss how engineering technologies can be used to answer questions in stem cell biology. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the different types of stem cells and model systems, current techniques, and applications in muscle.
Medical Technologies and the Public
BENG 87 A00
Section ID: 930508
Gough, David (
Location: PFBH 291
Wednesdays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet 1/17, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21 2/28. 3/7, 3/14

Medical technologies such vaccines, imaging devices, telemedicine, and genomics are playing an increasing role in medical care. The public stands to benefit from these technologies and ultimately finances them, yet there are many difficult issues with this arrangement. Several case studies will be discussed.

Division of Biological Sciences

Mighty Microbes: Their Lives and Times
BILD 87 A00
Section ID: 926046
Saier, Milton (
Location: AP&M Prime 3880
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jan 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27, Mar 6, 13

Microbes comprise 99% of all the life forms on Earth. They have been estimated to comprise ~50% of the Earth's biomass and have been here for at least 3.6 billion years. Their morphological, molecular and developmental diversity far exceeds that of all macrobiota. They have metabolic capabilities that are lacking in or substantially different from those in the entire eukaryotic domain of life.
The Philosophy of Science and the Science of the Supernatural
BILD 87 B00
Section ID: 926047
Saier, Milton (
Location: AP&M Prime 3880
Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jan 11, 18, 25, Feb 1, 8, 15, 22, 27, Mar 1, 8, 15

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 Computer Science & Engineering

Computing and the Universe
CSE 87 C00
Section ID: 927868
Papakonstantinou, Yannis (
Location: EBU3B 3217
Fridays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Imagine a powerful computer that behaves as a human. Is it conscious? Imagine a computer simulating a universe. Could it be our universe? If so, is God a programmer?! Starting from articles & classic sci-fi movies, we ponder how computing may shape the future and our approach to big questions.
Errors and Failures: What went wrong?
CSE 87 B00
Section ID: 927867
Howden, William (

What went wrong? Why did a 50 million dollar rocket blow up on its first launch? How did a surgical procedure result in accidental death? What causes errors and how can we avoid them? The course will take a case-oriented approach. Students will discuss both given examples and their own personal errors. Suggested solutions will be considered.
Neural Networks as Models of the Mind
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 927866
Cottrell, Gary (
Location: EBU3B B260
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-6

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.

Critical Gender Studies

Who Cares?
CGS 87 A00
Section ID: 927865
Hankins, Joseph (
Location: STCTR E209
Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jnauary 18 - March 8

When does the pain of another matter to us? Whose pain might matter, whose pain might we ignore? How do we learn to care? In this seminar we will discuss the labor of caring - for other humans, for life forms beyond the human, for the environment. Who has to do it, who doesn't, and what kind of politics might be built out of compassion? Meeting Location: LGBT RC, Conference Room

Education Studies

Learning Computer Science -- The Teaching Opportunity
EDS 87 B00
Section ID: 927869
Simon, Elizabeth (
Location: PCYNH 440
Thursdaus, 4:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jan. 11, 18; Feb 1, 8

Why does everyone need to know how computers work? How can we use knowledge of how brains work and how people learn to support students in learning how to program? How do we support students with diverse backgrounds in learning to think computationally? This seminar is for those interested in how to teach computing.
Learning How to Learn: The Science of Learning
EDS 87 A00
Section ID: 922464
Simon, Elizabeth (
Location: PCYNH 440
Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jan 9, 16, 30; Feb 6

Ever wondered what happens in your brain when you learn? In this course, you will apply evidence-based techniques to learn more effectively and efficiently. This course will be offered in a "flipped" model, with required videos to be watched before class and an "active learning" approach to help you personalize and practice skills in class.

Eleanor Roosevelt College

Disability and the Struggle for Inclusion
ERC 87 A00
Section ID: 927870
Herbst, Matthew (

What is disability? This seminar offers an overview of the topic, providing an historical perspective and an introduction to contemporary issues, including the legacy of exclusion and discrimination and the struggle for inclusion, equal rights, and opportunity.
God, Satan, and the Desert - $95 field trip fee required
ERC 87 B00
Section ID: 927871
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERC 115
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Camping trip will be on February 10th and 11th

This seminar offers an introduction to cultural and religious perspectives on the desert, which has been viewed as a cursed wasteland, but also as source of enlightenment. This course includes a weekend trip in the desert . Website:

Film Studies

Banned Films
FILM 87 A00
Section ID: 927873
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar examines the relationship between law, politics and cinema and why governments have banned certain films throughout history. We will examine films such as This is Not a Film, Sweetness of Spirit, Battleship Potemkin, LAge dOr, The Bohemian Girl, Clockwork Orange, Goldfinger and others.
Cult Films of 1950s-2000s
FILM 87 D00
Section ID: 927876
Havis, Allan (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Cursory look at enigmatic cult film classics from 1950 to today. Basic aesthetics and ideas of cult films will be celebrated. Films will probably include PSYCHO, THE WICKER MAN, ROAD WARRIOR, BLADE RUNNER, DELICATESSEN, RUN LOLA RUN, HAROLD & MAUDE.
Fantasy, Sci Fi, & Horror the Last 60 Years
FILM 87 C00
Section ID: 927875
Havis, Allan (
Location: MCC 221
Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

An entertaining and analytical survey from the 1950s to today of memorable and strange feature films probably including THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, PSYCHO, RUN LOLA RUN, ROAD WARRIOR, BLADE RUNNER, METROPOLIS, DARK CITY, and THE RING. Technical achievement, visual power, and personal nuance will be emphasized.
Third World Cinema
FILM 87 E00
Section ID: 927877
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Thursdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Examines films from the Global South, in particular Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. It surveys themes such as post-colonialism, resistance, women rights, nationalism and censorship, as well the cinematic genre.
What Film Could Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 B00
Section ID: 927974
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Thursdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar is about how film can reflect and change our lives. We will discuss movies such as: I Love you, Beth Cooper,American Beauty, Sliding doors, Seventh Seal, Happiness, La Dolce Vita, Taste of Cherry, Do the Right Thing, Christmas Story and others.

Department of History

A Teenage Spy in British India: Reading Kipling's Kim
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 927878
Schneewind, Sarah (

Rudyard Kipling's best-selling novel _Kim_ (1901) is a thrilling spy story and portrayal of India under British rule that turns out to have drawn on real events Kipling knew about because of his work as a journalist. We will read the novel itself, Edward Said's mendacious Introduction to the Penguin edition, and adventure journalist Peter Hopkirk's _Quest for Kim_.
Opening the Door to the Past: Practice in Historical Analysis
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 929193
Murillo, Dana Velasco (
Location: HSS 6008
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-8

Are you thinking of studying History? Heres a chance to meet History faculty in an informal classroom setting, and practice reading and thinking like a historian. Each week a different History professor will lead a discussion of a selected reading.

Department of Literature

Digital Intimacies
LTCS 87 C00
Section ID: 927881
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: LIT 237
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-10

This course explores how digital technologies shape intimate relationships, focusing on how social networking connects us to other people or isolates us from them. We will examine practices such as texting, friending, blocking, posting, and hashtagging in relation to sex and dating apps, mail-order brides, transnational adoption, online bullying, and hate groups.
Reading Television: American Popular Culture
LTCS 87 B00
Section ID: 927880
Wesling, Megan (
Location: LIT 437
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-10

This course is an introduction to TV studies. We will discuss how television shapes our ideas about gender, race, and American identity. Students will participate in selecting shows to analyze and discuss.
Television and American Identity
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 927879
Wesling, Megan (
Location: LIT 237
Mondays, 5:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-10

This course examines aspects of how TV shapes our perceptions of the world we live in. We will focus on questions of race, gender, and sexuality in popular media and politics. Students will participate in selecting shows to analyze and discuss.
Vampires in Literature and Film
LTWL 87 A00
Section ID: 927882
Lampert-Weissig, Lisa (
Location: LIT 237
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-9

We will examine the portrayal of vampires in a series of films ranging from Murnau's 1922 classic Nosferatu to the shows like True Blood and the Vampire Diaries. How has the representation of vampires changed over the years? Students will watch the films outside of class to prepare for our discussions. Visit for more information.

Department of Mathematics

Calculus and the Art of Bicycle Racing
MATH 87 B00
Section ID: 927884
Wulbert, Daniel (
Location: APM 6402
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet every week of quarter (apart from holidays)

Topics Include: Power on climb, Counter steering vectors, Rotating mass, Track stands, Cornering lines. Students can choose topics ranging from arithmetic and trig calculations through to Taylor Series and Lagrange Multipliers.
Math in the Movies
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 927883
Bunch, James (
Location: APM 6402
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jan 10, 17, 24 and 31

Does studying math lead to mental instability and madness, or to social awkwardness and nerdiness? We will view four films and discuss the portrayal of math and mathematicians in them.

Department of Music

Computational Creativity
MUS 87 B00
Section ID: 921804
Dubnov, Shlomo (

Computational creativity is a multidisciplinary research area that combines aspects of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, philosophy, and the arts to construct machines that are capable of novelty that is relevant to problem solving or creative tasks. In the seminar we will explore the concepts of creativity and its computational applications for text, music, games and the arts.
Music in the Human Experience
MUS 87 A00
Section ID: 921803
Borgo, David (
Location: CPMC 145
Tuesdays, 6:00 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 6-9

All human societies engage in music and for many individuals music is an extremely meaningful part of life. But how do humans become musical creatures and why? This course explores current understandings of why and how humans make sense of music, and the multi-faceted ways in which we respond to it cognitively, culturally, physically, and emotionally.

Department of Philosophy

A Lost Work of Greek Philosophy
PHIL 87 A00
Section ID: 929939
Johnson, Monte (
Location: HSS 8025
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet 8 weeks starting on Tuesday, Jan. 9 (End: Feb 27)

We will read my reconstruction of a lost work of Greek philosophy: Aristotle's Exhortation to Philosophy. Topics for discussion include: Why get an education? How do science and value relate? Is pleasure more valuable than justice or wisdom? What is the ultimate purpose of human existence?

Department of Physics

From Quarks to Cosmos
PHYS 87 C00
Section ID: 923751
Fuller, George (
Location: SERF 329
Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

A fascinating interplay of the very small and the very large has governed the evolution of the universe. The stuff we are made of was cooked in the early universe and in the hellish interiors of massive stars. The lion's share of the matter and energy in the universe is in unknown forms that must have bizarre properties
Introduction to LaTeX: typeset your own science/engineering papers
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 923749
Grinstein, Benjamin (
Location: MUR-A 4623
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

LaTeX is the standard mark-up language for professional typesetting of scientific and engineering documents (from papers to books). This is a hands on seminar, covering from LaTeX and editor installation to producing a document with tables, figures and equations. Students have a choice to work on their laptops or use computers in the computer lab.
Thinking Like a Physicist
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID: 923750
Murphy, Thomas (
Location: SERF 329
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar views the world around us through a quantitative lens, fearlessly estimating and approximating our way to a big-picture understanding of our physical world. Topics include the energy challenge, everyday life phenomena, personal physical performance, and more.

Department of Psychology

Sleep and Circadian Rhythms
PSYC 87 A00
Section ID: 927886
Gorman, Michael (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar will introduce students to the 24 hour clock in the brain that times our sleep/wake cycles, influences mood, learning and memory, and can even help predict outcomes of Monday Night Football games.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Landscape Sustainability
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 927887
Willenbring, Jane (
Location: York 3030
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-5

This seminar will consider what is meant by sustainability and include readings, movies and discussions of UNsustainable landscapes (i.e. if a landscape changes faster than humans' ability to adapt to it). Class will include opportunities to see landscapes surrounding UCSD for field experience.
Treasures of the Earth: Minerals, Crystals, and Gems
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 927888
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: York 3030
Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-5

Spectacular specimens and multimedia presentations will introduce students to nature's geologic treasures. Using the mineral kingdom as a platform, students will learn about the fascinating processes and products of the Earth and will gain awareness of their societal importance.

Sixth College

"It’s the End of the World as we Know It:” Technology, Film, and the Politics of Disaster
CAT 87 A00
Section ID: 927864
Bronstein, Phoebe (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

This Freshman Seminar will examine disaster and post-apocalyptic films from Creature From the Black Lagoon and King Kong to Wall-E and The Hunger Games. Each week, we will use a different film to tackle how disaster is narrated, with special attention to how anxieties about the intersections of technology--i.e. like the atomic bomb--and politics are articulated on-screen.

Department of Sociology

Globalization and the Exploitation of Children
SOCI 87 A00
Section ID: 923183
Evans, Ivan (
Location: ERCA 201
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Week 1-5

This course examines the plight of children in different parts of the world. An examination of slavery, child soldiers, sex trafficking and the rampant sexualization of childhood raises questions about the treatment of children in both developing and developed countries.

Department of Theatre & Dance

Dance Movement Exploration
TDGE 87 B00
Section ID: 920377
Rincon, Patricia (
Location: GH 320
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-4

An introduction to dance movement and understanding your body; a contemporary approach to dancing and its many genres as an expressive medium and form of communication. No dance training necessary. Prerequisites: none
Design and Architectural Space
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 920376
Guirguis, Mark (
Location: GH 102
Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 4-7

This seminar will observe and analyze notable architecture on UCSD campus. The class will include guest speakers and several short field trips.

Warren College

Drugs for Bugs: From High-throughput Technology to New Discovery
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 927889
Debnath, Anjan (
Location: SSPPS 1182
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet January 19th through March 16th

This seminar will introduce students to recent progress in drug development for protozoan parasitic diseases. We will discuss different parasitic diseases, use of high-throughput technology and various other attempts by the parasitology research community to create effective drugs for these diseases.

Quick Reference

Sort by Day & Time
Sort by Department/Program/College


Academic Area