Freshman Seminar Program

Fall Quarter 2019 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 Biological Anthropology
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 983591
Non, Amy (
Location: SSB 269
Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Our field studies Biology and Culture looking at humans and other primates in light of our diverse evolutionary history. Explore the new BSc in Biological Anthropology, meet our faculty, and find out about resources and mentoring opportunities on campus.

Department of Bioengineering

Engineering the Heart
BENG 87 A00
Section ID: 983592
Mc Culloch, Andrew (  &
   Omens, Jeff (
Location: PFBH 291
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Sept 26 - Nov 14

Explore the function of the remarkable human heart in health and disease as seen through the eyes of engineers. How do bioengineers at UCSD measure, analyze and model heart structure and function? What new insights into heart diseases and therapies for the ailing heart has bioengineering produced?

Division of Biological Sciences

Earth's Fragile Biosphere
BILD 87 B00
Section ID: 987770
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 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: 987769
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Thursdays, 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 Chemistry & Biochemistry

Teaching Science: The Challenge
CHEM 87 A00
Section ID: 984911
Bussey, Thomas (
Location: NSB 3211
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Why do so many students seem unable or unwilling to learn science? Is this due to ineffective instruction, or are the difficulties inevitable? How can teaching make science intrinsically stimulating for all students? How can a teaching career be fulfilling and rewarding?

Department of Cognitive Science

How Minds and Groups Make Religion and Superstition
COGS 87 A00
Section ID: 984912
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: CSB 180
Mondays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-10

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.
How to Be a Cognitive Scientist
COGS 87 B00
Section ID: 986696
Scott, Taylor (
Location: CSB 272
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2-9

We will explore some of the foundational historical developments in cognitive science, as well as survey the cutting edge research currently happening in the field at UCSD and beyond. Students will also learn valuable knowledge and skills to help them prepare to be effective cognitive scientists both today and in the future.

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Neural Networks as Models of the Mind
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 983596
Cottrell, Garrison (
Location: EBU3B B220
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.

Environmental Studies

God, Satan, and the Desert - $95 field trip fee required
ENVR 87 A00
Section ID: 983597
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERCA 115
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weekend camping trip will be November 2-3

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:
Sacred Mountain (required field trip fee $95) - 15 student limit
ENVR 87 B00
Section ID: 988203
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERCA 115
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weekend camping trip will be October 26-27.

This seminar explores mountains in religious and philosophical traditions, from divine encounters to poetic expressions and mountaintop musings of Thoreau and John Muir. This seminar includes a weekend experience in the mountains of Southern CA (field trip fee $95).

Film Studies

Aging and Film
FILM 87 E00
Section ID: 983602
Huege, Steven (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Seminar will meet Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov 5

This course will examine the way in which our society views aging and older adults through their portrayal in movies. Students will gain an appreciation of how societal attitudes towards aging are reflected in the films we make and watch. Such films include: I Never Sang for My Father, Driving Miss Daisy, On Golden Pond, Gran Torino, and About Schmidt.
Banned films
FILM 87 C00
Section ID: 983600
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.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 A00
Section ID: 983598
Havis, Allan (
Location: GH 144
Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.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 B00
Section ID: 983598
Havis, Allan (
Location: GH 144
Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 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.
What Film Could Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 D00
Section ID: 983601
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.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

What Is Socialism? (And What Isn't)
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 983604
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: TBA
Thursdays, 4:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet First 5 weeks of Fall 2019: Oct 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st.

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 term -- a label that many had long tried to run away from in
Why Do Europeans Love and Hate America?
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 983603
Patterson, Patrick (

"Americanization" and "McDonaldization" in Europe spark controversy and even violent protests. Many treat imports of American culture with disgust. Yet the US is also admired, even loved, and demand for American things remains strong. We will study key forms of and resistance to Americanization.

Department of Literature

Digital Intimacies
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 984913
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: LIT 355
Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8

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.
Dystopia in Film and Literature
LTWL 87 A00
Section ID: 983606
Lampert-Weissig, Lisa (
Location: LIT 455
Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 0-4 & 6-8

George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, recently shot to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. What does this novel, written in 1949, have to say to us today? We will explore political, environmental, and technological dystopias in works such as Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Butler’s The Parable of the Talents, Collins’ The Hunger Games, and the UK television series Black Mirror.
Performing Stand-up Comedy
LTEN 87 A00
Section ID: 983605
Forbes, Camille (
Location: LIT 437
Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8 & 10

Students will study comics, review and create material, and finally, perform a 3-minute set of original material before an audience (size of audience to be determined).

Department of Mathematics

Math in the Movies
MATH 87 B00
Section ID: 984914
Bunch, James (
Location: APM 6402
Wednesday, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet 10/2, 10/9, 10/16, 10/23

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.
Teaching Math: The Challenge
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 983607
Harel, Guershon (
Location: APM B412
Fridays, 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25

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 Music

Beauty in Madness: Critiquing the Operatic Mad Scene
MUS 87 A00
Section ID: 987689
Guy, Nancy (
Location: CPMC 145
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet only weeks 2,3,5,6,7

This seminar explores madness as portrayed in European opera, Japanese noh and kabuki. Mad scenes often allow singers creative freedom in realizing their characters' insanity. What makes a performance chillingly brilliant? This seminar develops attention to interpretive detail.

Department of Philosophy

#OurTech: Building The Web That We Want
PHIL 87 A00
Section ID: 986900
Tolley, Clinton (
Location: HSS 8025
Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Sept 26 for 8 weeks

This seminar will examine political, technical, and philosophical issues surrounding the use and development of digital technology in our everyday and academic lives. The course will involve both theory and practice: we will critically engage with articles on topics like algorithmic thinking, database and software licensing, data surveillance, and surveillance capitalism -- and then we will also explore concrete methods from digital humanities (eg text mining, data visualization, virtual reality

Department of Physics

From Quarks to Cosmos
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID: 988127
Fuller, George (
Location: SERF 383
Mondays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet 10 weeks

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
Thinking Like a Physicist
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 983608
Murphy, Thomas (
Location: SERF 383
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 Political Science

Current Foreign Policy Crises
POLI 87 A00
Section ID: 983610
Roeder, Philip (
Location: SSB 333
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Each week we will discuss a foreign policy crisis confronting American decision makers, such as the South China Sea confrontation or the Kurdistan conflict. Students will select each week's topic from a list of over a dozen topics in the Great Decisions series.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 983612
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: YORK 3030
Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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.

Sixth College

Experiencing Space: From Architecture to Neuroscience
CAT 87 A00
Section ID: 983595
Macagno, Eduardo (
Location: PCYNH 280
Thusdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Architects design living spaces relying on tradition and intuition. Neuroscientists study how the human brain encodes space. In this seminar, we will consider how a dialogue between architects and neuroscientists might enhance our experience of the spaces we inhabit.

Department of Sociology

Globalization and the exploitation of childhood
SOCI 87 C00
Section ID: 987771
Evans, Ivan (

This course examines the evolution of the idea of “childhood” and focuses on the mistreatment of childhood in an era that simultaneously presents children as objects of intense affection while tolerating the often intense abuse of children on a global scale. An examination of slavery, child soldiers, sexual slavery and prostitution, and the sexualization of children in pop culture raises important questions about societal values and the treatment of children in both developing and developed coun
Relationships in the Digital Age
SOCI 87 B00
Section ID: 983614
Lewis, Kevin (
Location: SSB 101
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-9, except week 7 (holiday)

This seminar will examine how digital communication technologies are influencing the nature of human connection. We will cover all forms of digital technologies- from social media to smart phones to online dating- and all forms of connection- from platonic to romantic to familial relationships.
Seeing the Invisible: How Gender and Sexuality Shape Opportunity
SOCI 87 A00
Section ID: 983613
Blair-Loy, Mary (

Today does everyone in the U.S. have a similar chance to create the life they want? This seminar explores social scientific research on how schools and workplaces continue to provide different opportunities to people based on their gender and sexual identity.

Department of Theatre & Dance

Architecture and Design of UCSD campus
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 984915
Guirguis, Mark (

This seminar will observe and analyze notable architecture on UCSD campus. The class will include guest speakers and several field trips.
The Broadway Musical: An Introduction
TDGE 87 B00
Section ID: 984916
Adler, Steven (
Location: GH 254
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2-6

This class will explore the essential components of a Broadway musical—the book, the songs, the staging, and the choreography—as well as provide a brief history of this quintessential American contribution to world theatre.

Warren College

VR visualization of macromolecules and their interactions with drugs in 3D
WARR 87 B00
Section ID: 987755
Radic, Zoran (
Location: PSB 1120
Mondays, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Seminar will meet November 4, 12 (Tuesday - because Monday is a holiday), 18, 25, December 2. Meet in room PSB 1186 on Tuesday, November 12.

Where to find and how to visualize structures of biologicaly important macromolecules, proteins and nucleic acids. Computer visualization of their interactions with small molecules in virtual reality (VR). Creating slide-show presentations with incorporated molecular structures. VR presentations of visualized structures and associated topics.

Quick Reference

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


Academic Area