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First-year Seminar Program

Fall Quarter 2020 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

Beyond the Headlines: Analyzing Current Events
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 20581
Varma, Saiba (
Location: RCLAS R02
Tuesdays, 2:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2-6

Our world seems full of complex and inter-connected crises: climate change, forced migration, unprecedented economic disparity, unfettered militarism, the militarization of borders and global arms trafficking, the failures of electoral democracy, etc. In this seminar, we will use anthropology as a tool to try to understand these crises from a deeper perspective: what are the roots of these crises? What is our role as global citizens in responding to them? By reading and examining news stories as they unfold in real time, we will go beyond the headlines and get a deeper knowledge of both critical thinking skills and become more informed.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Teaching Science: The Challenge
CHEM 87 A00
Section ID: 24413
Bussey, Thomas (
Location: RCLAS R130
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:20 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: 20583
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: RCLAS R13
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.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.
The Mindful Life — discovering well-being and compassion
COGS 87 B00
Section ID: 23484
Chiba, Andrea (
Location: RCLAS R35
Fridays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Stress and anxiety color all aspects of life including how we feel about and relate to ourselves and others. Mindfulness is the practice of cultivating present moment awareness, without judgment, to our experiences. Through the cultivation of mindfulness we will have insight into the causes of our stress and anxiety. With the help of neuroscience, wisdom traditions including Buddhism, and meditation practice, we will learn to understand and relate to the difficulties of life with more openness,

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Errors and Failures: What went wrong?
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 20584
Howden, William (
Location: RCLAS R101
Wednesdays, 5:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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 B00
Section ID: 20585
Cottrell, Garrison (
Location: RCLAS R03
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

Nature and Well-Being
ENVR 87 A00
Section ID:
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: REMOTE
Wednesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the links between time spent in the natural environmental and personal well-being. The seminar enhances the traditional classroom format with experiential, outdoor activities.

Film Studies

Banned Films
FILM 87 B00
Section ID: 20588
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: RCLAS R33
Wednesdays, 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 C00
Section ID: 20589
Havis, Allan (
Location: RCLAS R03
Thusdays, 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 D00
Section ID: 20590
Havis, Allan (
Location: RCLAS R40
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 Can Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 A00
Section ID: 20587
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: RCLAS R19
Wednesdays, 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

Pandemics, Panics, and Plagues
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 20592
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RCLAS
Thursdays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 3-7 ONLY: Thursdays, October 22 and 29, November 5, 12 and 19. Discussions on Zoom; accommodations for students unable to attend discussion in real time.

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 long struggle to survive, control, and recover from the onslaught of deadly infectious diseases.
What Is Socialism? (And What Isn't)
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 20591
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RCLAS R58
Tuesdays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 3-7 ONLY: Tuesdays, October 20 and 27, November 3, 10 and 17. Discussions on Zoom; accommodations for students unable to attend discussion in real time.

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

Department of Literature

Digital Intimacies
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 22421
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: RCLAS R131
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2-9

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.

Department of Physics

From Quarks to Cosmos
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID:
Fuller, George (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
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
Physics on the Internet
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID:
Chivukula, Raja (
Location: RCLAS 103
Fridays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Topics will include finding appropriate and reliable sources on the internet, resources available through the library, academic integrity issues, etc. Students will learn how to (appropriately) use the internet to enhance their learning in physics courses at UCSD, and to ultimately become effective life-long learners.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 C00
Section ID: 20599
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: RCLAS R61
Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 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.
Drugs from the Sea, Fact or Fantasy?
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 20597
Gerwick, William (
Location: RCLAS R34
Fridays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 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, economics, and
The microbiome in human and environmental health.
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 20598
Gilbert, Jack (
Location: RCLAS R72
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

These lectures will provide a comprehensive introduction to microbiome research, tools and approaches for investigation, and a lexicon for understanding the biological role of microbial communities in the environment and in their hosts.

Warren College

Translational Medicine: Human Disease-targeted Research
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 20600
Yuan, Jason (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet October 2, 9, 16, 23, 20

This course will discuss the science and techniques used in translational research to study pathogenic mechanisms and therapeutic interventions of cardiopulmonary and vascular disease. We will discuss basic principal and concept of translational research using in vivo animal models, ex vivo organ tissues and in vitro experimental approaches. In addition to understanding conceptual basics of translational research, this course will provide guidance for students to become a lab researcher in the f