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First-year Seminar Program

Spring Quarter 2021 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

ANTH 87 C00
Section ID: 44372
Yeh, Rihan (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8

This course explores the border city of Tijuana, Baja California via movies and selected readings. Moving chronologically, we will touch on topics including the “vice industry” of the 1930s, what it’s like to work in Tijuana’s transnational assembly-plants, the development of illicit cross-border trafficking, the public violence of the last decade, projects for urban renewal, and community-based organizing. Throughout, we will attend to the long-term construction and the historical transformatio

Division of Biological Sciences

Genetics and Racism
BILD 87 A00
Section ID: 44035
Lo, Stanley (
Location: RCLAS
Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Racism is a serious problem in the United States and around the world. Genetics concepts are often misused in public discourse to justify racism. In this seminar, we will examine evidence from research on human variation that exposes the scientific flaws in biological justifications of racism.

Department of Cognitive Science

How Minds and Groups Make Religion and Superstition
COGS 87 A00
Section ID: 42254
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 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: 42255
Chiba, Andrea (
Location: RCLAS
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 B00
Section ID: 40295
Howden, William (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 5:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-10

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.
Tracking Viral Epidemics
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 40294
Moshiri, Alexander (
Location: RCLAS
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-8

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.

Eleanor Roosevelt College

Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation
ERC 87 A00
Section ID:
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course explores the practices of mindfulness and meditation and is designed to help develop a personal practice. Meditation and mindfulness offer many potential benefits, including improved focus and concentration, enhanced performance, increased sense of well-being, improved interpersonal relationships, and reduced stress. This seminar demonstrates guided meditation and experiential activity, balanced with discussion of current research on the value and benefits of such practices.

Environmental Studies

Nature and Well-Being
ENVR 87 A00
Section ID: 45125
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: RCLAS
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: 45128
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: RCLAS
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: 45129
Havis, Allan (
Location: RCLAS
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 D00
Section ID: 45130
Havis, Allan (
Location: RCLAS
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.

Department of History

Pandemics, Panics, and Plagues
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 42478
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 3-7 (5 meetings)

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 infectiou
What Is Socialism? (And What Isn't)
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 42477
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 3-7 (5 meetings)

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

Asian Horror
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 45137
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: RCLAS
Wenesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 2-9

The course focuses on the explosion of horror, thriller, and suspense movies across Asia in the new millennium. Our investigation of this wildly popular genre will be framed by the politics of gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and national identity. Case studies will include productions from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. Students willl learn foundational skills in formal film analysis.
The Young Adult (YA) in Literature and Film
LTCS 87 B00
Section ID: 45138
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 2-9

Through the study of YA novels and film adaptations, we consider how ideas about adolescence have been conceived and transformed in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The course investigates the category of the American teen as a modern identity category: a juvenile delinquent, an angsty non-conformist, a sexual subject, a racialized criminal, a gang banger, a gender poser, a bookworm, and a market demographic. We will look at genres such as the social problem novel, the coming

Department of Mathematics

Teaching Math: The Challenge
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 46556
Stevens, Laura (
Location: RCLAS
Thursdays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:20 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-5

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 Physics

Design Your Life
PHYS 87 C00
Section ID: 45142
Meyertholen, Andrew (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will work through the book, "Designing your life", by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Along the way, we will apply strategies from the study of design processes to encourage students to determine what they want from a better designed life and how to achieve it. An emphasis will be made on career design, however these principles apply to most facets of a well designed life.
Introduction to LaTeX: typeset your own science/engineering papers
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 40527
Grinstein, Benjamin (
Location: MYR-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.

Department of Psychology

The Science of Learning with Technology
PSYC 87 A00
Section ID: 42076
Pilegard, Celeste (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

How does technology change education? Is traditional instruction doomed? What's gained and what's lost when learning online? We'll explore these questions through the lens of cognitive and educational psychology: what does the science say about what actually helps students learn?

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 42802
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: RCLAS
Mondays, 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.
Rocks that Rock! An exploration of exciting, unique and otherwise fascinating Earth materials
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 42803
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: RCLAS
Mondays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Students will learn about rocks, the rock cycle, and the myriad of Earth materials that make up the planet and solar system. Exciting hand-specimens and multimedia presentations will enhance and augment the presentation.
The Need for Shade: Climate Change, Urban Heat and Inequality
SIO 87 C00
Section ID: 42804
Lutsko, Nicholas (
Location: RCLAS
Thursdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Temperatures within cities can vary by more than 10C during heatwaves, with the poorest communities often experiencing the warmest conditions. Climate change will only exacerbate this problem, leading to greater inequalities in urban heat stress and enhancing the need for shade. This seminar will investigate the connections between income and heat stress in cities and explore simple solutions cities could use to address this pressing issue.

Department of Theatre & Dance

Architecture and Design of UCSD campus
TDGE 87 B00
Section ID: 45145
Guirguis, Mark (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
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.
The Broadway Musical: An Introduction
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 45144
Adler, Steven (
Location: RCLASS
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-5

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.

Thurgood Marshall College

Women of Color Activism: Pinayism
TMC 87 A00
Section ID: 45147
Amorao, Amanda (
Location: RCLAS
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

In this first-year seminar, students will engage with the critical theory and social activism that emerges from the lived experiences of those who identify as Filipina American women. The course will emphasize connecting with local activists; the final assignment will be a collaborative community project centered on the disproportionate impact COVID 19 has made on the local Filipinx American Community. Email for more info.

Warren College

Translational Medicine: Human Disease-targeted Research
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 41452
Yuan, Jason (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30.

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