Skip to main content

First-year Seminar Program

Winter 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

Decolonizing STEM
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 30595
Varma, Saiba (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

In this seminar, we will examine ongoing efforts to "decolonize" STEM, that is, to examine the structures of power embedded in STEM and imagine ways that STEM can be more accountable, responsive and attuned to the communities it purports to serve.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Teaching Science: The Challenge
CHEM 87 A00
Section ID: 32000
Brydges, Stacey (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 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: 30597
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: 35695
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

Neural Networks as Models of the Mind
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 30598
Cottrell, Garrison (
Location: RCLAS
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.

Education Studies

Playful Robotics
EDS 87 A00
Section ID: 30599
Eguchi, Emi (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet 1/27, 1/29. 2/3, 2/10 - all Wednesdays except 2/3 is a Friday. 2/3 class will meet from 9am-11:50 a.m.

Do you know robotics can be a learning tool? Do you want to experience and learn how robotics can create a fun and playful learning environment to teach children basic concepts of mathematics, physics and computational thinking/coding? This seminar introduces you to educational robotics as a learning tool, let you explore the learning tool, and figure out how you can maximize children’s learning by creating a fun lesson plan/learning activity. Students will be distributed robots for the course and must be able to come to campus to pick up AND return the robots before 1/27.

Environmental Studies

Nature and Well-Being
ENVR 87 A00
Section ID: 30600
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: 30602
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: 30603
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: 30604
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.
What Film Can Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 A00
Section ID: 30601
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: RCLAS
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

Abolition: Building Communities and Alternative Futures
HITO 87 D00
Section ID: 30623
Man, Simeon (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 3:00 pm. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

The recent uprisings against policing in the United States has amplified calls to defund and dismantle the police. These are abolitionist demands. Abolition is not just about tearing down existing institutions but about creating new relationships and viable alternatives of safety for all communities. In this seminar, we will examine abolitionism as a political vision and a movement strategy. What are the historical roots of abolitionism, and how has it been practiced within social movements? Wha
Pandemics, Panics, and Plagues
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 30611
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 3-7

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
Piracy in Popular Culture
HITO 87 C00
Section ID: 30619
Hanna, Mark (

The course explores the depiction of pirates and piracy in the United States in both literature and film following the Age of Sail in the late nineteenth century. We will trace the transformation of piracy from a real terror to American society to the subject of children's stories and dramatic comedies. We finish with a study of modern piracy.
What Is Socialism? (And What Isn't)
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 30607
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 3-7

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 Linguistics

The Linguistics of Memes
LIGN 87 A00
Section ID: 30628
Styler, William (
Location: RCLAS
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

A great meme can perfectly capture your feelings, sum up a situation, leave you laughing, or just add a bit of spice to life. In this course, we’ll look at memes as an aspect of modern language and communication, discussing the concept of a ‘meme’, the many kinds of memes which have flourished in online discourse, the gradual changes of memes over time, and the social consequences of using the right (or wrong) meme at that perfect moment. We’ll explore all this using tools from the field of ling

Department of Literature

Love at First Sight
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 35116
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: RCLAS
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2-9

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 Beginners, 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 Physics

Introduction to LaTeX: typeset your own science/engineering papers
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 30633
Grinstein, Benjamin (
Location: RCLAS
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.
Street-Fighting Physics: Problem solving techniques
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID: 37320
Koslover, Elena (
Location: RCLAS
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 2-10

This course will focus on tips and tricks for analyzing quantitative problems in your physics classes and beyond. How do you deal with a problem that seems so complex that none of the simple relationships you learned in class would seem to apply? Can you make any progress even if you don't know the relevant equations involved? We'll explore how far you can get with approximations and how to leverage a physicist's tool-kit to analyze a variety of everyday scenarios. Specific topics covered will include order-of-magnitude estimates, non-dimensionalization and scaling arguments, limits and linearization. Examples will be provided from a broad range of fields, with a particular emphasis on physical modeling in the biological sciences.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Treasures of the Earth: Minerals, Crystals, and Gems
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 30637
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: RCLAS
Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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.

Department of Theatre & Dance

The Broadway Musical: An Introduction
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 30641
Adler, Steven (
Location: RCLAS
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29; Feb. 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.

Department of Visual Arts

Undead Media: All Things Zombie
VIS 87 A00
Section ID: 30644
Dominguez, Ricardo (
Location: RCLAS
Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 2-9

Have you noticed that zombies are everywhere? In the lab, the bank, your home, your computer and your cell phone. The undead threaten identity and civilization. Who are they? What do they want? How do they “think”? What do they mean? The class will consider film, literature, graphic novels, video games, and fan culture, drawing from fields such as computing, anthropology, philosophy, sexuality studies, and ethnic studies to dig up undead media’s secret histories and map the global flows of its shambling hordes.

Warren College

Cell Excitement: How to do cell physiology research
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 37520
Yuan, Jason (

This course will discuss the science and techniques used in studying cell functions using samples isolated from mammals and humans. We will discuss electrophysiological techniques to study excitation-contraction coupling in muscle cells and digital imaging fluorescence microscopy to study signal transduction in cardiovascular cells. In addition to understanding the basic science and techniques, this course will provide advice for students who are interested in pursuing a research career in biomedicine.