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First-year Seminar Program

Fall Quarter 2022 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

Chinese Tales and Values
ANTH 87 B00
Section ID: 85843
Jordan, David (
Location: SSB 269
Wednesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will explore the orientations to life enshrined in some of the most famous stories and myths in Chinese popular culture, analyzed from an anthropological perspective.
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 85842
Jordan, David (
Location: SSB 269
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 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 historical and ethnographic descriptions Taiwan life.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Teaching Science: The Challenge
CHEM 87 A00
Section ID: 89772
Bussey, Thomas (
Location: TATA 3301
Wednesdays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 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 & Cultures Make Religion & Superstition
COGS 87 B00
Section ID: 87885
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: CSB 003
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 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.
How to be wrong: Case studies in human failure, borked tools, and bad data
COGS 87 A00
Section ID: 87886
Fleischer, Jason (
Location: CSB 180
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Science, technology, engineering, business, and even getting a university degree are human activities that need data. We will examine some common ways that our minds and our tools cause failure through examples of disasters and mishaps. Space shuttles explode, lost COVID-19 data costs lives, and AI programs are racist. Hopefully you will come out the other end with some new ideas and habits to help you avoid similar traps in your life and career. Bonus: we will also talk about how to (not) screw

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Neural Networks as Models of the Mind
CSE 87 C00
Section ID:
Cottrell, Garrison (
Location: EBU3B B270
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.
Tracking Viral Epidemics
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 94193
Moshiri, Alexander (
Location: EBU3B 4258
Monday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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.
What is research in CSE?
CSE 87 B00
Section ID:
Minnes Kemp, Mor Mia (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

Imagine a computer scientist or engineer. What do you see? Maybe you see someone hunched over a computer producing thousands of lines of code? Programming is important in CSE, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. In this seminar, we'll explore cutting edge research directions in CSE at UC San Diego and see the breadth of the applications and techniques in the field.

Education Studies

Teaching AI Literacy with hands-on tools
EDS 87 A00
Section ID:
Eguchi, Emi (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

Do you know what AI literacy is? Are you interested in learning what it is? Do you want to also figure out how to teach it to K-12 students? This seminar introduces AI literacy through hands-on experience and lets you experience how K-12 students can obtain AI literacy through fun activities while they explore how AI influences their lives and future. You will be, then, asked to figure out a fun way to teaching AI literacy by developing engaging and fun activities that allow K-12 students to exp

Eleanor Roosevelt College

Jesus in Word, Art, & Action
ERC 87 A00
Section ID: 93850
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERCA 201
Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Jesus of Nazareth has had a profound influence on world history. This seminar explores diverse ways that Jesus has been explained and portrayed and how such depiction has influenced authors, artists, and advocates, from early Christian martyrs to Human Rights champions. Yet, explanations and conceptions of Jesus have also differed, and these differences have been essential to community formation and definition, as the seminar examines.

Film Studies

Banned Films
FILM 87 B00
Section ID: 95636
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Mondays, 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.
What Film Can Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 A00
Section ID: 95635
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Mondays, 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: Human Responses to Inhuman Catastrophes
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 94352
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RWAC 0915
Wednesdays, 12:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 ONLY (begins October 5)

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 struggle to survive, control, and recover from the onslaught of deadly infections.
Piracy in Popular Culture
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 94353
Hanna, Mark (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

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 C00
Section ID: 94354
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RWAC 0915
Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8 ONLY (begins October 7) (no classes Weeks 4 and 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 label (after running away from it in the past).

Department of Literature

Love at First Sight
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 94011
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: RWAC 0371
Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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.
Vampires in Literature and Film
LTWL 87 B00
Section ID: 94012
Lampert-Weissig, Lisa (
Location: RWAC 0373
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

How did the legend of the vampire originate and how has it changed over time? What can vampires tell us about our fears and fantasies? 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. Students will watch the films outside of class to prepare for our discussions. Visit for more information.

Department of Mathematics

Fibonacci Numbers and Beyond
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 94827
Meyer, David (
Location: APM 6402
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

In this seminar we will explore the sequence of Fibonacci numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, ... (each the sum of the two preceding numbers) and its connections with topics in higher mathematics. The goal is to provide participants with glimpses of the concepts taught in several upper division math courses they may take in the future, including combinatorics, number theory, abstract algebra, complex analysis, numerical optimization, mathematical logic, and topology. While there are no prerequisites fo

Department of Psychology

Sleep and Circadian Rhythms
PSYC 87 A00
Section ID: 93915
Gorman, Michael (
Location: MNDLR 1539
Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
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.

Revelle College

Ecological Science Fiction: Richard Powers’s Bewilderment
REV 87 A00
Section ID: 92321
Lyon, Antony (
Location: GH 174
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

We will read the ecological science fiction novel, Bewilderment, by Richard Powers along with short related material. We will consider some of the questions the novel raises about our relationships with nature, technology, and our own mind.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 88350
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: YORK 3030
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 D00
Section ID: 94018
Gerwick, William (
Location: PSB 1182
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 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 C00
Section ID: 94017
Gilbert, Jack (
Location: HUBBS 4500
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.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.
Treasures of the Earth: Minerals, Crystals, and Gems
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 88351
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: VAUGN 147
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 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 Sociology

Seeing the Invisible: How Gender and Sexuality Shape Opportunity
SOCI 87 A00
Section ID: 93819
Blair-Loy, Mary (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

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 and how we can change those patterns.