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First-year Seminar Program

Winter Quarter 2024 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

Social Justice in South Asia
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 316184
Varma, Saiba (
Location: SSB 102
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will explore contemporary struggles for social justice in South Asia, one of the world's most important geopolitical regions. We will examine unfolding crises, from the farmers' protests to struggles for gender justice to the protests around the new citizenship act, to the militarization of Kashmir, to understand what South Asian futures will look like. This course counts towards the newly created South Asian studies minor in Warren College.

Division of Biological Sciences

Mighty Microbes: Their Lives and Times
BILD 87 A00
Section ID: 350951
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This freshman seminar will focus on many aspect of microbiology including: how they communicate, how they swim, how they signal, how they respond to pain and pleasure, and many other topics. Students will be asked to organize a short presentation or a class discussion on a topic of interest to them.

Department of Classical Studies

Jesus in Word and Deed
CLAS 87 A00
Section ID: 304142
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERCA 201
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

The life of Jesus of Nazareth has had a profound influence on world history over the past two millennia. Explanations and conceptions of Jesus have been essential to community formation and definition. These images have inspired artists, authors, and advocates across the globe, from past to present. Yet, these explanations and conceptions have also greatly differed. This seminar explores diverse (and competing) ways that Jesus has been explained and portrayed (in history, theology, community expression, etc.) as well as how these conceptions have influenced action, from early Christian martyrs to modern civil rights leaders.

Department of Cognitive Science

How Minds & Cultures Make Religion & Superstition
COGS 87 A00
Section ID: 318355
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: CSB 180
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.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.

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Neural Networks as Models of the Mind
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 330002
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.
Tracking Viral Epidemics
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 330013
Moshiri, Alexander (
Location: EBU3B 4140
Tuesdays, 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.

Education Studies

Teaching AI Literacy with hands-on tools
EDS 87 A00
Section ID: 387297
Eguchi, Emi (
Location: DIB 253
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet January 11 (remote); January 16 (in person); January 18 (remote); January 23 (in person)

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 be

Film Studies

Banned Films
FILM 87 A00
Section ID: 306118
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.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 B00
Section ID: 306119
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.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

Ecstasy: A Brief History of the Search for Transcendence
HITO 87 D00
Section ID: 378861
Gerth, Karl (
Location: RWAC 0846
Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

How and why have people tried to change their experience of the world through temporary ecstatic states of consciousness? For reasons ranging from mental health to exploring the outer bounds of the human experience, people have long sought out ecstatic states to enrich their lives. This seminar explores the recent history of ecstatic states-- from the Greek term ekstasis, meaning “standing outside” the self-- including everything from psychedelics and sensory deprivation to chanting and meditation to raves and much more.
Gunpowder, China, and the Rise of the West
HITO 87 C00
Section ID: 341744
Schneewind, Sarah (
Location: RWAC 0846
Mondays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

We will read The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West (Princeton University Press, 2017), by historian Tonio Andrade, along with some related material from Ming times (1368-1644). Andrade offers a new, fact-based answer to the old question of why Europe colonized parts of Asia rather than vice-versa, informed by primary sources from both sides.
What Is Socialism? (And What Isn't)
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 341691
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RWAC 0846
Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-5: January 12, January 19, January 26, February 2 and February 9

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).
Why Do Europeans Love and Hate America?
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 341692
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: RWAC 0846
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-5: January 10, January 17, January 24, January 31 and February 7

"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

Asian Horror
LTCS 87 B00
Section ID: 328411
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: RWAC 0374
Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-4

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.
La representación de la gente latina en los medios estadounidenses
LTSP 87 A00
Section ID: 329204
Bessett, Ryan (
Location: RWAC 0373
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8

En este seminario analizaremos cómo se retrata a la gente latina en los medios de comunicación, el papel del lenguaje y la cultura en dichas representaciones, y la reproducción de las ideologías lingüísticas y culturales en los medios. In this seminar we will discuss the portrayals of Latinxs in the media, the role of language and culture in such portrayals, and the reproduction of language and cultural ideologies in the media.
Love at First Sight
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 328410
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: RWAC 0374
Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-4

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 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 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 Mathematics

Fibonacci Numbers and Beyond
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 384434
Meyer, David (
Location: APM B412
Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
Seminar will meet Meeting all 10 weeks: Jan 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27, Mar 5, 12

This seminar explores the sequence of Fibonacci numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, ... (each the sum of the two preceding) and its connections with topics in higher math. 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, analysis, logic, and topology. While there are no prerequisites beyond a good understanding of high school math, students who are concur

Department of Physics

Introduction to LaTeX: typeset your own science/engineering papers
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 385701
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.
Who Does Physics?
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID: 455098
Chivukula, Raja (  &
   Simmons, Elizabeth (
Location: Mayer 5301
Mondays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1, 3, 5, 6, and 9 (Jan 8, Jan 22, Feb 5, Feb 12 and Mar 4).

Ask anyone to think of a physicist, and they are likely to picture Albert Einstein. But do you need to be an internationally recognized genius from a particular demographic group to succeed in physics? In this seminar we will explore the question, who does physics?, by investigating the underrepresentation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in physics; evaluating some of its root causes; and examining what we can each do to address this problem.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Treasures of the Earth: Minerals, Crystals, and Gems
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 385747
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: VH 147
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-5

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.
Underwater photography as a tool for science communication
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 325184
Aburto Oropeza, Marco (
Location: MCTF 210
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This course will introduce you to a wide variety of topics related with how photography is used as a tool for marine sciences research, but also as a tool for science communication projects. There will be a review of marine conservation topics, the history of equipment, but also discussions related with successful projects that are using this technology around the world.

Department of Theatre & Dance

Architecture and Design of UCSD campus
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 411128
Guirguis, Mark (
Location: GH 102
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
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.