Skip to main content

First-year Seminar Program

Fall 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

Esperanto & the Anthropology of Language
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 57335
Jordan, David (dkjordan@ucsd.edu)
Location: SSB 269
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

As the only artificial language in widespread spoken use, Esperanto can provide a window into linguistic, social, and cultural aspects of language in general. This class provides an overview both of Esperanto and of the anthropology of language.
Social Justice in South Asia
ANTH 87 C00
Section ID: 57337
Varma, Saiba (s2varma@ucsd.edu)
Location: SSB 102
Tuesdays, 5:00 p.m. to 5:50 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.
The Aztecs
ANTH 87 B00
Section ID: 57336
Jordan, David (dkjordan@ucsd.edu)
Location: SSB 269
Wednesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Origins and evolution of pre-Columbian Aztec society and culture. Sources are a mix of archaeological findings and early colonial writings.



Division of Biological Sciences

Earth's Fragile Biosphere
BILD 87 B00
Section ID: 57339
Saier, Milton (msaier@ucsd.edu)
Location: APM 3880
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar will address the consequences of human activity on the Earth's biosphere. Topics include species extinction, global warming, habitat destruction, individual responsibility to future generations, and human values/morals.
The Philosophy of Science and the Science of the Supernatural
BILD 87 A00
Section ID: 57338
Saier, Milton (msaier@ucsd.edu)
Location: APM 3880
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar will consider the philosophy of science and the science of faith. Topics to be included are: 1. The Creation Story 2. The Ptolemaic Universe 3. How to explain the supernatural 4. Copernicus and Galileo 5. Kepler's analyses 6. Sir Isaac Newton 7. Darwin and Evolution 8. Koch's Postulates 9. Mental illness 10. The Scientific Method.



Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Teaching Science: The Challenge
CHEM 87 A00
Section ID: 59256
Bussey, Thomas (tbussey@ucsd.edu)
Location: TATA 3301
Thursdays, 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 A00
Section ID: 57341
Deak, Gedeon (gdeak@ucsd.edu)
Location: CSB 180
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.



Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Errors and Failures: What went wrong?
CSE 87 B00
Section ID: 57343
Howden, William (bhowden@ucsd.edu)
Location: EBU3B 2154
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.
Tracking Viral Epidemics
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 57342
Moshiri, Alexander (a1moshiri@ucsd.edu)
Location: EBU3B 2154
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.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: 57919
Eguchi, Emi (a2eguchi@ucsd.edu)
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



Environmental Studies

Nature and Well-Being
ENVR 87 A00
Section ID: 57344
Herbst, Matthew (mtherbst@ucsd.edu)
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
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 assignments.



Film Studies

America on Film in the 1960s
FILM 87 C00
Section ID: 61076
Adler, Steven (sadler@ucsd.edu)
Location: RCLASS
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 2-6

We will explore some of the essential films that captured the social, cultural, and political forces that shaped America in the turbulent 1960s. We will examine the major issues of the decade—civil rights, the counterculture, the generation gap, personal freedoms, the Cold War, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and rock music—as well as significant changes in the nature of filmmaking. Movies will be selected from a list that includes such classics as Dr. Strangelove, The Graduate, Woodstock, Midnight Cowboy, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, Medium Cool, Easy Rider, The Manchurian Candidate, The Boys in the Band, Fail Safe, The Strawberry Statement, and others.
Banned Films
FILM 87 A00
Section ID: 57910
Rahimi, Babak (brahimi@ucsd.edu)
Location: MCC 221
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.
What Film Can Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 B00
Section ID: 57912
Rahimi, Babak (brahimi@ucsd.edu)
Location: MCC 221
Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 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

History of the Present: The Corona-Pandemic
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 57345
Biess, Frank (fbiess@ucsd.edu)
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

The seminar analyses the origins, nature, and consequences of the Corona-pandemic. What are the historical origins of the pandemic? Can the pandemic be understood in analogy to historical precedents? Or did it represent an entirely new and unprecedented event? What might be its long-term consequences? The seminar also offers an introduction to historical analysis and research.
Ming China in Short Stories
HITO 87 F00
Section ID: 57350
Schneewind, Sarah (sschneewind@ucsd.edu)
Location: TBA
Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

We will read dramatic and amusing short stories from the Ming period (1368-1644) along with short scholarly articles related to them, and discuss what they reveal about Chinese society, government, religion, economy, and ideology. We will meet emperors, officials, and beggars; wives, prostitutes, and go-betweens; monks, nuns, and Daoist mystics; and gods and ghosts.
Pandemics, Panics, and Plagues: Human Responses to Inhuman Catastrophes
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 57346
Patterson, Patrick (p1patterson@ucsd.edu)
Location: TBA
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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 D00
Section ID: 57348
Hanna, Mark (m1hanna@ucsd.edu)
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.
The California Gold Rush
HITO 87 E00
Section ID: 57349
Murillo, Dana (dvmurillo@ucsd.edu)
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar focuses on the California Gold Rush (c. 1848-1855), one of the most dramatic events in American history. This seminar will be taught in part at the UCSD Special Collections Library. Using rare archival documents, students will help to create a digital exhibit on the Gold Rush, including topics such as camp life, immigration, women, families, and violence.
What Is Socialism? (And What Isn't)
HITO 87 C00
Section ID: 57347
Patterson, Patrick (p1patterson@ucsd.edu)
Location: TBA
Fridays, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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

The Young Adult (YA) in Literature and Film
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 57923
Nguyen, Hoang (htn057@ucsd.edu)
Location: TBA
Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.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.



Department of Mathematics

Fibonacci Numbers and Beyond
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 57351
Meyer, David (dmeyer@ucsd.edu)
Location: APM 7321
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-10

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 f



Department of Physics

From Quarks to Cosmos
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID: 59974
Fuller, George (gfuller@ucsd.edu)
Location: SERF 383
Tuesdays, 3:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
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
The Large Hadron Collider@CERN: A Time Machine
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 57352
Sharma, Vivek (vsharma@ucsd.edu)
Location: MAYER 5301
Fridays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

In this course we will first learn how to build a particle accelerator like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and the ideas behind the two detector cameras called CMS and ATLAS. Rest of the course will be devoted to the idea behind the Higgs field and the cool methods used in its Nobel prize winning discovery. Prospects for the next set of ground breaking discoveries in physics at the LHC will then be discussed.



Department of Political Science

Current Foreign Policy Crises
POLI 87 B00
Section ID: 57354
Roeder, Philip (proeder@ucsd.edu)
Location: SSB 333
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet 9/29, 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, and 10/27

Each week we will discuss a foreign policy crisis confronting American decision makers, such as the South China Sea confrontation or the Kurdistan conflict. Students will select each week's topic from a list of over a dozen topics in the Great Decisions series.
Power in Fiction
POLI 87 A00
Section ID: 57353
Strom, Kaare (kstrom@ucsd.edu)
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

Power is a critical but complex part of politics. This seminar will first discuss how power is understood by political scientists. Students will then read and discuss works of fiction that explore the nature, pursuit, use, and abuse of power in different countries and settings.



Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 D00
Section ID: 57358
Cook, Geoffrey (gwcook@ucsd.edu)
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.
California Geology
SIO 87 E00
Section ID: 57359
Gee, Jeffrey (jsgee@ucsd.edu)
Location: ECKRT 236
Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

California Geology: If you've ever wondered about the rounded boulders you see on some local hillsides or how the towering granite cliffs in Yosemite formed or how the eastern part of San Diego county came to be below sea level this may be the seminar for you. In this seminar we'll explore how a long history of active tectonics has shaped the landscapes we see, from active volcanoes in northern California to formation of the Sierra Nevada and the birth of the San Andreas fault. We'll look at a v
Drugs from the Sea, Fact or Fantasy?
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 57356
Gerwick, William (wgerwick@ucsd.edu)
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
Fossils!
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 57355
Norris, Richard (rnorris@ucsd.edu)
Location: VAUGN 100
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar revolves around a field trip to see fossils in California—from saber tooth cats and dire wolves to the coral reefs of the ancient Vermilion Sea. What was their world like and what legacy have they left us?
The microbiome in human and environmental health.
SIO 87 C00
Section ID: 57357
Gilbert, Jack (jagilbert@ucsd.edu)
Location: VAUGN 100
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 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.
Underwater photography as a tool for science communication
SIO 87 F00
Section ID: 57360
Aburto Oropeza, Marco (maburto@ucsd.edu)
Location: SPIES 330
Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 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 the history of underwater equipment, but also discussions of successful projects that are using this technology around the world.