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First-year Seminar Program

Spring 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 Bioengineering

Introduction to Bioinstrumentation
BENG 87 A00
Section ID: 81551
Omens, Jeff (

This course will explore biomedical instrument design in a hands-on laboratory setting. The goals of the course are to design, test, and document a biopotential amplifier/recording system, specifically for recording and analyzing the human electrocardiogram (ECG) with a working prototype hardware/software system.

Division of Biological Sciences

BIomedical Self Measurement: Personalized Medicine and Wellness Gadgetry
BILD 87 C00
Section ID: 79709
Hampton, Randolph (
Location: APM 3880
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Thanks to a convergence of internet knowledge, smart phone power, microchip sophistication, modern genomics, personal devices, and a hyper-vigilant wellness/health industry, there is a brewing revolution in individual assessment of biomedical information previously only available from hospital tests and formal doctors visits. Today one can measure - at home and in private - their own values of continuous blood glucose, HbA1c, LDL and HDL, VO2max, heart rate and variability, illicit drugs, ketone
Earth's Fragile Biosphere
BILD 87 B00
Section ID: 77098
Saier, Milton (
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: 77097
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Thursdays, 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 Cognitive Science

How Minds & Cultures Make Religion & Superstition
COGS 87 A00
Section ID: 73397
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: DEPT 14
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: 79711
Chiba, Andrea (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
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 B00
Section ID: 77432
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: 77431
Moshiri, Alexander (
Location: EBU3B 4258
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.

Film Studies

Banned Films
FILM 87 B00
Section ID: 79715
Rahimi, Babak (
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 A00
Section ID: 79714
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
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

Gunpowder, China, and the Rise of the West
HITO 87 C00
Section ID: 79716
Schneewind, Sarah (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
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.
Pandemics, Panics, and Plagues: Human Responses to Inhuman Catastrophes
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 73802
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: DEPT 10
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.
What Is Socialism? (And What Isn't)
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 73803
Patterson, Patrick (
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

Love at First Sight
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 79718
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
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.

Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Mechanical Dissection
MAE 87 A00
Section ID: 79720
Delson, Nathan (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

Mechanical Dissection is the process of taking apart mechanical devices to learn how they were built. We will take apart devices ranging from toys to used hard drives. In each case we will look at details that identify part function and the manufacturing process. We will also hypothesize why various design decisions were made, and then see if we can validate these hypotheses.

Department of Physics

Introduction to LaTeX: typeset your own science/engineering papers
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 77746
Grinstein, Benjamin (
Location: MYR-A 4623
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-10

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: 79722
Chivukula, Raja (  &
   Burgasser, Adam (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

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 who does physics, investigate the underrepresentation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in physics, and examine what we can each do to address this problem.

Department of Psychology

Sleep and Circadian Rhythms
PSYC 87 A00
Section ID: 79723
Gorman, Michael (
Location: MCGIL 1350
Mondays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.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.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 D00
Section ID: 79807
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: Vaughan 100
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.
Oceans and Human Health
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 78007
Moore, Bradley (
Location: VAUGN 300
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Here in San Diego we are intimately linked to the ocean for our food, recreation, jobs… and our health. This freshman seminar will focus on the ocean connection to our health, including harmful algal blooms, seafood-toxin illnesses, methyl mercury and persistent organic pollutants, aerosols, ocean pathogens, oceanic oil spills, marine plastic pollution, nutraceuticals, and medicine from the sea. Students will have the opportunity to lead class discussions on a relevant topic of interest to them.
Rocks that Rock! An exploration of exciting, unique and otherwise fascinating Earth materials
SIO 87 C00
Section ID: 79806
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: Vaughan 147
Wednesday, 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.

Department of Sociology

The 14th Amendment
SOCI 87 A00
Section ID: 79724
Evans, Ivan (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar is based on the Netflix series, “Amend: The Fight for America” (narrated by the actor, Will Smith). The 14th Amendment amended the constitution in 1868 to protect the rights of former slaves. Later, the ruling become the springboard for protecting the civil rights of Blacks, women, the LGBTQ community, and the disabled after WW II. Conservatives attacked the Amendment all the way to the Supreme Court, which responded with pivotal democracy-expanding decisions such as Brown vs Board

Department of Theatre & Dance

Architecture and Design of UCSD campus
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 79725
Guirguis, Mark (
Location: GH 102
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.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.

Thurgood Marshall College

Women of Color Activism: Pinayism
TMC 87 A00
Section ID: 79726
Amorao, Amanda (
Location: SEQUO 119
Mondays, 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 pinayist activists, artists, and thinkers; the final assignment will be a collaborative community project inspired by the readings and conversations of the course and designed by students. Email for more info.

Warren College

Biology of Pain and Analgesia
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 81035
Yaksh, Tony (
Location: see description
Mondays, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Seminar will meet Four - 2 hour meetings

Pain is a serious health problem. Major scientific advances have occurred that provide important insights. This lecture series will present an intensive overview of the anatomy, physiology and pharmacology of the systems that mediate nociceptive processing. Seminars will occur at the University Medical Center in Hillcrest (Clinical Teaching Facility) and this is reached from campus taking the Trolley and connecting with the Old Town Hospital Shuttle.