Freshman Seminar Program

Spring Quarter 2019 Enrollment Information

Freshman Seminars are open first to all freshman including first-year freshman with sophomore standing during the freshman enrollment period. Incoming freshmen 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 freshman 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

Discover Biological Anthropology
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 966968
Semendeferi, Ekaterini (
Location: SSB 269
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Our field studies Biology and Culture looking at humans and other primates in light of our diverse evolutionary history. Explore the new BSc in Biological Anthropology, meet our faculty, and find out about resources and mentoring opportunities on campus.

Department of Bioengineering

Introduction to Bioinstrumentation
BENG 87 B00
Section ID: 974973
Omens, Jeff (
Location: PFBH 291
Thursday, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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.
Stem Cell Therapies for Cartilage Damage: Hope or Hype?
BENG 87 A00
Section ID: 974003
Sah, Robert (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

This freshman seminar will focus on articular cartilage and cartilage repair therapies. Specifically we will discuss cartilage structure and its function in knees, osteoarthritis and current standards of care for cartilage repair, as well as future directions and strategies for cartilage repair including stem cell therapies in pre-clinical and clinical trials. Students will be asked to prepare a short presentation on a research paper in the field.

Division of Biological Sciences

Mighty Microbes: Their Lives and Times
BILD 87 B00
Section ID: 970950
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Thursdays, 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.
The Philosophy of Science and the Science of the Supernatural
BILD 87 A00
Section ID: 970949
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 philosophy, science, and religion, including Creation stories versus the Big Bang, Human Paranormal Phenomena, Epigenetic control of phenotypes, Out of Body experiences, Communication by mental telepathy, 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 Chemistry & Biochemistry

The Chemistry of National Security
CHEM 87 A00
Section ID: 974005
Leigh, Brian (
Location: NSB 3211
Mondays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

The seminar will cover the chemistry of national security. Topics include gun powder to explosives to explosives detection; drugs to drug detection; counterfeiting to counterfeit detection; chemical and biological warfare, proliferation, and terrorism. The class will touch on how chemistry plays a key role in the dangers of the world of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, as well as how chemistry is helping to solve some of the problems.

Department of Cognitive Science

How Minds and Groups Make Religion and Superstition
COGS 87 A00
Section ID: 971722
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.

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Errors and Failures: What went wrong?
CSE 87 B00
Section ID: 974961
Howden, William (
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.
Neural Networks as Models of the Mind
CSE 87 A00
Section ID:
Cottrell, Gary (
Location: EBU3B B230
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-6

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.

Critical Gender Studies

Are Prisons Obsolete?
CGS 87 A00
Section ID: 974004
Hankins, Joseph (
Location: BRC Conference Room
Tuesdays, 5:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 2-9

Are Prisons Obsolete? In her book by the same title, Angela Davis argues that they are: that prisons, as a means of fostering healthy societies, fail. This seminar will examine the rise of prisons in the United States, their relationship with slavery and ongoing racial control, how they rely on sexual and gender violence, and the ways in which people resist the logic of incarceration and instead build other systems of social support that are making prisons obsolete.

Environmental Studies

God, Satan, and the Desert - $95 field trip fee required
ENVR 87 A00
Section ID: 974008
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERC 115
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Camping trip will be a weeknd

This seminar offers an introduction to cultural and religious perspectives on the desert, which has been viewed as a cursed wasteland, but also as source of enlightenment. This course includes a weekend trip in the desert . Website:
Sacred Mountain (required field trip fee $95) - 15 student limit
ENVR 87 B00
Section ID: 974009
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERCA 115
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar explores mountains in religious and philosophical traditions, from divine encounters to poetic expressions and mountaintop musings of Thoreau and John Muir. This seminar includes a weekend experience in the mountains of Southern CA (field trip fee $95).

Film Studies

Banned films
FILM 87 B00
Section ID: 974012
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 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.
Cult Films of 1950s-2000s
FILM 87 C00
Section ID: 974013
Havis, Allan (
Location: GH 144
Wednesdays, 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: 974014
Havis, Allan (
Location: GH 144
Wednesdays, 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 Could Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 A00
Section ID: 974011
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 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

Biology and Society
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 974015
Golan, Tal (
Location: HSS 3027
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-10

This course explores selected contemporary issues in biology, ethics and society in their historical context. Among the subjects addressed: genetic engineering, genetically modified foods and organisms, patenting life, pharmaceutical, the control and use of human genetic information, and more.
The Seven Deadly Sins
HITO 87 C00
Section ID: 974017
Balberg, Mira (
Location: HSS 4025
Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Once a week for 10 weeks

The seminar explores the history of “the seven deadly sins" (gluttony, lust, anger, envy, greed, sloth, and pride). We will learn how the “Seven Deadly Sins” have emerged against the background of earlier notions of sin. We will also look closely into each one of those “deadly sins,” considering why and how it came to be viewed as a sin and how it resonates in the world in which we live.
Why Do Europeans Love and Hate America?
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 974016
Patterson, Patrick (
Location: HSS 6008
Tuesdays, 3:30 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.
Seminar will meet the first 5 weeks of class 4/2, 4/9, 4/16, 4/23, and 4/30

"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 A00
Section ID: 974559
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: LIT 455
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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.
Dystopia in Film and Literature
LTWL 87 A00
Section ID: 974019
Lampert-Weissig, Lisa (
Location: LIT 437
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 2-9

George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, recently shot to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. What does this novel, written in 1949, have to say to us today? We will explore political, environmental, and technological dystopias in works such as Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Butler’s The Parable of the Talents, Collins’ The Hunger Games, and the UK television series Black Mirror.

Department of Mathematics

Mathematics and Science in Fiction
MATH 87 B00
Section ID: 974022
Rabin, Jeffrey (
Location: APM B412
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2-9

How are mathematics and science used as plot elements, metaphors and thematic ideas in fiction? What makes a fictional character a believable mathematician or scientist? We'll read and discuss examples ranging from traditional science fiction to the plays of Tom Stoppard. No formal background in math/science is required.
Teaching Math: The Challenge
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 974021
Stevens, Laura (
Location: APM B402A
Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2-9

Why do so many students seem unable or unwilling to learn mathematics? Which of the difficulties students have in mathematics are due to ineffective instruction and which are inevitable? How can teaching make mathematics stimulating for all students? How can a teaching career be fulfilling?

Department of Music

Beauty in Madness: Critiquing the Operatic Mad Scene
MUS 87 A00
Section ID: 974024
Guy, Nancy (
Location: CPMC 145
Mondays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-5

This seminar explores madness as portrayed in European opera, Japanese noh and kabuki. Mad scenes often allow singers creative freedom in realizing their characters' insanity. What makes a performance chillingly brilliant? This seminar develops attention to interpretive detail.

Department of Physics

From Quarks to Cosmos
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID: 975103
Fuller, George (
Location: SERF 383
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 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
Introduction to LaTeX: typeset your own science/engineering papers
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 969619
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.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 974025
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: York 3030
Mondays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-5

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 C00
Section ID: 974027
Moore, Bradley (
Location: WAUGN 300
Mondays, 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 A00
Section ID: 974025
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: York 3030
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-5

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.

Sixth College

Make ‘Em Laugh: A History of Funny Ladies from Lucille Ball to Ali Wong
CAT 87 A00
Section ID: 965625
Bronstein, Phoebe (
Location: TBA
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

From I Love Lucy to recent to Ali Wong and Sarah Silverman, this course will examine the often unruly and always hilarious ladies of comedy. We will talk about humor as both culturally and historically located, inflected by ideas about race, class, gender, and sexuality. Potential screenings will include (but are not limited to) I Love Lucy; Baby Cobra; I Love You America; Spy; The Mindy Project; and The Marvelous Mrs. Mazel.

Department of Sociology

Seeing the Invisible: How Gender and Sexuality Shape Opportunity
SOCI 87 A00
Section ID: 974028
Blair-Loy, Mary (
Location: SSB 414
Wednesdays, 12:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-5

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.

Department of Theatre & Dance

Architecture and Design of UCSD campus
TDGE 87 B00
Section ID: 974030
Guirguis, Mark (
Location: Gh 102
Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar will observe and analyze notable architecture on UCSD campus. The class will include guest speakers and several field trips.
Dance Movement Exploration
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 974029
Rincon, Patricia (
Location: GH 102
Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

An introduction to dance movement and understanding your body; a contemporary approach to dancing and its many genres as an expressive medium and form of communication. No dance training necessary. Prerequisites: none

Thurgood Marshall College

Principles of Clarity
TMC 87 B00
Section ID: 974032
Dobkins, Karen (
Location: Women's Center
Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This is a course in positive psychology and mindfulness. It teaches how to be clear in our needs and choices, communicate those needs effectively and clearly to others, and accept full responsibility for the outcome. It combines a short lecture with workshop style exercises.
Women of Color Activism: Davis, Huerta, & Kochiyama
TMC 87 A00
Section ID: 974031
Amorao, Amanda Solomon (
Location: Sequoyah Hall 119
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-10

In this freshman seminar, we will explore the work of three women of color activists who have impacted US society through their writing about and organizing for justice. We will read portions of Angela Davis's autobiography chronicling her time as a political prisoner, Dolores Huerta's accounts of her role in the California farm workers movement, and Yuri Kochiyama's biography tracing her path from Japanese internment during WWII to her alliances with the black power movement.

Warren College

Drugs for Bugs: From High-throughput Technology to New Discovery
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 974033
Debnath, Anjan (

This seminar will introduce students to recent progress in drug development for protozoan parasitic diseases. We will discuss different parasitic diseases, use of high-throughput technology and various other attempts by the parasitology research community to create effective drugs for these diseases.

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