Freshman Seminar Program

UC San Diego began offering one-unit Freshman Seminars (87) during Winter Quarter 2003. These seminars provide first-year students with an opportunity to meet with faculty in a small class environment. Freshman Seminars carry 1-unit credit, graded P/NP, meet for 8-10 hours during a quarter, and are limited to 20 students. The seminars are taught by faculty in their fields of expertise and explore topics of intellectual importance while participating in critical discussion with a small group of peers and faculty. Enrollment priority is given to freshmen and most Freshman Seminars have an enrollment limit of 20 students, therefore early registration is encouraged. Students may complete up to four Freshman Seminars with the stipulation that none of the Seminars are repeated. If students are interested in taking more than one Freshman Seminar being offered by the same department, please use the campus Virtual Advising Center, VAC to contact the department for guidelines on how many Freshman Seminars may be taken within that department.

Visit the Quarterly Seminar Course Listings to see course descriptions

What do you get out of a Freshman Seminar?

  • Small, informal classes (20-student limit) that are made up of other freshmen and a few sophomores;
  • An opportunity to explore ideas with faculty members on many subjects of mutual interest;
  • An opportunity to earn 1 unit of credit on a P/NP basis. You may enroll in several different seminars during your academic career;
  • Freshman Seminars meet for 8 to 10 hours during the quarter (most seminars meet once a week).

What is expected of you in a Freshman Seminar?

  • Attendance is an important factor in your learning due to the reduced workload of a 1-unit course;
  • Sharing ideas is an important academic skill that can only be acquired through practice;
  • Freshman Seminars may require readings, projects, short papers, or quizzes. Students have told us that 1-2 hours of work per week can be expected outside of the seminar.

Important information for first-year freshmen with sophomore-standing. Pre-enrollment instructions are posted on the Advanced Standing webpage.

Read the Freshman Seminar Program press release [pdf]

Please use the campus Virtual Advising Center, VAC to contact the advisor of the department or program offering the seminar for all non-enrollment questions. Questions about the program can be directed to April Burcham (x25855) in the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs/Dean of Undergraduate Education.

Undergraduate Seminars