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First-year Seminar Program

UC San Diego began offering one-unit First-year Seminars (87) during Winter Quarter 2003. These seminars provide first-year students with an opportunity to meet with faculty in a small class environment. First-year 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 first-year students and most First-year Seminars have an enrollment limit of 20 students, therefore early registration is encouraged. Students may complete up to four First-year Seminars with the stipulation that none of the Seminars are repeated. If students are interested in taking more than one First-year Seminar being offered by the same department, please use the campus Virtual Advising Center, VAC to contact the department for guidelines on how many First-year Seminars may be taken within that department.

Visit the Quarterly Seminar Course Listings to see course descriptions

What do you get out of a First-year Seminar?

  • Small, informal classes (20-student limit) that are made up of other first-year students 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;
  • First-year Seminars meet for 8 to 10 hours during the quarter (most seminars meet once a week).

What is expected of you in a First-year 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;
  • First-year 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 students with sophomore-standing. Pre-enrollment instructions are posted on the Advanced Standing webpage.

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 Dean of Undergraduate Education.