First-Year Seminars

Classroom First-Year Seminars are an array of specially designed courses offered only to first-year students. Students choose from dozens of intriguing seminars creatively designed to hone writing, speaking, critical thinking, and other learning skills. Each seminar is built around a provocative personal interest of the instructor.

  • Enrollment is limited to 16
  • FYS classes encourage participation and discussion
  • To keep conversation going outside the classroom, members of each seminar are assigned to the same residence hall

Four First-Year Seminars are profiled here. Read the course descriptions below.

FYS-103-3: Bringing the Past into the Present

FYS-105: Bubonic Plague, Avian flu, and Zombies: Pandemics Past, Present, Future

FYS-143: Protest Music and Social Change in the American Experience

FYS-159-4: A Day in the Life: 24 Hours in Literature and Film


FYS-103-3 Bringing the Past into the Present

FYS-106-3 STEM From The Ground Up: The Thrills and Skills of Science

FYS-107 The Bush Administration: Approach to the War on Terror, Torture, and Prisoners of War.

FYS-111-4 Migration: Now and Then

FYS-114-4 Sports, Space, and Resistance

FYS-118-2 Why Jazz Matters: The Legacy of Pops, Duke, and Miles

FYS-121-3 Soldiers’ Tales – Reading and Writing War

FYS-124-3 Rhythms in the Natural World

FYS-127-3 (En)Countering Narratives: Storytelling, Identity and Social Change

FYS-128-3 Shakespeare’s Sisters: Women’s Literature in English

FYS-130-1 Women's Health and Sexuality

FYS-130-3 Designer Genes and the Ethics of Human Enhancement

FYS-131-2 Dante’s Divine Comedy: The Poet, The Pilgrim, The Prophet

FYS-132-4 Diets and Deities: Eating Our Way Through Religious Traditions

FYS-133 Einstein in Wonderland: Physics, Philosophy, and Other Nonsense

FYS-136-2 The Evolution Revolution: Darwin Across the Liberal Arts

FYS-138-2 Plato, Personhood, and Popcorn: Big Ideas on the Big Screen

FYS-139-3 Reading on the Brain

FYS-141-3 But Is It Crazy Enough?

FYS-143-2 Protest Music & Social Change in the American Experience

FYS-143-3 Flipping the Switch

FYS-144-2 Why Do People Dance?

FYS-149 Samurai and Geisha: Beyond the Stereotypes

FYS-150 Death and the Meaning of Life

FYS-153-2 Faster, Higher, Stronger

FYS-155-2 Cancer in Society: A War Against Immortality

FYS-156-1 Let Them Eat Cake: The Politics of Food in the Past and Present

FYS-156-2 Green Eggs And Government Cheese: Food For Environmental Sustainability

FYS-157-2 Food, Water, Shelter, Song: Staying Human on a Planet in Transition

FYS-159-4 A Day in the Life: 24 Hours in Literature and Film

FYS-161-2 Graphic Novels: Sex, War, and Literary Revolution

FYS-162-2 Math as Muse: Exploring the Relationship Between Math and Art

FYS-170-4 Young People Changing America: Recalling the Sixties

FYS-171-4 Encountering Animals

FYS-172 Why Suzy Won't Take Science and Dan Won't Play with Dolls: The Role of Gender in Science & Society

FYS-177 Complementary Medicine: A Cultural and Scientific Inquiry

FYS-178-2 Voice of the Rebel in America

FYS-179-2 How Much of Science Fiction is Science Fact

FYS-182-3 Words and Worlds

FYS-183-4 Blood on the Moon: Literature and the American Civil War

FYS-187-4 Games and Computation

FYS-189-4 You're not Yelping: From the Critique of Judgment to Consumer-Rating Culture

FYS-193-2 Cultural Perspectives on the Body

FYS-198-2 Tryin' to find a Way Back Home: Introduction to Literature of Homelessness in America