Attend a Seminar

Students launching rockets during First-Year Seminar

First-Year Seminars are unique courses designed to promote intellectual exchange, critical thinking, and community.   Seminars invite students to match their interests and passions with those of their instructors and fellow students.  

We offer 200 seminars every year (see schedule/register) that challenge students like you to examine ideas of substance and consequence. You’ll sharpen your critical reasoning skills and engage with fellow students as intellectual colleagues. Limited to 19 students per seminar, it is the best way to work closely with instructors as they explore with you ideas and topics close to their hearts.


You must have 45 units or less; however, after Pass Two appointments, instructors can elect to admit students who have up to Senior standing.

Past topics include:

  • Bees, Art, and Survival by Donna Billick and Diane Ullman
  • Creative Responses to Climate Change by Stephen Wheeler
  • Mapping the Harlem Renaissance: Prose, Poetry, and the Digital Humanities by Phillip Barron
  • Psychology of Drummers by Brad Henderson
  • The History of Motion Films by Gerhard Bauer
  • The Rise and Limits of Documentary Film by Jaimey Fisher
  • Township Music in South Africa by Brian Higgins
  • Zombies! by Sean McDonnell

Schedule & Registration

Credit is only given for one seminar per quarter. NOTE: The seminars do not count towards your General Education or major requirements.

Explore the Seminar Schedules below to find the seminar(s) you are interested in. Copy the 5-digit CRN then register for the seminar as you would any other course via SISWEB.


How many credits are classes worth and how will I be graded?

Seminars are worth one unit (meet 1 hour per week) or two units (meet 2 hours per week). Grading is either traditional letter or pass/no pass, depending on the course.

Can I register if I am not a freshman or have more than 45-units?

Yes. After second pass appointments, students with more than 45 units may be added at the discretion of the instructor if any of the 19 seats available in the seminar remain unfilled.

I'm a transfer student, technically a first-year, can I register during Pass One?

No. Only students with fewer than 45 units classify as first-year. However, you can apply for eligibility under Pass Two.

Do first-year seminars count against my General Education units?

No. These seminars do not meet GE requirements.

I really want to take a seminar but it is listed as full. Can I get added?

No. Classes are limited to 19 students. There are no exceptions to the rule. 

I am trying to add the course. I'm getting an error that it is a "Duplicate". Am I doing something wrong? Do I need to wait to use the PTA number?

If you are on the wait list you must drop the class before using the PTA number. If the drop deadline has already passed, you will need to wait a few days until the add deadline has passed and the wait lists are gone.

How many first-year seminars can I take in a quarter?

There is no maximum. However, credit will only be given for one.

Are there first-year seminars during the summer?

Yes, we are offering seminars this summer.