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First-Year Seminars FAQs

FYS Student FAQ

General Information

Enrollment & Registration

General Information

  • Why are First-Year Seminars (FYS) a great choice for new students?
  • FYS courses provide students an opportunity to engage with faculty and your peers in a small classroom environment as you adjust to college life. These unique courses are taught by instructors who seek to foster a sense of belonging and shared curiosity. Seminars provide a great complement to the often large introductory courses you will take during your first year.
  • How do I select a seminar to register for?
  • Explore the FYS Seminar Schedule to find the course that interests you! Click on the title of the class you are interested in to see details about the schedule, expectations, assignments, and grading. Instructors give quite a bit of information in these course descriptions so take your time and explore to find the right fit for you and your schedule.
  • I'm a new transfer student. Am I considered a first year student?
  • Yes! FYS are specifically designed for any student in their first-year at UC Davis, whether you are a freshman or a transfer student. There are even a few seminars each quarter that are restricted to transfers only
  • I'm not a first-year student. Can I still take a seminar?
  • Yes. After second pass appointments, continuing second-, third-, and fourth-year students may enroll in an FYS at the discretion of the instructor.
  • I'm a graduate student. Can I take a seminar?
  • No. FYS are only open to undergraduate students.
  • What is the expected workload for an FYS course?
  • The workload for each FYS course varies, but you can expect a heavier workload in a two-unit classe compared to a one-unit class. Use the Assignments and Grading sections of the course description for the FYS course (accessible by clicking on the course title within the Seminar Schedule table) to evaluate what the workload may be.
    The Carnegie Rule is also a good tool in evaluating the workload of a course; the Carnegie Rule is a guideline that states that for every 1 unit of course credit received, a student can expect to spend 2 hours outside of class time meeting the expectations of the course.
  • Who teaches FYS?
  • All FYS are taught by individuals with UC Davis teaching appointments. In addition to UC Davis faculty, some courses have collaborators that are graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, researchers, or other UC Davis staff.
  • What is the class size of a FYS?
  • Most FYS have between 10 and 15 students. All seminars have a maximum enrollment of 19 students, no exceptions. 
  • How are FYS graded?
  • Grading is either traditional letter grading or pass/no pass, depending on the instructor. Read the course descriptions accessed on the FYS Seminar Schedule page to find out how grades are assigned in each class. 
  • Do FYS count toward GE or major requirements?
  • No. However, FYS are a great way to explore your personal interests and interact with your peers and instructors on a closer level.
  • What is a FYS-CURE course?
  • CURE stands for Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience. The FYS-CURE courses provide an introductory research experience and challenge students to develop research skills while contributing to the research of UC Davis scientists & scholars. Are you CURE-ious about doing undergraduate research at UC Davis?
    Check out a FYS-CURE
  • What is a FYS-First-Gen course?
  • FYS-First-Gen are seminars designed specifically for first-generation students. These courses pair first-generation students with first-generation faculty instructors to foster a sense of belonging and engage intellectual curiosity. If you’re a first-generation college student, consider taking one of these courses.
  • Are there FYS during the summer?
  • It varies from year to year.  Check the "Current Course Schedule" page for summer course listings. 

Enrollment and Registration

  • How do I register for an FYS?
  • From the home page, navigate to the FYS Seminar Schedule by clicking on the Courses tab. Within the table of open seminars, click on the title of the seminar you are interested in. Copy the 5-digit CRN found at the top of the page. Open Schedule Builder and paste the CRN into the search box to find the course. You’re all set to enroll in the FYS!
  • How many credits are FYS courses worth?
  • FYS range from one- to two-units, and meet one- or two- hours per week. 
  • How many FYS can I take during the quarter?
  • Technically, there's no limit, but credit is only given for one seminar per quarter. Your major advisor is always the best person to talk to when making important decisions about your schedule. If you have found more than one seminar that really piques your interest, we encourage you to reach out to your advisor and get their opinion before enrolling. 
  • I really want to take a seminar but it is listed as full. Can I get added to the waitlist?
  • Classes are limited to 19 students, but you are welcome to add yourself to the waitlist for the course during Pass 2. 
  • I am waitlisted for a class. What are my chances of being enrolled?
  • Being waitlisted in these popular courses does not constitute being enrolled. If you are number 1-3 on the list, you have a good opportunity of being added. If not, consider enrolling in one of the other FYS that is available!
  • 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 waitlists are gone.
  • I need to drop an FYS and the drop deadline has passed. What should I do?
  • After the drop deadline, you will need to contact your College Dean’s office to get a PTD (permission to drop) numbers. The FYS program does not administer PTD numbers and cannot assist you after the drop deadline has passed.