Freshman Seminar Program

The Freshman Seminar program offers first-year students the opportunity to enroll in small classes with some of Yale’s most distinguished faculty members. Some seminars provide an introduction to a particular field of study; others take an interdisciplinary approach to a selected topic. Whatever the subject and method of instruction, each seminar is designed specifically with freshmen in mind and provides an opportunity to work closely with faculty members and peers.

Approximately fifty freshman seminars across a wide range of subjects are offered every year. Enrollment in each seminar is limited to fifteen or eighteen students, depending on the nature of the course. Most seminars meet twice each week and do not, unless otherwise noted, presume any prior experience in the field. All freshman seminars carry regular Yale course credit and count toward the fulfillment of appropriate distributional and major requirements.

A list of the seminars to be offered in 2016-2017 is available in Yale College Programs of Study.

Information for faculty who are interested in offering a freshman seminar can be found on the Freshman Seminar section of the Yale College Teaching Resources page.

Application to Freshman Seminars

Students apply on line for freshman seminars and are admitted by a computerized lottery before each term begins. For fall-term seminars, the application system opens in late August; for spring-term seminars, the application system opens in early December. 

Please note that demand for some of the courses far exceeds the supply of available spaces. Students who were not admitted to a freshman seminar in the fall term receive higher priority in the spring-term lottery, but even students with high priority might not get admitted to the most popular seminars.

If you have questions about the program, please contact the Program Director, Dean George Levesque.