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 2014–2015 is available in Yale College Programs of Study.

Application to Freshman Seminars

Students apply on line for freshman seminars and are admitted by a computerized lottery. For fall-term seminars, application takes place during Freshman Orientation; for spring-term seminars, application takes place at the end of the fall term. Demand for many of the courses exceeds the supply of available spaces, and not everyone who applies to the program will be admitted. Students who are accepted into either Directed Studies or Perspectives on Science and Engineering are ordinarily not permitted to enroll in a freshman seminar.

Application for spring-term seminars through the computerized lottery is now closed. To view the results of the lottery, visit the Freshman Seminar Online Application System. If a student has been admitted to a seminar, the course will be listed under “Assignment Result” in the system and will also be pushed to the OCS schedule worksheet. For students who have not been admitted, the system will state “We were unable to assign you to a section.”

The seminars below still have openings available; please contact the instructor to request admission. Interested students who were not admitted to other seminars are encouraged to contact the instructor for placement on a waiting list.

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