The First-Year Seminar Program offers first-year students small-sized, discussion-based courses taught by some of Yale’s most distinguished faculty members. Students have the opportunity to engage deeply with the material, participate in lively discussions, and develop critical thinking and analytical skills. The program aims to foster a close-knit learning community and to introduce students to the rigorous academic environment at Yale from the outset of their undergraduate journey.

About the Program

Approximately 100 first-year seminars are offered each year across numerous departments and programs at Yale College. These seminars serve various purposes, from providing an introduction to a specific field to a specific field of study to taking an interdisciplinary approach to a chosen topic.

By the numbers

  • Enrollment in each seminar is limited to 15-18 students, depending on the course’s nature
  • Seminars typically meet twice a week.
  • Unless specified otherwise, seminars do not require prior experience in the field.
  • All first-year seminars offer regular Yale course credits and contribute toward fulfilling appropriate distributional and major requirements.

Students apply to these seminars during the registration period. They can enroll in no more than one first-year seminar per term and a maximum of two during their first year at Yale College.

For a comprehensive list of available seminars, students can refer to the Yale Course Search and select “First-Year Seminar” under Yale College Attributes.

Faculty interested in offering a first-year seminar can find more information on the Teaching a First-Year Seminar page of the Yale College website.

Jasmina Beširević

Director of First-Year Seminar Program, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, Yale College and Associate Dean for Graduate Education, Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences