The First-Year Seminar Program

The First-Year 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 first-year students in mind and provides an opportunity to work closely with faculty members and peers.

Approximately seventy first-year 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 first-year 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 2018-2019 is available in Yale Course Search. Click "First Year Seminar " under Yale College Attributes for a list of all first-year seminars.

Information for faculty who are interested in offering a first-year seminar can be found here

Application to First-Year Seminars

Students apply online for first-year seminars and are admitted by a computerized lottery before each term begins. For fall-term seminars, the application deadline is late August; for spring-term seminars, the application deadline is early January. 

Please note that demand for some of the courses far exceeds the supply of available spaces. Students who were not admitted to a first-year 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. Please also note that many departments, such as the English Department, offer introductory discussion-based seminars that are not part of the first-year seminar program but offer a similar experience.  

For spring term 2019, the seminars below may have room in them. Direct all inquiries to the instructor.

  • ART 012, On Activism: The Visual Representation of Protest and Disruption, Pamela Hovland. Th 9:25am-11:45am
  • ART 014, Research in the Making, Karin Schneider. W 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • CLCV 045, Authors and Readers After Antiquity, Sarah Insley Say MW 1pm-2:15pm
  • ENGL 026, Poetics of Place: Literature in/of Connecticut, Alanna Hickey. MW 1pm-2:15pm 
  • FREN 096, Women's Narratives of Self in Modern French Literature, Maryam Sanjabi. MW 2:30pm-3:45pm
  • HIST 019, The History of the Book in the American West, Travis Ross. TTh 1pm-2:15pm
  • HIST 025, Painting and History, Noah Gentele. TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm
  • HUMS 078, Shakespeare and Music, Judith Malafronte. MW 2:30pm-3:45pm
  • NELC 001, Egypt and Northeast Africa: A Multidisciplinary Approach, John Darnell. TTh 11:35am-12:50pm
  • THST 095, The Process of New Play Development in American Theater, Hal Brooks. M 1:30pm-3:20pm
  • THST 099, Dance on Film, Emily Coates. TTh 2:30-3:45pm

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