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-five first-year seminars are offered every year in a wide range of subjects across dozens of departments. 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 2019-2020 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.  

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