The First-Year Seminar program offers first-year students small-sized classes taught by some of Yale's most distinguished faculty members.

Approximately seventy-five first-year seminars are offered each year across dozens of departments. Some provide an introduction to a particular field of study, while others take an interdisciplinary approach to a selected topic.

  • Enrollment in each seminar is limited to 15 or 18 students, depending on the nature of the course.
  • Most seminars meet twice each week.
  • Unless otherwise noted, the seminars do not 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.

See Yale Course Search for a list of the first-year seminars. Select "First Year Seminar " under Yale College Attributes for a complete list.

Faculty who wish to offer a first-year seminar may find information on the Teach a First-Year Seminar page of this website.

First-Year Seminars with Seats Available

Students interested in enrolling any of the following first-year seminars should contact the instructor:

  • ENGL 028, “African Literature in the World,” C. Iheka (MW 1-2:15)
  • FREN 096, “Women’s Self-Narratives,” M. Sanjabi (MW 4-5:15)
  • HSAR 017, “African Art History,” C. Bushidi (TTh 11:35-12:15)
  • LITR 017, “All the World’s a Stage,” J. Hagens (TTh 1-2:15)
  • MCDB 070, “Human Biology,” W. Segraves (TTh 11:35-12:50)
  • NELC 004, “Earliest Literature of the Ancient World,” B. Foster (MW 9-10:15)
  • RUSS 025, “Russian and Chinese Science Fiction,” (MW 1-2:15)
  • THST 093, “Creativity, Collaboration, and the Art of Making Theater,” (M 3:30-5:20 and HTBA)

Application to First-Year Seminars

Students may apply online for first-year seminars; applications are typically due a few days before the start of the term.

Admission is determined by a computerized lottery before each term begins. Demand for certain seminars exceeds the supply of available spaces. Students not admitted to a seminar in the fall-term receive higher priority in the spring-term lottery; however, admittance to a seminar is not guaranteed.


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.