Incoming Students

Incoming students, especially first year and early transfers, are required to take the First Year Seminar (FYS). This should be done in the fall term when the great bulk of FYS are offered. (On the rare occasion of unresolvable scheduling conflicts, students may be assigned to one of a few FYS sections for incoming students in the spring term.) 

If you are an incoming student, you need to enroll in one of the many classes that satisfy this requirement. Below are some guidelines and helpful hints in proceeding forward in this process.

  • Your Academic Advisor – One of the Advising Centers in the three colleges of the University (CAS, PCPS and KSOM) will be in contact with you and assign an advisor to help you determine what courses to enroll in for your entering term. You will meet with this advisor during your scheduled on-campus orientation session. Knowing as much as you can about your curricular requirements prior to this meeting is a good idea.
  • Forms, Forms, Forms – For fall enrollment, you will receive a packet from the Registrar’s office that will ask you to fill out forms relevant to the registration process. You will be asked to select three FYSs that you might prefer. Please keep in mind that scheduling for so many students is complicated and the Registrar’s office cannot guarantee your choices, but your preference will guide the process as much as that is possible.   
  • Determining your Choice of a FYS –The FYS is a required part of the General Education Curriculum (GE). Also, some FYS satisfy additional GE requirements.
  • FYSs that satisfy other GE requirements – Philosophy & Theology

It is a GE requirement that you take 5 classes in Philosophy and Theology (2 in each and an additional 1 chosen from either). FYSs offered in these two departments satisfy not only the FYS GE requirement, but also the first required course in either of those two departments, Phil 120 or T/RS 121. This is one reason why there are many FYS offerings in these two departments.

  • FYSs that satisfy other Core requirements – (CA, CL, CH, S, E, etc.)

Some other GE requirements are flagged by letters in parentheses. For instance, you have a Social/Behavioral Science requirement and this is flagged by (S). A FYS with that marking will satisfy one of your Social Science requirements. Or, you need courses that carry the letter “C”, for Humanities/Culture, in different combinations and from different departments. (For instance, CL stands for Humanities/Culture - Literature.) The important thing to know is that a FYS that has letters in parentheses () in its title satisfies the additional GE requirement that is associated with those letters.

  • FYS that stand alone

ANY course marked with FYS in the title and numbered with an X at the end fulfills the basic FYS GE requirement. Many FYSs fulfill only that requirement; this allows them to pursue their topics more freely. If you find a given topic interesting and want to explore it in its own right, these FYS are excellent choices. They can be identified simply by the fact that they are not in Phil or T/RS and do not come with letters in parentheses ().

  • FYS offered in different colleges or as INTD

Most FYSs are offered in academic departments in CAS (College of Arts and Sciences), but some are available in PCPS (Panuska College of Professional Studies) or in KSOM (Kania School of Management). If you are a student in these colleges, you might consider these offerings. Also, some FYS are listed as INTD (Interdisciplinary); they do not arise directly from any one academic department. (These sometimes have () in their titles, and so satisfy other GE requirements.)  It does not matter which department or college your FYS is in. All FYSs satisfy the FYS requirement for any student. 

  • FYS associated with Special Programs

Special programs such as the SJLA honors program gather their students together for common classes. These programs sometimes reserve particular sections of FYS. If you are in one of these programs you will be automatically assigned to one of these designated sections. Also, a trend at the University is toward “Residential Learning Communities”; these often have a FYS reserved for them. Members will automatically be assigned to the FYS associated with that community.   (For more about these communities see:


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