First Year Seminar

Welcome to the First Year Seminar Website!

The First Year Seminar offers all incoming students at the University of Scranton a common academic experience, pursued in an intimate seminar setting that encourages intellectual engagement in the context of friendship. The course is a key component of the General Education curriculum. More than any other course, it acquaints incoming students with what we care most about at Scranton, and invites them to join in.

The First Year Seminar (FYS) is offered under a variety of titles in different academic departments. Registering students will need to know some basic information about the FYS so they can choose a section that suits them, and participate it in well. This website offers that information. It also serves as a tool for students and faculty engaged in the course, including posting upcoming lectures, service opportunities and special events.

The First Year Seminar (FYS) – Some Basics

  • The FYS is a 3-credit course that is required of all incoming students.  It should be scheduled in the student’s first semester (special, unavoidable scheduling conflicts may occasionally shift it to the second term).
  • The FYS is offered in many different departments and carries many different titles.  In all departments, however, course titles are coded with “FYS: . . .” and its course number always begins with a 1 and ends with an “x.”  [For instance,  “Phil 125x – FYS: Thinking the City,” is a course in Philosophy (Phil) at the 100 (first year) level.  It is a FYS that probes the political ideas and meanings of the “polis” (Greek) or city.]
  • FYSs pursue different academic topics and subjects in the course material they study. This varied content is determined by the department in which the seminar is offered and by the teacher of the course.
  • All FYSs seek to stimulate thoughtful exchange in class discussion, introduce students to University culture and assist in them in adjusting to it, and relate material covered in the course to the University of Scranton’s Ignatian mission.
  • All FYSs encourage students to explore the breadth and depth of the intellectual, spiritual and social opportunities available at the University of Scranton.  Students are asked to attend various “life of the mind” lectures and events outside the classroom and reflect on their significance.  
  • All FYS have a cap of 18 students, and are taught by full-time faculty.  This is to facilitate active and friendly intellectual exchange.  Discussion is accented, and students learn cooperatively, from one another as well as from their professor.

From the Director

The First Year Seminar is among the first courses students take at the University of Scranton.  We want students to feel welcomed—and challenged!  We believe education at the University can open exciting paths of inquiry, transform our vision, and inspire us to pursue a life of service.  The FYS starts this off by engaging students in active and thoughtful conversation with a small group of their peers, in the company of some of our best professors.  As the seminar experience unfolds, I hope it will open the door to four years of growth and learning.  The pages of this website are designed to fill out the picture of the FYS at Scranton more thoroughly.  Feel free to contact me directly if questions remain at