First-Year Seminars

Gerard Kuperus from the Philosophy Department and students from his First-Year Seminar course "The Human Animal" visited the California Academy of Sciences earlier this semester.

Did you come to USF for:

  • Small class sizes?
  • Innovative courses?
  • Great faculty?
  • New friends?
  • San Francisco culture?

Of course you did! And that's why you should enroll in a First-Year Seminar (FYS) - your best opportunity to have everything that makes college great, all at the same time.

First-Year Seminars are designed and taught by faculty who have a special passion for the topic. Each FYS fulfills a Core requirement, but the focus of the course will be special - instead of "Introduction to Philosophy," try "Philosophy & Science Fiction" and read stories by Ursula LeGuin and Robert Heinlein! Instead of "Beginning Chemistry," try "Molecular Gastronomy" and investigate the chemical makeup of the foods we eat - and don't eat! Listen to local authors read from their books! View independent films at famous theaters like the Roxie! Take a virtual trip to the Congo! Develop a family business! Attend the San Francisco Opera!

Each FYS is limited to 16 students. Because even the very best new students benefit from interaction with experienced students, many FYS's also have a First-Year Seminar Assistant (FSA), an advanced undergraduate who is available to mentor new students, and to assist them in navigating the "ins and outs" of the university.

Seminars are not limited by the four walls of the classroom, either. You might participate in cultural, intellectual or culinary events; visit important historical, geological, or environmental site; or attend an opening at the San Francisco-MOMA!

FYS's are open only to students in their first or second semester at USF. Every student is limited to one FYS, taken in either Fall or Spring. Each FYS fulfills a Core Course requirement and counts toward student graduation. Course offerings vary from semester to semester, depending on the new and innovative opportunities developed by our Faculty. Click on the links to the right of this page to view descriptions for our current course offerings, and contact the FYS Committee Chair, Marilyn DeLaure ( for more information.