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First-Year Seminars Take Students Off the Beaten Path

The Medieval Misfit. Going Paleo. How to Become an Expert in Roughly 10 Weeks.

The list of first-year seminars currently offered to incoming students reads like an enticing array of bestsellers at a bookstore. How does an 18-year-old decide? 

By choosing a topic that intrigues them —“something they will want to read and talk about for nine weeks,” says Lane Fenrich, Weinberg’s assistant dean for first-year students. “We encourage them to think outside their major and tempt them out of what they consider to be their paths.”  

With more than 150 first-year seminars on the menu each year, entering students can find themselves spoiled for choice. Fortunately, they get to pick two: one for their first quarter and another for later in the year.

To keep the selection fresh and appealing, the College continually introduces new topics, often drawing on the research interests of College faculty. About 75 new seminars are introduced each year. 

Some topics have proven to be perennial favorites, such as Buddhist Psychology and Reading and Writing Stories from the Margin, which explores the experiences of those outside the mainstream. And “anything with the word ‘music’ in the title is wildly popular,” notes Fenrich. 

The current list of first-year seminars also includes: 

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