Each First Year Seminar (FYS) draws on the passions, expertise, and creative interests of an enthusiastic professor to investigate cutting-edge material. Unlike a first-year survey course that tries to give an overview of an entire field or discipline, each First Year Seminar examines a particular question or topic in depth and from multiple points of view.

As your First Year Seminar, these courses are designed so that you, your classmates, and a skillful teacher embark on a shared academic adventure that offers the excitement of intellectual discovery and the pleasures of creative accomplishment.

Hallmarks of First Year Seminars are lively and informed class discussions; support in developing the skills of critical and creative thinking, reading, and writing; and the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students on a project that your group designs and develops independently. Each class operates as an engaged intellectual community, and class discussions are enriched by community-based projects, guest visits from experts in the Baltimore-Washington area, fieldtrips, and opportunities for hands-on investigations.

Your First Year Seminar will serve as your advising group, a place where you are challenged and supported to develop the skills needed to engage deeply and critically with complex materials; to take risks; to reflect on your own strengths, passions and goals; and to begin to develop a vision for your four-year-long journey through the liberal arts. All students are required to pass their First Year Seminar to be eligible for graduation.