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First-Year Seminars (FYS) are 3-credit hour courses that satisfy the critical thinking requirement for the KU Core. First-Year Seminars are taught by faculty from a range of disciplines throughout the university. Seminar topics focus on exciting and important questions that provide students with the opportunity to explore issues, gather and evaluate evidence, and develop their ideas through writing. By participating in a First-Year Seminar, students develop essential academic skills that they will use throughout their time at KU.

Student FAQs

What would I get out of a First-Year Seminar?

  • Taking a First-Year Seminar will enable you to explore an unfamiliar area that intrigues you or delve into a topic related to your academic interests.
  • First-Year Seminars are designed to help you develop university-level skills in critical thinking and writing that you will use at KU and throughout your professional career.
  • All First-Year Seminars have fewer than 20 students. You will get to know other students in your class and your professor.

What will my First-Year Seminar be like?

  • First-Year Seminars involve active learning, discussion, and engagement with peers in your class.
  • First-Year Seminars provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities, such as field trips, laboratory research, service projects, or attending artistic performances or exhibits.
  • There are interesting opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate across First-Year Seminars to look at important questions from a variety of approaches.

What if I don’t know anything about the topic?

  • The only prerequisite to enroll in a First-Year Seminar is freshman status. Prior knowledge of the subject matter is not expected.


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