The First-Year Seminar Program offers entering students small group classes to help them experience an intellectual and social community, ease the transition from high school to a large university, and explore subjects of particular interest in collaboration with a regular faculty member. All seminars remain close until first-year students begin to preregister either during Summer Orientation for Fall terms or the early registration period for winter terms. The exception is that first- and second-year students may enroll in 200-level seminars offered by language departments. 

The FYS Brochure is included in the Summer Orientation Packet sent to all entering students. A FYS homepage for students informs faculty/staff, students, academic advisors, and non-LSA advisors in schools and colleges with students who enroll in these popular courses. The posted documents include a list of FYS offerings sorted alphabetically and distribution, any changes since the brochure was printed, short descriptions, weekly enrollment reports for Fall seminars, and a link to the Course Guide.

Most seminars earn 3 credits. Those that include a required lab section or fulfill the First-Year Writing requirement earn 4 credits. Most FYS fulfill an Area Distribution, and a few also satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning or Race & Ethnicity Requirements. 

Maximum enrollment for  First-Year Seminars is 18 students. FYS enrollment is restricted to first-year students. Our office enforces that policy by reserving all spaces to a reserve group named Y1 that identifies all entering students including those who are classified as sophomores due to AP credit. Please refer to the FYS enrollment policies established by the Dean's Office.

The majority of First-Year Seminars are offered through departments and taught by regular faculty as part of their regular teaching load.  Emeriti, part-time, and non-LSA faculty may request to teach a seminar through the University Courses division administered by the Dean's Office. 

An Early Start: First-Year Seminars

1999 UM News article by Leslie Stainton with comments from entering students and professors

Purpose and Goals of the First-Year Seminar Program
First-Year Seminar Guidelines (PDF)
First Year Seminar Enrollment Policies (PDF)
Encouraging Student Participation (PDF)
Teaching Tips for FYS Faculty (PDF)
Class Rosters (PDF)
Mid-Term Course Evaluation (PDF)

Mid-term evaluations helps ensure a positive learning experience and allows faculty to respond and make appropriate changes. General questions typically elicit helpful information, but you are free to revise them or create your own form entirely.

What Funding Is Available for FYS Arts & Cultural Activities?
Funding Resources for FYS Faculty
LSA Faculty Interested in Teaching a First-Year Seminar
Tips for Writing FYS Proposals


Contact: Lori Gould, Student Services Coordinator, or Evans Young, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education


First-Year Seminar Program

College of Literature, Science & the Arts
2242 LSA Building, 500 S. State St

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1382 © 2016 Regents of the University of Michigan