First-Year Offerings

The Humanities Program is proud to sponsor several exceptional courses of study exclusive to first years. Apart from Directed Studies, an intensive introduction to the Western tradition of arts and letters, we also offer several first year seminars with world-class scholars as alternative points of entry into the world of humanistic studies at Yale.

The Purposes of College Education (HUMS 115)

Immigration regulations require all first-year international students to take at least one course that is largely in-person. As you know, most courses at Yale this year will be offered primarily online. There are a number of in-person courses that you can choose to fulfill this requirement of the US immigration authorities, and this is one of them. For the in-person lectures in this course, preference will be given to international students.


Fall Seminars

An intensive introduction to the humanities at Yale ranging widely across genres, media, periods, and geographies. Extensive trips to Yale’s collections and sustained attention to writing skills. 

Fall 2020
MW 9:00-10:15am, F 12:30-3.30pm

Why does the universe exist? What is reality? Who are we? Where are we? We will address such uncertainties by looking at three seemingly disparate disciplines: literature, physics, and philosophy. 

Fall 2020
MW 9.00-10.15

What are you here at Yale for? Engagement with three different traditions of imagining the good life and of imagining education: Confucianism, Christianity, and Modernism. 

Fall 2019
MW 9:00-10:15am

An introductory course on the art of watercolor as a humanistic discipline. Readings, discussions, and studio work emphasize critical, creative thinking through “learning by doing” study.

Fall 2019
W 2:30pm-5:30pm

Directed Studies:

The Directed Studies program consists of three integrated full-year courses in Philosophy, Literature, and Historical and Political Thought. Each of the three courses meets weekly for one lecture and two discussion seminars, where small groups of students work closely with a professor to texts in depth. Regular classes are complemented by a series of colloquia, in addition to sessions at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Interested students must apply or petition for interest before the beginning of the Fall Semester of freshman year.

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