First-Year Offerings

The Humanities Program is proud to offer a fantastic selection of offerings exclusively for first-year undergraduates. The Humanities Program is home to several wildly successful First-Year Seminars, as well as Directed Studies, an intensive interdisciplinary introduction to the seminal texts of the Western Intellectual Tradition.

First-Year Seminars:

The First-Year Seminar program offers first-year students the opportunity to enroll in small classes with some of Yale’s most distinguished faculty members. Some seminars provide an introduction to a particular field of study; others take an interdisciplinary approach to a selected topic. Whatever the subject and method of instruction, each seminar is designed specifically with first-year students in mind and provides an opportunity to work closely with faculty members and peers. Many classes feature visits to the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, as well as field-trips to off-campus sites. 

Interested students must pre-register before the start of each semester. Courses are capped at instructor’s discretion.

Fall Seminars

Engagement with three visions of different traditions of imagining the good life and of imagining education: Confucianism, Christianity, and Modernism. 

Fall 2019
MW 9:00-10:15am

Humanistic study has always been a tool for posing the big questions. In a class divided into two halves but taught by both instructors, we will explore these two concerns beginning with Gilgamesh and ending with the present. 

Fall 2019
MW 1–2:15pm

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

 This first-year seminar considers the relationship between science and the humanities by looking at several intersections throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

Fall 2019
MW 9:00-10:15am

Study of the creative interactions produced by informal associations of innovative minds in literature, philosophy, politics, science, psychology, the arts, war, and law. 

Fall 2019
MW 9am-10:15am

Spring Seminars:

Study of how fantasy ideas about race and gender, good and evil, and religion and culture reflect and influence changing ideas about what it means to be human.

Spring 2020
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

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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