First-Year Seminar Program

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What is a Liberal Arts first-year seminar?

A first-year seminar is a graduation requirement for all Penn State students. The seminars in the Liberal Arts are limited to twenty students and are offered in various Liberal Arts disciplines (English, psychology, history, philosophy, anthropology, political science, etc.). The small size of the seminars allows for more discussion in class, interaction with the professor, and attention to writing skills. In addition to fulfilling the University's first-year seminar requirement, each three-credit seminar fulfills a General Education requirement in either the humanities or social and behavioral sciences.

The goals for a Liberal Arts first-year seminar are:

  1. To introduce students to the content and methods of a broad range of Liberal Arts disciplines by encouraging "self-directed inquiry." Faculty encourage students to take responsibility for producing knowledge.
  2. To provide students with multiple perspectives on and contrasting views of the world in which they live.
  3. To help students develop intellectual skills (including reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking), which are essential for learning in various disciplines and for continued learning in life outside of the University.

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