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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-four 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.

Liberal Arts First-Year Engagement Plan Objectives:

  • Introduce students to:
    • University study
    • Their responsibilities as part of the University community
    • Learning tools and resources available at Penn State
    • Penn State as an academic community, including fields of study and areas of interest available to students
    • Provide an opportunity for students to develop relationships with full-time faculty and other students in an academic area of interest to them

    First Year Seminars by Semester

    I did not complete a first year seminar. What do I do?

    The First-Year Seminar Substitution Process 

    Liberal Arts Edge seminars

    Liberal Arts Edge seminars are optional courses that aim to showcase the power of a liberal arts education by bringing multiple perspectives to bear on a timely or important topic. Past edge seminar topics include: the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO; the campaign of Donald Trump; sports ethics including concussions and compensation for student athletes; and interrogating prejudice.

    The World of 1968

    In Spring 2018, as part of the college's 1968 theme; the history department offered a Liberal Arts Edge seminar looking back 50 years at one of the most consequential moments in American history. Learn more about the course and the theme at

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