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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 3-credit seminar fulfills a General Education requirement in either the humanities or social and behavioral sciences.

First-year seminars allow students to learn more about the College of the Liberal Arts and Penn State. The seminars center around helping students become acclimated to the University, as well as begin to identify with the college, their peers, and their teachers. First-year engagement is an important component of every first-year seminar.

Liberal Arts first-year seminar 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?

    Please meet with your adviser if you need to substitute a first-year seminar substitution.

    Faculty Resources

    If you have questions about your first-year seminar, please contact Emilee Spokus at

    Additional Undergraduate Seminars:

    We occasionally offer special seminars that aim to showcase the power of a Liberal Arts education by bringing multiple perspectives to bear on a timely or important topic. Past  seminar topics include: the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; the campaign of Donald Trump; sports ethics including concussions and compensation for student athletes; and interrogating prejudice.

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