First-Year Seminar

First-Year Seminar (FSEM) offers students an intimate and rigorous introduction to academic life at the University of Denver. Taken in the fall term, FSEM courses invite students to explore engaging topics alongside fellow first-year students in a small-class environment. Students hone the academic skills necessary for successful college work, while making friends and building an intellectual community at DU.

FSEM centers the critical relationship between students and faculty, as they explore meaningful topics together in the classroom, and get to know each other personally through regular mentoring and advising meetings. As first-year students chart their path at DU, FSEM professors serve as their trusted guides, offering advice and resources along the way.

Students in class working on group projects

Structure of the First-Year Seminar

First-Year Seminars pair a small group of students with a faculty expert teaching on a subject they are passionate about. FSEM professors serve as students' primary academic advisor for the first year, offering guidance in course selection, major and minor decisions, and academic planning.

Students meet their FSEM cohort during Discoveries Week, where students are welcomed into the University community. At the end of Discoveries Week, FSEM classes travel together on a Destinations trip that fosters community, provides a real-world entry point into the curricular content of the FSEM course, and introduces students to the greater Denver area.

As the first course in the Common Curriculum, FSEM classes meet four hours per week during the fall term. After the fall quarter concludes, FSEM professors continue to meet with students for advising and mentoring.

While the topic of each seminar is different, FSEM courses focus on one or more of the following academic skills:

  • Writing
  • Critical reading and thinking
  • Discussion, argumentation, and debate
  • Information literacy
Students grabbing BBQ

How to Register

You should have registered for your First-Year Seminar over the summer when you registered for all of your other courses for the Fall. If you need assistance navigating your schedule or changing your FSEM, please contact Undergraduate Academic Advising.