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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the summer and fall 2021 semesters.

First-Year Seminars

Student taking notes on a laptop in a small seminar course

One of Smith’s strengths is the value of its open curriculum, where students are agents of their curricular experience. The college does, however, have a few requirements, one being the completion of a Writing Intensive (WI) course during either your first or second semesters. First-year seminars are one way to fulfill that requirement, and, if possible, we advise you to take advantage of this option. These unique inter- or multidisciplinary courses let faculty and first-year students deeply explore an issue, topic or problem of interest.

Why Take a First-Year Seminar?

From examining Indian cinema, to writing essays about the landscape, to exploring the Bible, these seminars cover a wide range of inventive topics. Although not required, these small classes give you a valuable opportunity to experience the benefits of college-level learning through seminar-style investigation. First-year seminars incorporate all the capacities of a successful liberal arts education, including helping tudents develop their skills in writing, speaking, library research, accessing databases, working in small groups, quantitative reasoning and critical thinking. You will also gain practical experience in learning how to integrate student support services into your academic pursuits.

Seminars are designed for small groups of 16 to 20 first-year students. The current offerings for First-Year Seminars can be found in the Smith College Course Catalog.