For Students

Welcome to the Program of Freshman Seminars in the Residential Colleges!

During your four years at Princeton you will discover new ideas, new fields of knowledge, and the adventure of learning.   There is perhaps no better way to begin your journey at Princeton than by taking a freshman seminar. Open only to members of the first-year class, the program is designed to provide students an early opportunity to experience the excitement of working closely with an instructor and a small group of fellow students on a topic of special interest. As you will see in our roster of seminar offerings, the variety of topics and faculty members involved in this program is truly extraordinary. Indeed, many of our students subsequently identify their freshman seminar as one of their most enjoyable and meaningful academic experiences at Princeton — one that enabled them to discover new intellectual passions and form enduring relationships with faculty members and fellow students.

    This year’s Freshman Seminar offerings are listed under the “Course Offerings” tab to the left.  Please be sure to also read the longer course descriptions provided under each term’s Seminar Index.

    Here are some of the key features of this program to keep in mind as you explore the rich mix of offerings for the coming year:

    • The seminars count as regular, graded courses, and most fulfill a distribution requirement, as indicated by the letters in the right-hand corner of the course description.
    • Unless specifically indicated in the description, freshman seminars do not assume prior knowledge or advanced placement in the subject. Emphasis is on discussion, papers, and in-class presentations rather than on quizzes and exams.
    • Freshman seminars are not to be confused with freshman writing seminars. Freshman seminars are focused on the subject matter: the readings, papers, presentations, and class discussions are all centered on the specific content of the course. Writing seminars are focused on the process of writing: the topic serves as a springboard for writing exercises and essays; reading is held to a minimum; and most of class time is devoted to writing instruction. For these reasons you should not hesitate to take a freshman seminar in the term you will be taking your writing seminar, as long as your schedule permits.
    • Students interested in joining a Freshman Seminar are required to complete a brief application.

    Please direct questions to Sha Sanyal at sanyal@princeton.edu or (609) 258-1402.