The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will:

-Critically analyze information and ideas
-Examine issues from multiple perspectives
-Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason
-Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and
-Create clear academic writing

The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and between students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

All Dickinson first-year students arrive on campus for orientation knowing which seminar they will join.

The following First-Year Seminars are offered in the Fall of 2023:

Atomic Peril: The History of the Atom Bomb

Playing to Learn: Harnessing Technology in K-12 to Facilitate Deeper Mathematical Understanding in the Post-COVID Era

Pinnacles and Pitfalls: Basic Science in the Service of Human Health

State of Denial: Recognizing, Understanding, and Responding to Science Denialism

It’s Not Easy Being Green: The Psychology of Sustainable Behavior

HIP, HIP, Hooray! Three Cheers for Impactful & Transformative Experiences

Home Sweet Home: Reading the Home in 1920s

I Am Not Who You Think I Am: Fictions of Self, Identity, and Difference

America in the Eyes of the World

Don Quixote in the Twenty-First Century

From Kyoto to Paris to Carlisle: Human Impact on Global and Local Environments

Ethics and the History of Economic Thought

Fictions of Migration in Global Perspective

Inequalities and Social Justice in Sports: How Unequal Power and Privileges Make Leveling the Playing Field Impossible 

Beyond Baklava, Belly-Dancing, and the Burqa: Arab Women in Film, Literature, and History                 

Mass Incarceration, Race, and the Politics of Abolition

Fright Night: Perspectives on Halloween and the Supernatural

Composing Disability: How Identity and Power Shape Diverse Understandings of Ability

Calling Bullshit: Fighting for Facts in a Post-Truth World 

“Jackpot”: Surveying the End(s) of the World

Ideas That Have Shaped the World

'Old World,' New Problems? Europe in the Twenty-First Century

Memory, History, Story in the Fiction of Kazuo Ishiguro

Ideas the Shaped the World

What Role Should Anger Play in Speaking Truth to Power?

Banned Books

Consuming Mountains: Balancing the “Future We Want” with the Rocks We Need

Local Poverty and Food 

Calling Bullshit: Fighting for Facts in a Post-Truth World

The Beauty Myth: A March Towards Perfection

Living with Algorithms

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Migrants in History, Media, and Popular Culture

Calling Bullshit: Fighting for Facts in a Post-Truth World

Galileo’s Commandment

Wade in the Water Project – Using Music to Examine Human Interactions with Place and Water

Art is Money, Art is Power: The Myths of the “Masterpiece” in World Art

The Middle Ages on Screen