First-Year Seminar Program

College of Arts and Sciences faculty encourages all Oberlin first-year students to enroll in a first-year seminar, which introduces students to liberal arts learning.

The First-Year Seminar Program (FYSP), in close alignment with the Peer Advising Leaders (PAL) Program, will not only hone your skills in critical and creative thinking, discussion, and writing, but also acquaint you with resources available for your learning at Oberlin.

First-year seminars help you think about the connections among the courses you’ve chosen and the personal significance and social relevance of your studies. Take a seminar to share new ideas, learn from others, and get to know a professor well in a small classroom setting. Class size is limited to 14-16 students.

Faculty in departments and programs throughout the college offer first-year seminars on subjects that will stir your intellectual curiosity and inspire you to question and understand the workings of science, society, and the community at large. Some recent first-year seminars have explored the nature of human language, black women and liberation, science and ethics of genetic manipulation, the meanings of jazz across times and place, the genesis of controversy, and social justice in the United States.

Browse seminars and course descriptions

All first-year seminars are at the same level, regardless of the course number. We offer more than 100 seminars on a rotating basis.

Questions? Contact .

Program Director

Elizabeth Hamilton

Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor of German
Cochair of Musical Studies


Chris Dana

Administrative Assistant