UC Berkeley’s Freshman and Sophomore Seminars provide an unparalleled opportunity for faculty members and small groups of lower-division students to explore a scholarly topic of mutual interest together, following an often spontaneous flow of dialogue and interchange in the spirit of learning for its own sake. By taking a seminar a student becomes an active member of Berkeley’s intellectual community. The faculty benefit too: interacting directly with a handful of bright and talented new students can be inspiring and energizing.
Faculty members from every campus department come together to offer approximately one hundred seminars each semester, on an astonishing range of topics. They are encouraged to design seminars on topics they don’t typically have a chance to teach, including an emerging research area or an outside interest. Students are encouraged to choose their seminars based on the pull of intellectual curiosity, a desire to explore enticing and even unfamiliar realms.
Some of our seminars enroll only freshmen, some enroll only sophomores, and some enroll both. We offer one-unit seminars as well as seminars that carry more units. If you are not sure which kind of seminar is right for you, Seminars at a Glance should help answer your questions.
Many seminars count towards the completion of one or more Course Threads. This program allows Berkeley undergraduates to explore intellectual themes that connect courses across departments and disciplines.
Some seminars focus on topics related to the current theme of the On the Same Page program. The book chosen for fall 2015 is Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo.
Many semesters Freshman and Sophomore Seminars offers theme seminars inspired by the current times. The spring 2014 theme is Creating Change. We invite you to take one of these seminars and think about how you can "be the change you want to see in the world."
Connections at Cal Seminars are intended to foster long-lasting bonds among the participants, both faculty and students. The connections will be sustained both in person and through a special social networking site devoted to your seminar. Faculty should consult the C@C FAQ.
Faculty members and students who are interested in becoming better acquainted in an informal setting are encouraged to consider our Food for Thought series.
Looking for other small, interactive courses for freshmen? Interested in possibly becoming a math or science teacher? Check out CalTeach.
Students who want to make the most of their time at Cal are invited to check out Success, Seminars, and You, featuring good ideas to try before, during and after taking a seminar.