Learn More About FYS

Biological Sciences Professor Heather Mattila talks about her first-year seminar, Exploration of Organismal Biology with Lab.

Yes, you might just "learn more" in a first-year seminar.

But here's where you can learn more about the first-year seminars.

Seminar Size

Class size is limited so that you can actively engage and build a close community. With a maximum of 15 students per seminar, you can work closely with faculty and other students, and keep the focus on active, collaborative, and creative learning.

First-Years Only

As an introduction to more advanced scholarship, the first-year seminar is both challenging and comforting. In first-year seminars, you can’t hide in an anonymous lecture. At the same time, you won’t be surrounded by more experienced college students who might intimidate you. In the first-year seminar, you are with other students who are at the same stage of the college experience as you are. Here, learning from one another is as important as learning with one another.

“Through a first year seminar, first-year students can have much more intellectual focus and attention. First-year seminar can be a great guidance in academic skills that are required for college students," reported one student. And another added, "I enjoy having a class with only first-years; it is making the transition to college easier."

Discussions and Projects

Small classes that are discussion- or project-based mean you'll work very closely with the professors. You'll also get to know your fellow students with a unique and deep connection. As one student said, "Everyone in the class is in the same boat as you, and the small class environment allows for intellectual discussion and a more intimate learning environment. It's a great way to get to know at least one professor well.”


Courses may fulfill specific distribution and/or major requirements, but we encourage you to think outside the major. Most students choose seminars because the topic interests them or it's a way to explore an area they hadn't considered before. Wellesley offers first-year seminars on a wide range of topics. For almost all of them, there are no prerequisites: these are courses that will look closely at complex topics, but that assume that you aren’t familiar with it. So you can be fearless about studying anything from the Cities of Italy to Science and the Bible.