Freshman and Sophomore Seminars: Make a Difference

January 23, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

Each semester, faculty from across campus welcome our newest students into our intellectual community by teaching in the Freshman and Sophomore Seminar Program. We invite you to join us.

Most seminars meet for an hour once a week, for one unit of credit, and are meant to be discussion-based and interactive. In 2024-25, we especially welcome seminars on topics that intersect with the 2024 On the Same Page selection, the film Oppenheimer. Of course, seminars can be on almost any topic you can dream up. This spring, faculty are offering seminars on  "Breaking Language Barriers in the Academy" (co-taught by faculty in French and Integrative Biology), "The United Farm Worker (UFW) Movement in Coachella: An Introduction to Research," and "The UC Botanical Garden: the plants, the research, the public."

Students appreciate the way that the seminars help them find their voice and place at Berkeley. A first-year student who took a seminar in Ethnic Studies last semester said, “This seminar was extremely valuable to me. I was able to meet with so many like-minded individuals for the first time. In every other class it's hard to build those connections, but a small 15 person seminar fosters these types of connections."

If you are interested in teaching a seminar in fall 2024, please let your department chair and scheduler know, and then submit a Faculty Participation Form by Thursday, February 15, 2024. Senate faculty who teach a 1- or 2-unit Freshman and Sophomore Seminar as an overload will receive a $3,000 grant that can be used for anything related to their teaching or research.

To receive more information about the Freshman and Sophomore Seminar Program or to brainstorm ideas, contact Aileen Liu, Director of Curricular Engagement Initiatives in the College of Letters & Science, at


Jennifer Johnson-Hanks
Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science

Oliver M. O’Reilly
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

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