Our Purpose

3 students at a table working on a paper project.

Emerging from the most significant reform to Hopkins’ undergraduate curriculum in 70 years, the mission of the First-Year Seminars (FYS) program is to welcome first-year students warmly and rigorously into the intellectual life of the university. Our seminars take you straight to the heart of what we do: ask big questions, explore new concepts, and hone the habits of mind needed to examine and solve the world’s most challenging problems. Our undertaking is animated by a set of common seminar objectives. Among many worthy and important goals, FYS seeks to:

  • Provide a common experience unique to the first year
  • Support the transition from high school to university life
  • Cultivate intellectual curiosity and community
  • Encourage meaningful civil exchange among students across disciplinary interests and from diverse backgrounds
  • Foster early, sustained, faculty-student interaction and mentorship
  • Dovetail with common wraparound programming designed to develop community and an esprit de corps across the first-year class.

A Bigger Picture

FYS is one-half of the Krieger School’s First-Year Foundation (FYF) — a required two-course sequence of one First-Year Seminar in the fall and one First-Year Writing (FYW) course in the spring. Krieger’s FYF delivers a sense of intellectual rigor and community in the first year of college, foundational skills essential to future success, and closer ties between faculty and undergraduate students. For more on the writing curriculum in the Krieger School, please visit the University Writing Program.