First-Year Seminars

Many UMass students point to the opportunity to connect with a teacher as a key indicator of their success and satisfaction in their first semester in college. First-Year Seminars are a fantastic way to develop that connection!  

UA&LC plays a leadership role in helping students and advisors learn about the variety of first-year seminars available. We work closely with all the schools and colleges, and various departments and offices across campus in order to catalog the opportunities in one place.

Enrolling in a First-Year Seminar will give you a great start!

  • Share ideas around topics of interest.
  • Develop close relationships with faculty and peers.
  • Ease your transition into your new role as a college student.
  • Have a class with 30 or fewer students.
  • Learn the ins and outs of UMass Amherst.

Here at UMass Amherst we have a wide range of First-Year Seminar opportunities for YOU, our incoming first-year students.  In all of these seminars you will meet throughout your first (or second) semester in college with a group of students that share an interest or major.  The leadership and focus of the seminar may vary depending upon the 'type' of first-year seminar.

First-Year Seminars are clustered into categories.

Seminars Available to Any Incoming First-Year Student:

Faculty First-Year Seminars

UMass Amherst has offered students the opportunity to enroll in a Faculty First-Year Seminars (FFYS) since Fall 2009. These one-credit, pass/fail seminars are a fantastic way for incoming students to connect with faculty and engage in a topic they are passionate about.


Seminars with Residential Academic Programs (RAP):

Many of our RAPs include specialized First-Year Seminars (UNIV 190R). A RAP seminar is a one-credit (usually pass/fail) class that is designed specifically for the students in a particular RAP. In the RAP seminar students discuss the topic of the RAP together and explore ideas and opportunities relevant to the specific RAP. Check out the RAP website to see which RAPs include a seminar.


Seminars Available to Certain Groups of Students

There are a variety of first-year seminars designed for specific groups of students.  Students who qualify for these seminars usually enroll in the classes directly on Spire.

Undeclared Students - OASIS First-Year Seminar (UNIV 125) is designed specifically for students entering UMass Amherst without a declared major. In addition to transition to college topics, students in OASIS engage in exercises and activities designed to help them identify an academic major that matches their interests, goals and skills. Students may enroll in the OASIS First-Year Seminar through a RAP (required for Focus Connections and Focus Enterprise RAPs) or as a stand alone class.

Declared Students - A number of colleges and academic departments offer a first-year seminar designed specifically for their entering students.

Intercollegiate Athletes - Students entering UMass Amherst as an intercollegiate athlete enroll in "Your Winning Season" First-Year Seminar (UNIV 193A).

ALANA Students - In addition to all the options listed above, there is a First-Year Seminar designed specifically for ALANA students. In addition to addressing general transition to college topics, this seminar includes a peer mentoring component.

Pamela R. Marsh-Williams, Ph.D.
Assistant Provost & Dean

This website is part of Undergraduate Advising & Learning Communities. We provide undergraduate students a variety of opportunities and services designed to facilitate the best academic experience possible. 609 Goodell Building, UMass Amherst.

UA&LC Units: Undergraduate Advising, Residential Academic Programs, Domestic Exchange Programs, Five College Interchange