First-Year Seminars

Ask Bowdoin seniors about their favorite memories, and you'll hear about the first-year seminar over and over again.

VIDEO
Seminar: The Cultural Significance of James Bond, Including Video Game Representation

During new student orientation, every incoming student works with their faculty advisor to choose one of over thirty-five first-year seminars. These classes are limited to sixteen students and are designed to help new students make the intellectual leap from high school to college. They also give you the chance to meet people outside of your residence hall, and outside of your academic interests—people who become friends for your entire time at Bowdoin.

Boot Camp for the Bowdoin Brain

The First-Year Seminar Program is designed to help introduce students to what it means to undertake serious intellectual work at the college level. The seminars provide small class settings where students can engage with a particular topic, a professor, and their peers. They provide an opportunity for in-depth study of a subject of mutual interest, as well as a place to develop college-level skills of critical thinking, both reading and writing. The development of such skills is a central feature of first-year seminars.

In Practice: Drafting, Writing, and Research

All first-year seminars involve frequent writing practice, individualized feedback on writing, and an assignment structure that teaches students how to draft and revise. Additionally, the seminars provide both an introduction to library research and an overview of the expectations of academic honesty and citing sources. This opportunity to learn and practice academic writing is both an independent goal of first-year seminars and an additional means through which faculty can introduce their discipline and help students to engage with a particular subject.

Adventures in Neuroscience. Fictions of Freedom. Personal Identity. Weapons of the Weak. Crime and Punishment. Bowdoin encourages you to select a seminar that piques your curiosity, even if it doesn't align with your intended major. 

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