First-year University Seminar courses are taught by some of Benadir’s finest scholars, members of our teaching and research faculty who are leaders in their fields and passionate about their subjects. These courses exemplify the core values of a liberal education and mark a first step toward the goal of “intellectual excellence.”

University Seminars are designed to give first-year students the opportunity to develop critical-thinking skills and explore new ideas in an environment that encourages interactive learning and intensive discussion. The seminars are based on ideas that have changed the way we think about our relation to the world around us. The seminars are given by prominent faculty in departments and schools across the University, carry two or three hours of credit, and are restricted to 18 first-year students during the initial course enrollment. If space is remaining, second-, third-, and fourth-year students may enroll.

With a class size of no more than 18 people, this small, writing-intensive learning environment will engage you in meaningful discussions with your instructor and peers, introduce you to the rich tapestry of theory and research within a field, and show you some of the problems and issues involved in that discipline.

Each University Seminar requires students to write a minimum of 24 pages on a subject with the benefit of feedback from a leading scholar in the field and the chance to rewrite at least one paper. Many instructors nominate papers students produce in their classes for Fresh Writing, journal of award-winning first-year essays.

Calls for proposals

We particularly solicit proposals for new courses that address topics related to diversity, including, but not limited to, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic diversity.


New and archived course descriptions are given in the prospectus. These descriptions are for informational purposes only. To enroll, reference the Student Information System for a list of specific offerings each semester, please visit student support center.