Welcome, Class of 2021!

We're here to help you get started.

Welcome to Washington University in St. Louis and the College of Arts & Sciences! We are so excited to have you here. The College believes that a full life is an intellectual, moral, and creative endeavor of meaning and purpose and we are here to help you begin that journey. As you get ready to come to campus, here are some important choices to consider:

Designing Your Course Path for the First Year

Freshman Seminars & Special First-Year Programs

Open only to first-year students, these seminars and programs are small classes that allow you to work closely with a professor and your new classmates. Explore an area of potential interest or try something totally new—and they'll count toward your distribution requirements for the College’s IQ Curriculum.

More Information on First-Year Programs Applications

Register for Classes

There are so many great courses to choose from! Before you meet with your advisor, you can sign up for Freshman Seminars and Special First-Year Programs and begin to think about what classes you would like for the fall through Registration 101. The Arts & Sciences curriculum emphasizes breadth, flexibility, and individuality. Other than your first-year writing requirement, there are no classes you have to take. Explore!

Registration Options

Only One Required Class

All students in Arts & Sciences must fulfill the first-year writing requirement – but there are still options! The traditional path is College Writing 1, but two alternative classes are being offered this year: What is Justice? and Writing Identity. These are hybrid classes where all students attend a lecture followed by two small-group writing classes that probe deeper into lecture topics and develop writing skills. Students who have taken AP English Literature or Composition (or their IB equivalent) are especially encouraged to enroll. You may sign up for your writing course in addition to your choice of first-year programs or seminars.

Writing Options

Activate your WUSTL Key

You MUST have activated your WUSTL Key AND your @wustl.edu email to get started at WashU. An email was sent to you from registrarwustlkey@email.wustl.edu with instructions on how to activate your WUSTL Key. If you have not received this email please contact the University Registrar’s office at registrarwustlkey@email.wustl.edu or 314-935-5959.

Activate Today

First-Year Academic Programs

Now that you're a part of the Arts & Sciences community at Washington University, you have an array of special program options to enhance your first-year academic experience. These programs and seminar classes delve deeply into vexing questions in disciplines across Arts and Sciences and offer students a change to develop meaningful relationships with faculty and peers in their first year. While optional, first-year programs and seminars are strongly encouraged and are a great way to start exploring a major or to try something new and exciting as all of the courses fulfill distribution requirements.

If you have questions regarding the First-Year Programs application process, please contact Sarah Longo.

2017 First-Year Programs and Seminars

Complete course descriptions and course times can be found in the online course listings.


L41 2010 – The Science of Biotechnology
L61 103B and 1503 – Global Citizenship Program
L48 141 – Medicine and Society
L96 122 – Mind, Brain, and Behavior
L93 201C and 203C – Text and Tradition


L61 2811 – Focus: Literary Culture of Modern Ireland
L61 215 – Focus: Theater as a Living Art
L61 2850 – Focus: The History, Memory, and Representation of the Holocaust
L61 1910 – Focus: Phage Hunters
L61 2431– Focus: Missouri's Natural Heritage


I50 101 – Earth's Future: Causes and Consequences of Global Climate Change
I50 123 – When I'm Sixty-Four: Transforming Your Future
I50 130 – The Art of Medicine
I50 141 – The Digital Society
I50 175 – Designing Creativity (additional information)

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES (1 and 2 unit courses)

L07 181 – Freshman Seminar in Chemistry
L24 139A – Real Mathematical Applications: Solving Problems with Calculus I
L33 102 – Seminar: Introduction to Psychology
L33 105 – Psychology of Young Adulthood: College Years
L33 111 – Mindfulness: Science and Practice
L41 1770 – The Biology of Dog Breeds
L41 171 – Neuroscience Futures 1: How do we learn about the brain?
L41 181 – Freshman Seminar in Biology
L43 121 – Freshman Seminar: Researching Research


L08 137 – Freshman Seminar: The Emperor Nero: Prince, Monster, Artist
L14 100 – The Literary Life
L14 154 – Literature Seminar for Freshmen: Literature and Politics
L14 166 – Literature Seminar for Freshmen: Friendship
L14 171 – Literature Seminar for Freshmen: Literature, Spirituality, and Religion
L19 104 – Freshman Seminar: Geology in the Field
L19 105 – Freshman Seminar: Habitable Planets
L22 2118 – Freshman Seminar: Angels, Prostitutes and Chicas Modernas: Women in Latin American History
L22 2443 – Freshman Seminar: The Nuremberg Trials and International Justice
L23 180 – Freshman Seminar: Sexuality in Early Christianity
L41 112 – Freshman Seminar: Introduction to Problem-Based Learning in Biology
L41 1260 – The Secret Lives of Plants
L43 126 – Freshman Seminar: Law and Society
L43 160 – The Tyson Seminar: Grounding Research in Nature
L43 1801 – Freshman Seminar: Medieval and Renaissance Venice
L53 114 – Freshman Seminar: Science Fiction Literature & Film: A Contrast in Hyper-imaginative Media
L53 120 – Freshman Seminar: Horror Across Media
L75 180 – Freshman Seminar: Jewcy: Jewish Culture in the 21st Century
L82 122 – A&S Freshman Seminar - A Sense of Place: Discovering the Environment of St. Louis
L90 178 – Imagining and Creating Africa: Youth, Culture, and Change
L90 188 – Freshman Seminar: Self & Identity in African American Literature
L93 171 – Freshman Seminar: Class and Class Struggle
L97 155 – Freshman Seminar: Mapping the World: Introduction to Human Geography

Garth Hallberg

I remember meeting with Naomi Lebowitz and Michael Sherberg. We talked about poetry, and I can recall Naomi waving her arms as we discussed Whitman. It was the high point of my intellectual life to that point . . . That feeling continued once I got here. I was suddenly surrounded by brilliant professors and smart, hardworking students who liked talking about big ideas. And because we weren’t on the East or West Coast, no one was too-cool-for-school or keeping score. Everyone just wanted to participate.

―Garth Risk Hallberg, LA'01Writer