First-Year Programs

WashU students are fearless. Dive into your first year and make the most of every opportunity.

At WashU, you can find the opportunities and support to make the most of your first year and beyond. 

The College offers four types of programs. You can choose an Ampersand Program that spans two or more semesters, or one of the three other programs that last for just one semester, including First-Year Seminars, First-Year Opportunities, and Beyond Boundaries courses. 

With so many options, you can study something you're already excited about or try something totally new. Delve into a topic for several semesters or dive into one just for the fall. 

All of these programs are optional, fulfill degree requirements, and and are a unique opportunity to make the most of your first year at WashU. 

 

types of first-year programs

Ampersand Programs are small, multi-semester programs that can involve fieldwork, research, or international travel in order to give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore a topic you are passionate about.

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First-Year Seminars are small, one-semester seminars that cover just about any topic you can imagine.

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First-Year Opportunities are 1 to 2 credit courses that supplement other classes and add a little bit more breadth or depth to your first-year studies.

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The one-semester Beyond Boundaries interdisciplinary courses cross not just departments in Arts & Sciences, but the entire university.

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Ampersand Programs

Ampersand Programs are small, multi-semester programs that can involve fieldwork, research, or international travel in order to give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore a topic you are passionate about.

Explore the Programs Here

how to apply

The application process for first-year programs and seminars opens May 13, 2020 at noon (CT). You will need your WUSTL Key to apply, so please be sure to sign up for your WUSTL Key by May 12, 2020.

First-Year Seminars 

Feeling curious and ready for adventure, but not sure you want to spend multiple semesters on any one topic? There are dozens of one-semester seminars that cover just about any topic you can imagine from across Arts & Sciences. Enrollment in these seminars is first come first served and limited. 

Find of a list of this year's First-Year Seminars here

Beyond Boundaries 

The one-semester Beyond Boundaries interdisciplinary courses cross not just departments in Arts & Sciences, but the entire university. They break down barries between disciplines for a more holistic experience, while still offering what all our First-Year Programs provide: exposure to new concepts and people; opportunities to learn from some of the world's leading scholars across a spectrum of disciplines; and, well, fun. 

Find Out More

First-Year Opportunities

Don't have much time in your schedule, but want to take advantage of these unique opportunities? We also have one- or two-credit courses that supplement other classes and add a little bit more breadth or depth to your first-year studies. Here are the First-Year Opportunity courses to be taught this year:

  • Neuroscience Futures 1: How do we learn about the brain?
    Biology and Biomedical Sciences; L61 FYP 1710
    In this seminar course for first-year students, students learn about how neurobiologists conduct and communicate research. We focus our discussion on primary research papers written by WUSTL neurobiologists, who visit the class to present their work. 

  • The Biology of Dog Breeds
    Biology and Biomedical Sciences; L61 FYP 1770
    This freshman seminar uses the topic of dog behavior and genetics to teach fundamental scientific tools and to engage students in contributing to the building of an online public resource that summarizes the scientific literature on breeds.

  • Introduction to Cutting-Edge Research in Biology
    Biology and Biomedical Sciences; L61 FYP 181
    A lecture course intended for first-year students that focuses on the practice and culture of biological research. Active researchers describe the biological context of their research, the specific questions they have formulated, the means by which they pursue the answers, and their data and conclusions.

  • Research and Conservation in Zoos and Botanical Garden
    Biology and Biomedical Sciences; L61 FYP 1811
    An introduction to the world of zoos and botanical gardens. Students will learn of the diverse and cutting-edge ways in which scientists and conservationists study the world's biological diversity and work to conserve it.

  • Applications in Chemistry
    Chemistry; L61 FYP 1810
    A weekly lecture by a chemistry faculty member, or other scientist from academia or industry, on their current research activities. The goal is to provide students with a sampling of current research activities dealing with fundamental an applied problems in science and society that are being approached from a chemical point of view.

  • Contemporary Issues in Psychology
    Psychological and Brain Sciences; L61 FYP 102
    This seminar will enable students enrolled in Introduction to Psychology (Psych 100B) to explore in greater depth several of the ideas and concepts in contemporary psychology.

  • Psychology of Young Adulthood
    Psychological and Brain Sciences; L61 FYP 105
    This course will cover selected topics relevant to the developmental, social, personal, and cognitive issues confronting young adults during their college years. Material will be drawn mainly from the field of psychology, and the emphasis will be on the scientific basis of concepts and on empirically supported strategies for growth and development.

  • Real Mathematical Applications: Solving Problems with Calculus I
    Mathematics; L61 FYP 139A
    The purpose of the course is to show how mathematics can solve real world problems, and how calculus dramatically expands the range of problems that can be tackled. 

  • The Meanginful Life
    General Studies; L43 225 01
    Who am I? Where am I going? How can I make the most out of my college experience? This course creates an opportunity for students in the first-year community to reflect on the influences that shaped them and the priorities that drive their decisions now.