The Freshman Seminar Program was inaugurated in 1959 as an innovative curricular experiment, and formally established by a vote of the faculty in 1963. Its goal is to provide a set of course offerings that foster intimate and engaging interaction between incoming students and members of the faculty. The atmosphere in a freshman seminar is uniquely collegial and participatory, offering a superb opportunity for shared learning with dedicated instructors and like-minded peers. As such, freshman seminars have been frequently described as one of Harvard's best intellectual experiences. Because they are meticulously designed with a first-year audience in mind and are not letter-graded, freshman seminars are an ideal setting to explore potential concentrations or to discover new areas of interest without the pressure of grades and other departmental requirements.
Our program catalog introduces the wide variety of topics and disciplines that may be explored by enrolling in freshman seminars. In 2016-17, we offer an extraordinary range of 146 seminars, taught by some of Harvard's most distinguished faculty from every corner of the University. There is probably no better way to explore new interests, or expand on existing passions, than by enrolling in a freshman seminar.