Frequently Asked Questions

May I take auditors?

No, a freshman seminar is a small, limited enrollment course that may not be audited.

Are there waiting lists for seminars?

No. All seminars with openings are posted on our website after the algorithm is run, and we encourage freshmen to email you directly for placement in your seminar. You may accept or decline additional students at your discretion until the Course Registration Deadline.

How is admission to a Freshman Seminar determined?

All freshmen may apply to as many seminars as they wish, although they may enroll in only one seminar per semester. Seminar placement is ultimately done by a matching algorithm that is run after all applications have been submitted. However, different factors influence the algorithm’s outcome: instructors can select or deny students based on their essays and other relevant information; and student rankings and preferences are also taken into consideration.

Do freshmen evaluate my seminar?

We invite all instructors to participate in FAS Course Evaluations regardless of class size, including seminars with enrollments of five or fewer students.

How do I grade my seminar? When is my grade sheet due?

A freshman seminar is always graded SAT/UNS only. It may not be audited. The grade of Satisfactory includes letter grades from A to C-. The grade of Unsatisfactory represents work below C- and is considered a failing grade. Students who neglect the work of the seminar or who do not perform satisfactorily will be excluded from the seminar and/or denied credit. We also ask that you submit midterm grades when you receive a prompt to do so from the Registrar's Office, about six weeks into the term. The final grade sheet is always due via the online grading portal on the date specified by the FAS... Read more about How do I grade my seminar? When is my grade sheet due?

How late may I set the due date for the final assignment? May I grant a freshman an extension?

All assignments must be scheduled with due dates prior to the start of the Final Examination period. Final papers, take-home exams, projects, presentations, and other culminating course assignments may be due after the end of regular classes on or before the day of each seminar’s assigned Exam/Final Deadline Group. This date can be found in the seminar listing in the online My.Harvard course catalog.

Final projects that include individual or group presentations may be scheduled only after the fourth day of Reading Period and may extend...

Read more about How late may I set the due date for the final assignment? May I grant a freshman an extension?

Do freshman seminars meet during Reading Period?

Classes may not be held during Reading Period unless the make-up class is due to weather or other emergencies. But Sections and review sessions may take place during Reading Period as long as there is no new material presented.

Who do I ask about copyright issues?

If faculty have any copyright questions in relation to their Freshman Seminar, there is a program in the library especially designed to help with those questions: the Copyright First Responders. Emily Bell, Research Librarian in Lamont Library, can be reached through emilybell@fas.harvard.edu or phone, 617-496-9988. The Copyright First Responders have received in-depth training to be able to answer exactly these kind of questions.

How do I reserve library books or post online course packs?

Requests for reserves should be done through the Canvas course website. Lamont Library is the undergraduate library where books for seminars may be put on reserve. Harvard College Library Research Services also provides customized library classes and/or web-based library research guides developed in collaboration with freshman seminar faculty. Please contact Sarah DeMott, Research Librarian, Harvard College Library (sarah_demott@harvard.edu or 617-496-4226) with any questions about library services for freshman seminars.