The First-Year Program includes a series of first-year courses and activities designed to enrich your classroom learning and foster connections between your academic and extracurricular worlds. The First-Year Program begins with orientation and a variety of events during Welcome Week. At orientation you will meet faculty who will help you to think about your education as an interdisciplinary and independent venture. To help you settle into NYU and Gallatin, orientation also includes many social activities, informal discussions, and other opportunities to help you make new friends and become familiar with NYU and the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood.
First-year students (as well as transfer students who enter with fewer than 32 credits) take three courses that constitute the First-Year Program: the first-year interdisciplinary seminar, first-year writing seminar and first-year research seminar. The First-Year Interdisciplinary Seminar introduces students to the goals, methods, and philosophy of university education and to the interdisciplinary, individualized approach of the Gallatin School. These small classes of about 18 students encourage discussion rather than lecturing and focus on a theme—"The Ancient Hero and the Heroic"; "The Thingliness of Things"; "Capitalism and Democracy"— that incorporates significant world texts representing several disciplines.
The first-year writing seminar and first-year research seminar constitute a two-semester sequence intended to help students develop their writing and research skills and to prepare them for the kinds of writing they will be doing in their other courses. Rather than attribute the success of excellent writing to a writer’s innate gifts or to some mysterious moment of inspiration, these seminars approach writing as a craft that can be learned by acquiring the skills appropriate for each stage in the writing process (free writing, drafting, revising, polishing). Each seminar is organized around a particular theme—"Aesthetics on Trial"; "Wilderness and Civilization"; "Art and the Dream Life"—with related readings that serve both as springboards for discussion and models for students’ own essays. Usually, the writing seminar begins with personal and descriptive essays and proceeds to focus on the critical essay. A significant portion of the research seminar is devoted to working on a long research paper, with attention to formulating key questions, choosing and evaluating sources, developing a thesis, structuring the argument as a whole and revising and polishing the final paper.