Carnegie Mellon University

First-Year Seminar Program

The Dietrich College First-Year Seminar Program is designed to give new Dietrich College undergraduate students an intellectually exciting, first-year introduction to the research and teaching interests of the faculty. They are also intended to support first-year students through their transition from high school to college instruction. To these ends they are defined as intimate (15-17 student) learning communities led by a faculty instructor who is expert in the course topic and invested in helping students gain the skills and confidence they need in order to be successful students in humanities and social sciences. 


  • To give students an early sample of the rich array of faculty research interests and expertise.
  • To introduce students to the mastery of particular areas of disciplinary knowledge that we expect from our students in the college.
  • To provide coaching to students in the co-curricular skills endemic to successful study in the college. These include productive and effective oral expression in the classroom; taking notes; reading course materials carefully; understanding and following assignments; seeking appropriate help from instructors; introductory information about libraries and library usage; and effective written expression for an academic class.
  • To facilitate students’ access to the support services available to them on campus, including Student Affairs, Counseling, Student Health Services, tutoring services, and support for international students. This facilitation could take many forms, from formal presentations by representatives from these service units, to referrals, to the informal giving of information.
  • To enrich the students’ first experience at Carnegie Mellon with events and activities that give learning a more social dimension. These may take many different forms, from informal lunches with faculty, to bringing in guests, to attending community events such as museum exhibits, musical and theatrical performances, or “field-trips” to near-by locales of relevance to the course content.
For a current list of Dietrich College first-year seminars, visit the General Education web site.