First Year Seminar

First Year Seminars provide students with an introduction to the nature and meaning of higher education and to the functions and resources of the University. Students in the class gain insights and develop tools that allow them to get the most out of their university education at Sacramento State. The seminars also provide students with the opportunity to interact with fellow students and the seminar leader, building a community of academic and personal support. Students who have taken the course do better academically than the general student population.

This introductory course satisfies the Area E General Education requirement. The course is listed under individual department names with the added designation of 21. For example, COMS 21 (Communication Studies) is a First Year Seminar, with specific information relevant to each major covered in more detail. Some of the First Year Seminars are stand-alone courses while others are part of a learning community.

The First Year Seminar is a 3 unit General Education (GE) Area E course where students explore the requirements and responsibilities of becoming a university educated person. Most FYS were paired with another course in the Learning Community, while the rest of FYS were “stand alone” (i.e. not paired with another course in a learning community).

Each First Year Seminar course shares the following characteristics:

  • Small class sizes (capped at 25; lower cap for certain sections) to meet the needs of incoming first year students
  • Use of the campus One Book for a common intellectual experience, common course description and learning goals, common class activities, assignments, and assessments aligned with Baccalaureate Learning Goals and GE Area E requirement
  • Support for faculty to implement effective curricular activities (assignment descriptions, guest speaker lists, assessments, rubrics, all available online on SacCT/Blackboard)
  • Opportunities for faculty professional development around teaching, learning and FYE programmatic research through an annual Convocation, annual curriculum workshop, and periodic faculty interest groups
  • Support for embedding co-curricular activities (funding, coordination), including High Impact Practices
  • Taught by both faculty and student affairs professionals, indicating the collaborative cross-divisional nature of the program
  • Students learn how to access academic & personal support resources 


First Year Seminar schedule for fall term