Freshman Interest Groups
Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs), which take place only in autumn quarter, are groups of freshmen who sign up for preset clusters of courses. The 20 to 25 new UW freshmen in each FIG have similar academic interests and, since they share the same cluster of courses for their first quarter, will get to know each other. This community provides a supportive and friendly learning environment — a great way to start at the UW. About 70% of entering freshmen enroll in a FIG in their first quarter.
At the FIG website you can search for open FIGs in a number of different ways. You can search for FIGs that include a particular course you want to take, or you can search for FIGs that include a type of course, such as humanities of social sciences. There are also some "theme" FIGs, including residential FIGs, service-learning FIGs, and multicultural FIGs.
All FIGs include GEN ST 199, a 2-credit course with an experienced undergraduate "FIG leader," designed to assist you in your transition to UW life.
FIGs consist of two or three courses plus the GEN ST 199, and range from 12 to 17 credits. Some students add another course to the FIG, particularly the 12-credit FIGs, while others choose to make the FIG their entire course schedule. The maximum number of credits you can register for before the first day of the quarter is 19. We strongly recommend that new students take no more than three courses plus the GEN ST 199.
Freshman Seminars: General Studies 197
Like its upper-division counterparts, a Freshman Seminar is a discussion-oriented course that enrolls only ten to fifteen students per seminar and is usually led by a faculty or staff member, teaching on a topic of his or her choice. All Freshman Seminars are graded credit/no credit; most are one credit and meet once each week.
There are several advantages to enrolling in a Freshman Seminar:
- Make connections with faculty, many of whom are respected experts in their fields
- Experience the benefits of a more personal learning environment in your first year
- Explore different fields of study in a low-pressure academic setting
- Meet students with similar academic interests
The current list of seminars is available at the Freshman Seminars website.
Freshmen Seminars are intended for freshmen. If space is available at the end of registration, it may be possible for other students to enroll. Also, if you are a first-year student at the UW, but are classified as a sophomore or junior because of AP or Running Start credits, you can still sign up for a Freshman Seminar. Contact an adviser.
You are allowed to earn up to 3 total credits of General Studies 197. In other words, you can take more than one seminar. For example, you could take a different Freshman Seminar in all three quarters of your freshman year.
Residential Freshman Interest Groups
The Residential FIG program builds upon the strength of our regular Freshman Interest Group program by providing students with a unique first year living-learning experience. Like a FIG, a Residential FIG offers a pre-packaged cluster of freshman courses along with General Studies 199, the University Community, which is designed to assist students' transition into the University.
However, whereas a FIG involves only courses, students in a Residential FIG all live in Lander Hall, the First Year Experience Hall, which they share with non-FIG students. Residential FIGs provide social and academic support to bolster success during the first year at UW. Each FIG has a Residential FIG leader who is an advanced undergraduate student available to help form study groups, assist with registration, provide advising services and direct you to campus resources.
Whether it's learning about global warming, crime scene forensics or how to write your own autobiography, these intensive, five-credit, month-long classes are designed to smooth the transition between high school and college as well as give you a jump start on Autumn quarter. Discovery Seminar classes are one-time, special offerings covering an exciting range of topics, from "CSI: Seattle" to "Digital Expression" to "Who were the 'First Americans?'". All count toward UW's General Education Requirements, and enroll only 25 students.
Discovery Seminars are offered from late August to mid-September each year. See the Discovery Seminar website for details.