Learning Objectives

This page summarizes the learning objectives of the Core Program. The First-Year Seminar (FYS) program is the signature component of the College's general education program.

FYS Mission

The mission of the FYS (First-Year Seminar) program is to prepare all first-year students for success at Occidental College. In FYS courses, students engage in shared intellectual experiences that develop effective college-level writing and enhance critical thinking. FYS courses also assist students with the transition to college and include an introduction to scholarly inquiry and information literacy.

FYS Designation Criteria

FYS courses are only open to students who are in their first-year at the College. FYS courses will be capped at a number (typically 16 students) which is smaller than almost every other introductory 100-level class at the College. FYS courses do not satisfy any other Core Program requirement.

FYS Semester Emphasis

Fall: In addition to the primary goals of all FYS courses to develop effective college-level writing and enhance critical thinking, Fall FYS courses pay attention to and provide assistance with navigating the transition to college life; the writing focus is creation of multiple thesis-driven essays.

Spring: In addition to the primary goals of all FYS courses to develop effective college-level writing and enhance critical thinking, Spring FYS courses center scholarly inquiry and research that includes an introduction to information literacy; the writing focus is the production of a long (10-12 pages) research paper.

Information about Core Program Requirements

The Core Program is a cross-disciplinary array of courses required of all students providing the intellectual foundation for Occidental's commitment to excellence, equity, service, and community. Below you can find out more information about all of the Core Program requirements.