CAS Seminars (2016 - 2018)
The first-year seminars (FYS), required of all entering CAS freshmen (and open only to them), aim to put students into contact with leading thinkers (both distinguished faculty members and eminent visitors), to introduce them to important subjects, to challenge them intellectually through rigorous standards of analysis and oral and written argumentation, and to prepare them to conduct their own research. To that end, the first-year seminars stress demanding readings and writing assignments that introduce students to an essential research skill—such as a literature review, quantitative reasoning, critical use of primary sources, the identification of a research problem, critical analysis of texts, or confrontations with works of art. In addition to participating actively in class discussions, students are often expected to give oral presentations in class. A final paper will typically, though not always, have gone through one or more revisions, perhaps revised with the benefit of in-class comments. In other first-year seminars, the focus may be on individual or group projects.
Any CAS student who does not complete this graduation requirement as a freshman is still responsible for it, and must either (1) take an advanced honors seminar upon completion of at least 32 credits at NYU (see below) or (2) choose a reading- and writing-intensive course in any CAS department (ideally a small class designated as a seminar; it cannot be a course in the College Core Curriculum or in one’s major or minor). Either way, the student must file a petition with the Committee on Undergraduate Academic Standards requesting the substitution; petition forms are available at cas.nyu.edu/page/petitions or in the Office of the Associate Dean for Students, Silver Center, Room 909; 212-998-8140.
Advanced Honors Seminars
The advanced honors seminar (AHS) program extends the principles and approach of the first-year seminars to upper-level courses. These courses aim to put undergraduates into contact with leading thinkers (drawn not only from the College’s faculty but also from NYU’s professional schools and from among New York’s professional, cultural, and governmental leaders), to introduce them to important subjects, to challenge them intellectually through demanding standards of analysis and oral and written argumentation, and to prepare them to conduct their own research (for example, a Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund grant or a senior honors thesis).
In some instances, students may count an advanced honors seminar toward their major or minor, if the department considers this appropriate; in other cases, these seminars count as electives. Sophomores and juniors typically have priority in registering for advanced honors seminars; seniors may register if space permits. Students must have completed at least 32 credits at NYU to register for an AHS.
First-year and advanced honors seminars are offered in both the fall and spring terms, although most FYS offerings are in the fall and most AHS offerings are in the spring.
Seminars are capped at 16 to 18 students. The students from two first-year seminars are grouped together into an advising “cohort” of 32 to 36 students, who meet as a group with their CAS adviser several times during the freshman year.
The selection of seminars changes from year to year. Students may find the most up-to-date offerings and descriptions at cas.nyu.edu/page/honorsprograms.