First Year Academic Program

First-Year Seminars, Foundational Humanities Courses & Foreign Language Study

First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars are an opportunity for students to explore an engaging topic or question in a small-class format that draws on writing, discussion, critical thinking and academic research.

First-Year Seminars emphasize frequent writing, close examination of texts, rigorous analysis and reasoning, and information literacy. The seminars may be rooted in individual disciplines or may be interdisciplinary in nature.

Recent First-Year Seminars Include:

  • Boston Buildings: Inside and Out (Art History)
  • From CSI to Lockup: Myths and Realities (Criminology)
  • Zombie Economics: Views from Dead Economists (Economics)
  • Machine Culture: Our Technology, Ourselves (English)
  • Gods, Souls, and Bodies (Philosophy)
  • Pilgrimage and Passage: Religion as “Sacred” Journey (Religious Studies)
  • Lovin’ it? A Sociology of McDonald’s & Everyday Life (Sociology)
  • Sports Rivalries: Who Wins? (Writing)

Foundational Humanities Courses

First-year students also take a sequence of foundational humanities courses:

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Foreign Languages
  • Literature
  • Religious Studies

Foundational humanities courses develop students’ critical thinking skills and sharpen their ability to read and write critically, to formulate compelling questions suitable for intellectual inquiry, and to distinguish between critical argumentation, statements of opinion and summary.

Foreign Language Study

In most cases, First-Year students also complete a year of foreign language study, experiencing the diversity of human culture. Foreign language study is an essential part of a well-rounded liberal arts education, strengthening students’ communication skills, deepening their scholarly ability, preparing them for study abroad and broadening their cultural horizons in a global age.

Foreign language study at Stonehill means more than simply developing language skills. It incorporates five essential dimensions:

  • Communication
  • Cultures
  • Connections
  • Comparisons
  • Communities