University Seminar

Arabic Class

First-year University Seminar courses, or USEMs, are taught by some of Notre Dame’s finest scholars, members of our faculty who are leaders in their fields and passionate about their subjects. These courses exemplify the core values of a Notre Dame liberal education and mark a first step toward the goal of “intellectual excellence.”

With a class size of no more than 18 people, this small, writing-intensive learning environment will engage you in meaningful discussions with your instructor and peers, introduce you to the rich tapestry of theory and research within a field, and show you some of the problems and issues involved in that discipline. 

Each University Seminar requires students to write a minimum of 24 pages on a subject with the benefit of feedback from a leading scholar in the field and the chance to rewrite at least one paper. 

USEMs are organized in categories that align with many of the Areas of Study or Ways of Knowing. Regardless of which core curriculum you fall under, a University Seminar course may be double-counted to fulfill both the USEM requirement and one of the other requirements. For example, the Contemporary Education Issues course counts as both a USEM and a social science. Japanese Ghost Stories counts as both a USEM and a literature course.  

Every first-year student must complete a USEM, which may be taken in either the fall or spring semester. Work with your First Year of Studies advisor to select a course that fits your interests.