Every Brandeis education is fueled by exploration, imagination, inquiry, creativity and participation in our diverse community.
The first-year experience fosters all these ways of learning. In your first-year experience, you will engage with new disciplinary perspectives and diverse ideas through writing and argumentation — building skills to nurture all that you do here, and beyond.
University Writing Seminar and Critical Conversations
The University Writing Seminar is where you hone your academic writing skills through studying rhetoric, text and readings. It’s where, right away, you encounter fascinating ideas and perspectives.
Ever wondered what attracts people to each other? There’s a seminar for that: “Darwinian Dating: The Evolution of Human Attraction.” Or maybe you’re fascinated by “Utopias/Dystopias” or “(Un)Natural Art,” to name just a few topics. The required University Seminar is an opportunity for first-years to explore new ideas collaboratively.
As part of the University Seminar, you will attend at least one Critical Conversation, a moderated faculty discussion about a specific theme. Consider it an introduction to scholarly discourse. How do faculty engage the world (and each other)? Your University Seminar will follow the Critical Conversation with further discussion, writing and experiential learning activities.
- Use writing and discussion to work through and interpret complex ideas from readings and other texts (visual, musical, verbal).
- Critically analyze your own and others’ choices regarding language and form.
- Engage in multiple modes of inquiry using texts (field research, library, web).
- Incorporate significant research into writing that engages a question for a research-based essay.
- Use writing to support textual interpretations; understand that there are multiple textual interpretations.