US 101 US - First-Year Seminar

To graduate from MSU, every student is required to take a core University Seminar (US) course. University Studies offers approximately 45 sections of the US 101US every year, each designed to engage first-year students as critical thinkers.

University Seminar Core Mission and Learning Outcomes

Courses with University Seminar (US) core designation are primarily intended for first-year students throughout all curricula to provide a platform for collegiate level discourse.  Activities that hone written and oral communication skills are universally incorporated, but themes represented in individual US core courses vary considerably to reflect the department or program from which the course originates.  All US core courses are small in size and rely heavily on seminar-style teaching where course content is delivered by discussion and interaction rather than by lecture.  This learning environment promotes vibrant interactions between first-year students, a faculty member, and in many courses, a more experienced student fellow or peer leader.  US core courses provide a venue where students can enjoy rigorous academic discussions that promote criticalthinking, learning, and understanding in a supportive and truly collegiate manner.

Through completion of the US Core students will

  • Demonstrate critical thinking abilities
  • Prepare and deliver an effective oral presentation
  • Demonstrate analytical, critical, and creative thinking in written communication

OverviewPhoto of Student

In US 101US, our discussion-intensive format incorporates academic reading and writing while challenging students to explore their own ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Speaking assignments boost students' self-confidence and help them become college-level communicators of their ideas.

Research has shown that first-year seminar courses significantly enhance students' ability to succeed in college. The course is also designed to convey the excitement and possibilities of the learning experience at MSU.

Personalized interaction with faculty, staff, and fellow students will help you understand the responsibilities and rewards that are part of a university education.

If you would like more information about the course, please call or send us an e-mail.

To meet our Peer Leaders click here.


Curriculum for US 101US: University Studies First-Year Seminar (Fall 2014)

University Studies First-Year Seminar (US 101US) is a discussion-based course designed to create a supportive environment to help students take an active role in their education. It is a small class, and it is a seminar class. This means that it is student-centered and student-driven. As an interdisciplinary course, US 101US is not about content-delivery. It is about offering opportunities for students to pursue meaningful answers to important, provocative questions:

What is my place in the world? What is my place at MSU, and in this classroom? What is my place in this ecosystem? What is my place in this society?

Place and Identity. Each of these questions refers to this concept, and the texts that are examined in this course address these questions in direct and indirect ways.

Reading list:

Fuller, Alexandra. The Legend of Colton H. Bryant. New York: Penguin Books, 2008. Print.

Plato. “Apology” and “Crito.” Last Days of Socrates. London: Penguin Books, 2003. Print.

Yousafzai, Malala, and Christina Lamb. I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban.

        New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013. Print.

Various essays, academic journal articles, Native American poetry, and meditative writings.