Before You Declare, Discover

First Year of Studies 

First Year of Studies challenges you to explore approaches to the world that you’ve never considered before. You might enter with plans to be an architect and end up pursuing a career in graphic design—or you could encounter diverse perspectives that help you refine your original career plans. Notre Dame faculty serve as your advisors throughout the process, helping you find academic opportunities that fit your goals and needs.  

By the end of spring semester of the first year, all Notre Dame students must complete:

One University Seminar

With classes capped at 18 students and categories ranging from fine arts to philosophy, this small, writing-intensive learning environment will give you the chance to explore a passion in-depth or discover a new one.

One Writing and Rhetoric Course

Choose from three Writing and Rhetoric courses, where you’ll explore conflicting viewpoints around a topic; Community-Based Writing and Rhetoric, in which you can serve for 10-15 hours in the local community; or Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric, where you’ll learn to analyze blogs, wikis, and videos.

Two Semesters of Mathematics

Mathematics is a critical component of a liberal arts education—and a solid understanding of math offers a competitive edge in the marketplace, regardless of your major.  

Two Semesters of a Science or Foreign Language

From chemistry and biology to Arabic and Spanish, you can choose the courses most relevant to your academic goals.

Moreau First-Year Experience Course

This course is required of all first-year students. It is designed to assist students through the transition to the undergraduate experience and the holistic formation of the student within the educational mission of the University. The focus is on health and wholeness, cultural competency, academic success, spiritual development, and personal discernment.

One Additional University Requirement

Select an additional course from the aforementioned categories.

Two Program Requirements or Electives

Enroll in two courses offered in your intended area of study and get a taste of what the next three years will hold.  

At the end of First Year Studies, you’ll have a better understanding of yourself, of Notre Dame, and of the path you should take to achieve your goals