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As the first step in our undergraduate curriculum, your First-Year Intensive (FYI) course builds the intellectual, social, and emotional foundations you need to thrive at Clark and beyond.

Typically limited to 16 students, FYI courses let you begin your Clark career by developing close relationships with a professor and group of peers who share your interests. Your FYI professor will likely be your academic adviser until you declare a major, and will help you navigate your transition from high school to college.

You can choose from more than 30 different courses, which change from year to year. No matter which FYI you take, you’ll learn in a supportive, welcoming environment and you’ll build crucial skills — including critical thinking, writing, and debating — that will increase your confidence and success in other courses.

We offer three types of FYIs:

  1. Topic-focused. Some FYI courses focus in-depth on a specific topic within an academic discipline, such as history, philosophy, music, education, etc. Others stretch across disciplines, addressing social issues or intellectual debates from multiple perspectives. Example: Middle East Politics
  2. Research-oriented. In this type of FYI course, you get a taste of what it’s like to add new knowledge to a field — from framing a question to gathering and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and presenting findings. Example: Border Crossings: Narratives of Travel, Exile, and Immigration
  3. Introduction to a discipline. Some FYI courses serve as introductions to specific disciplines, and potentially to your major area of study. These courses may be a prerequisite to higher-level courses. Example: Introduction to Chemistry.

Depending on what major you’re considering, your FYI can be an opportunity to get started early on its requirements. While Clark does not require you to take an introductory course in your intended major as your First-Year Intensive, you may choose to do so, depending on the major’s requirements outlined in its catalog description.

You may choose to pursue a course in a topic you already have a passion for, or you might prefer a course that will introduce you to an entirely new subject. Keep an open mind as you read course descriptions and identify your top three to five choices. When you meet with your summer adviser in July, you will select an FYI as one of your fall courses.

A few additional guidelines:

  • If you select a course that carries a VE (verbal expression) designation, you must have been placed at the VE level required to register for this course. Your VE level is determined by your writing sample.
  • You may register for only one FYI.
  • Given the small class size, many courses fill up quickly. You should have several backups in mind — and register early — to have the best chance of securing your first choice.