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Clark University students smiling outside Jonas Clark Hall

FIRST-YEAR INTENSIVE COURSES

We designed First-Year Intensive courses to challenge the way you look at the world and to introduce you to college-level academics. The majority of these courses focus in-depth on a specific topic, but you may also enroll in a special section of an introductory course or one that focuses on a particular research project. Each First-Year Intensive course will fulfill one of Clark's Program of Liberal Studies requirements.

All First-Year Intensive courses:

  • Are designed to assist your transition to college
  • Consist of 18 or fewer students, or incorporate small sections of first-year students
  • Allow for enhanced and frequent feedback
  • Make it possible for you to participate in community or field experiences, or for the instructor to assign collaborative projects or dialogue work
  • Provide opportunities for you to practice creating and applying knowledge, and/or artistic expression
  • Offer rich intellectual content (like all Clark courses) and emphasize the development of your communication and analytical thinking skills

What are the types of First-Year Intensive courses?

You may choose from three types of first-year intensives: 1) topic-focused, 2) research-oriented, and 3) introductory.

  1. Most First-Year Intensive courses focus in-depth on a specific topic within an academic discipline, such as history, philosophy, music, education, economics, geography, computer science, art or psychology. Others stretch across disciplines, addressing social issues or intellectual debates from multiple perspectives.
  2. "Diving into Research" courses are year-long, research-oriented courses where you will work on a research project with a small group of students. These First-Year Intensive courses are focused on either math or computer science, and one course credit is awarded after completion of two semesters of study. Course meetings are less frequent during any given week, but you must complete both semesters to obtain credit.
  3. Certain First-Year Intensive courses serve as introductions to a discipline, and potentially to your major area of study. Such introductory courses offer a foundation and can be a prerequisite to higher-level courses.

You have several options in thinking about these courses. For some majors, you may need to take one or more courses connected with that discipline during your first year. In others you can begin the major later. Read the catalog descriptions of any major in which you may be interested; 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. You may also combine a non-First-Year Intensive section of a departmental introductory course with a First-Year Intensive course from another discipline.

Additional considerations:

  • Economics 10, Physics 120, Management 100 and Management 104 are tailored versions of the usual introductory courses in these disciplines. They have been modified to fulfill the criteria of a First-Year Intensive course, as described above.
  • In Biology 101/103 and Chemistry 101, you will be in a large lecture with students from multiple years and a smaller lab section. A number of these labs have been designated as First-Year Intensive labs; you will also register for a separate one-hour FYI discussion section.

How do I choose a First-Year Intensive Course?

First-Year Intensive course descriptions will be available June 1. Your initial interests can include courses in topics for which you already have a passion, as well as courses that will introduce you to an entirely new subject. Keep an open mind as you read the course descriptions, checking the courses that interest you. Identify your top 3 to 5 choices.

When you have your advising conversation with your summer adviser in July, you must select a First-Year Intensive as one of your four 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 to register for this course. Your VE level is determined by your writing sample.
  • You may register for only one First-Year Intensive course.
  • Given the small class size, it is likely that some of these courses will fill quickly. You should have several back-ups in mind, and register early for maximum choice.