First-Year Courses

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First-year students are required to complete an Earlham Seminar I and II. In addition, all students must complete a designated Writing Intensive course during the Sophomore or Junior year.

Earlham Seminar (ES) courses teach first-year students general methods of interpretation in reading, writing and classroom discussion that provide a basis for skills they will continue to develop throughout their college career at Earlham and throughout their lives. The Earlham Seminar will also engage first-year students in exploring a topic of interest in an intimate, challenging and collaborative learning environment. These seminars introduce students to successful participation in Earlham’s learning community and encourage new ways to engage and understand the world. Earlham Seminars share many of these distinctive characteristics:

  • Investigation of a topic and a set of related questions, using multiple ways of knowing, in order to exam intentionally how knowledge is constructed.
  • Grounding in an academic discipline while examining issues with an interdisciplinary scope.
  • Readings that engage a range of perspectives, discourses and values.
  • Emphasis on reading, reflection, writing and oral communication skills, and providing opportunities for students to critique and analyze information, construct arguments, listen interpretively and demonstrate and understand of various perspectives.
  • Encouragement of personal creativity and confidence in ideas and the development of cooperative learning and research skills.
  • Development of skills that support and enhance life-long learning and engaged, committed citizenship.
  • Connection of personal strengths, values, and interests with possible future directions using a 10-year mindset.

Click here for course descriptions of the Earlham Seminar I courses offered in Fall 2015.

Click here to complete the ESI Course Selection Form.

Writing Intensive (WI) courses may be disciplinary or interdisciplinary. They examine a diverse range of texts arranged around a particular question, theme or historical period. Texts may include films, musical scores or works of art. The purpose is to foreground texts for the study of a subject and to compare texts while approaching them from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and in several contexts. These courses:

  • Provide a writing- and reading-intensive experience that develops further the skills acquired in Interpretive Practices courses.
  • Study an array of challenging texts arranged around a particular question, theme or historical period.
  • Investigate primary and secondary texts in studying an issue or era.
  • Compare texts in several contexts — historical, social, political — and put them in dialog with one another.

Have a Question Regarding First-Year Programs/Courses?



Bonita Washington-Lacey
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs & Registrar
(765) 983-1515


Julie Stout
Assistant to the Registrar
(765) 983-1515

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