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Humanities First

Welcome to Humanities First!


Humanities First is a new First Year Experience for incoming freshmen to learn about and connect with the University of Washington, our Seattle campus, and our broader Pacific Northwest community.

Humanities First aims to help students think broadly about human life - from literature to science, from art to activism, and from culture to community - and to explore the questions that matter. This humanistic thinking is critical as students begin their college experience and prepare to not only build a career, but to also contribute to society and build a meaningful and fulfilling life. Along the way they will learn from alumni, community partners, and ultimately themselves about how what they learn in the humanities classroom translates into real world impact.

Humanities First consists of three separate courses: a large team-taught lecture course offered in Fall (HUM 101 Humanities First: Foundations) and two small “into the field” seminars offered in Winter (HUM 102 Humanities First: Campus Connections) and Spring (HUM 103 Humanities First: Community Connections). All three courses emphasize teamwork and public engagement; the Autumn lecture course gives students an introduction to the hows and whys of humanities scholarship from three UW faculty, while the seminars in Winter and Spring emphasize local places, local histories, and local authors. Specific topics, texts, and instructors change each year.

Students may take one or more of the year-long series of courses. Students who complete the entire series will earn the designation “Humanities First Scholar.”


Want To Learn More?

  • If you are a prospective student or incoming freshman interested in learning more about this year’s program, please visit our For Students page.
  • If you are a UW instructor in the Humanities or Humanistic Social Sciences and you are interested in learning more about this year’s program and how to apply to join a HUM 101 instructor team, please see the For Faculty page.
  • To see the participating faculty and program staff, please visit our People page.
  • To learn more about our current and upcoming courses, please visit our Programs page

The Humanities First program is generously funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.