Academics + Course Registration

FSSP students make immediate progress toward their educational goals by registering for UC Santa Barbara courses and completing 7-12 units, all before the academic year officially begins! Many courses have smaller class sizes during the summer months, so students benefit from individualized attention from faculty members while acclimating to UC Santa Barbara’s academic environment. FSSP students also gain access to unique opportunities, such as seminars designed specifically for first-year students, undergraduate research courses, honors sections, and enrichment classes.


Click to view academic resources for FSSP students. 

student studying on ILP balcony with Storke in background

Building Your FSSP Schedule

All FSSP students participate in a two-unit common course, INT 95A: The Modern Research University. This course provides an introduction to internationally recognized research currently being conducted on campus, and connects you with faculty to learn about opportunities to become involved in undergraduate research during your time at UC Santa Barbara. In smaller discussion sections, graduate student mentors further introduce you to all the opportunities and resources available to you on campus. 

Upon enrollment in the program, FSSP students are provided with a curated list of more than 70 lower-division courses, along with helpful information about degree requirements and academic advising resources. The Schedule of Classes supports you in choosing 7–12 units that align with your educational goals. The average FSSP student takes 9–10 units. 

Our dedicated advising team will provide you with explicit instructions on course registration when your FSSP enrollment application has been approved, but in the meantime you can explore special courses and seminars below. 

Interdisciplinary (INT) 95 – The Modern Research University (2 units) / Dr. Leesa Beck

Gain a comprehensive introduction to UC Santa Barbara as a research university. Through small discussion sections and weekly seminars by campus experts, this 2-unit course helps students explore the campus's many opportunities, including undergraduate research, internships, the Honors Program, study abroad, and more, so that they can prepare to make the most of their time at UCSB. Students will also engage in discussions about the various resources available on campus to help them excel.

Special Courses & Seminars

Dive right into your UC Santa Barbara experience by taking advantage of innovative courses and seminars designed to foster critical thinking, ignite your curiosity, and introduce you to new disciplines! Expand the categories below to learn more about opportunities for FSSP students.

These small group seminars, with a maximum of twenty students, will be taught by faculty who have volunteered their time and effort because they want to meet and teach students who are early in their UCSB careers. Facilitating student-faculty contact is one of the major goals of the First Year Discovery Seminars. Students have the opportunity to register in up to two First Year Discovery Seminars during FSSP, with each valued at one unit of credit. 

INT 86FV — Improving the Quality of Life of Older Adults with Dementia Using Virtual Reality 
This seminar will involve group discussions regarding the behavioral research on older adults with dementia, and how to communicate with them in ways that enhance their well-being and that of their caregivers. We are currently collecting data in almost all of the senior living communities in Santa Barbara (20 total in California and Boston), using virtual reality with older adults with dementia and their adult children who live at a distance. As a part of this seminar, you will learn how to use the virtual reality technology and how/why it can improve older adults' and their adult children's mental health and help them maintain their relationship. We will then take field trips into some of the local senior living communities where you can see the technology being used with older adults and their family members.

INT 86GG — The Exploration of Identity & Art: Personal, Cultural, Familial, and Sexual
The exploration of identity continues to be a focus of contemporary artists. Examining how we create and recreate our internal and external selves allows us to better understand our interactions in personal, social and political arenas. In this interactive workshop, students will view work by various filmmakers, artists, and performers, and engage in lively discussions pertinent to their phase in life.

INT 86NG — Mathematics of Origami
This course combines the modern mathematical theory of origami with hands-on explorations for students to come up with their own conjectures. Students work in groups and make connections. No prior experience with Origami required, no mathematical prerequisite. 

INT 86QV — History of War
This seminar will explore the conceptualization of war in the western tradition from Antiquity to Modern Times.

INT 86SH — Health & Wellness: Walk UCSB 
Looking to make the most of your time at UCSB, while sustaining healthy habits? This seminar will introduce students to aspects of health and wellness while exploring UCSB through a series of walking activities. At the conclusion, you will have learned practical and applicable strategies for health and wellbeing, and discovered resources on campus that advocate wellness. You'll also find new ways to explore health routines within the context of a busy personal, student and professional life.

INT 86TY — Exploration of the Physics Major: From Curious Freshmen to Young Professionals
Whether you're just starting your path in physics or have a keen interest in the subject, this seminar is designed to equip you with tools and resources essential for your academic progression. Through interactive discussions and presentations, students will construct a comprehensive plan mapping out their course selections from freshman fall to senior spring. Additionally, participants will devise strategies for engaging in research opportunities. Led by instructor and guest speakers, including current students and faculty members, this seminar offers a blend of discussion-based sessions and informative presentations. Students from disciplines other than Physics can also benefit from participating.

INT 86VC — Portraiture and Self in the Age of AI
This seminar offers an academic exploration into the intersection of technology and identity. This course examines how photography, digital editing, and artificial intelligence shape self-representation and perception. Students will develop skills in capturing and editing images, while critically analyzing AI's role in redefining reality and self. The seminar culminates in creating a personal portfolio, reflecting each student's technical proficiency and philosophical insights on authenticity in the digital era. This course is an invitation to engage with the evolving narrative of self in our technologically advanced world.

INT 86VL — Imagining the Climate Crisis
In this seminar, we will be reading and discussing The Overstory by Richard Powers, which is a 2019 novel that takes up a range of environmental issues. We will be reading about 50 pages of this book, which won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, per week. Our goal will be to better understand the relationship that our species has to our planet and its life. While we will have a designated classroom, we will, weather permitting, generally be meeting outside.

INT 86WA — Writing as Mapping
In this course we will use the UCSB campus as inspiration for writing in order to explore how poetry and prose might be created in conversation with the many vibrant landscapes that comprise our campus. By focusing on the dynamic people, places, and things that surround us, we will create textual maps that investigate the interstices between our conceptual and embodied realms.

INT 86WF — Ethical Tech: Navigating the ‘Should’ in Innovation
In an era where technological advancements are occurring at an unprecedented rate, this course offers a crucial perspective on the intersection of ethics and technology. Students are invited to embark on a thought-provoking journey, exploring not just the limitless possibilities of what they can create with technology, but more importantly, reflecting on whether they should create them.

INT 86WG — Climate Change: Insights from Past
The focus of this seminar is to unravel and discuss the manifestation of ongoing climate changes in various parts of the Eco-systems. The seminar informs how our understanding of past climate changes improves and refines our general understanding of climate change impact and climate feedback mechanism. The group will visit a stable isotope geochemistry lab, and go to Goleta Beach to look at the sedimentary rocks and discuss what they tell us about past climate changes, sea level changes and land uplift. 

INT 86WH — Language Learning & Teaching
What makes an effective language learner or language teacher? This course brings together current research in Education, Linguistics, and Language Departments to answer these questions. We will discuss theories of Second Language Acquisition and practices to build intercultural competence. If you are interested in language study, teaching, or international perspectives, and meeting others who share those interests, then this is the course for you!

Broaden your horizons this summer by exploring a subject through multiple lenses! These team-taught courses bring together UCSB faculty who specialize in different subject areas, to guide students through an engaging investigation of compelling topics from interdisciplinary perspectives. Each of the courses listed below has a number of scholarship awards to distribute to enrolled students to help offset the cost of unit fees — so you can dive deep and save money! Register by indicating your interest on your course preference form. Once registered, you'll receive instructions on how to apply for a scholarship.

INT 35LT. Experiencing Shakespeare (8 units) / Dr. Irwin Appel, Theater & Dance, and Dr. James Kearney, English 
This innovative course brings together faculty from the departments of English and Theater & Dance to offer students an immersive experience of Shakespeare that combines performance, literary study, and research. Students can expect Shakespeare to come to life on page and stage as they experience these multi-faceted works from a variety of perspectives.

INT 37UD. Utopian Dreaming (5 units) / Dr. Brad Bouley, History, and Dr. Patrick McHugh, Writing
Examine the dream of a perfect society through the lenses of history, literature, philosophy, and public memory. Starting with a historical and philosophical background of the concepts and unintended consequences of idealism, the course will then turn to focus more narrowly on our own planned community of Isla Vista. This course fulfills two GE requirements — Writing and Area E: Culture and Thought. 

INT 37VR. Religion & Technology (5 units) / Dr. Joseph Blankholm, Religious Studies, and Dr. Dominic Steavu, East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies 
With the aid of virtual reality (VR) headsets, this course introduces students to the complex interaction of religion and technology. Through a blend of lectures, readings, field trips, and independent research in virtual space, students will explore ideas ranging from religions based on new technologies, to the social and spiritual implications of Artificial Intelligence.

Each summer, a small selection of courses offer scholarships to qualified students, to offset the unit fees associated with the course. These scholarships are intended to reduce barriers to enrollment for students who have passion that exceeds financial resources. To learn more about courses that offer scholarships to FSSP students, visit our Financial Aid & Savings page and check out the Academic Incentives section. Register for one of these special courses by indicating your interest on your FSSP course preference form (you'll receive a unique link after you're accepted to the program). Once the FSSP team finalizes your course schedule, you’ll receive additional instructions on how to apply for a scholarship. 

Review our course offerings available to first-year students in our FSSP Schedule of Classes below.