Academic Foundations

Of course, going to class and studying are an important part of college. But coming to college is about more than that. It’s about living independently, choosing your own path, making your own decisions about what to do and when, and finding your fit in a new community. It’s always helpful to have an experienced guide to offer insider insight in a new environment. That’s why the Academic Foundations and First-Year Seminar courses are so valuable.

Students in Academic Foundations discover some of Pittsburgh’s best neighborhoods by exploring them in small groups through the Neighborhood Project.

Academic Foundations (FP 0001, FP 0002, and FP 0004)

This one-credit course is your insiders’ guide to Pitt, connecting you to valuable academic resources and opportunities, introducing you to the campus and the city, and providing the opportunity to meet other new students in small classes. Whether you’re an out-of-state student or have lived in the Pittsburgh region your entire life, this course will provide you with indispensable information and tips for navigating your new home.

FP 0002 is a version of Academic Foundations for students enrolled in the Academic Communities. 

FP 0004 is a version of Academic Foundations that students in the BRIDGES program can opt to take.  For more information, please visit the BRIDGES website.

In Academic Foundations, you will:

  • Define your educational goals. Learn how general education courses can help you become an educated citizen in today’s global society while developing skills that employers demand and earning credits for graduation;
  • Become familiar with the cultural resources on Pitt’s campus as well as the diversity of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods and communities;
  • Get connected to academic success workshops, tutoring opportunities, and academic support services;
  • Be introduced to the Hillman Library, which houses 6 million volumes, extensive online resources, and much more to help you succeed; and
  • Learn to communicate with faculty, staff, and administrators, which will help you secure internships and letters of recommendation, and build the résumé you want.

Sections of this course are offered Monday through Friday at almost every hour, so you can easily fit it into your schedule!

First-Year Seminar (FP 0003)

You can also get all that Academic Foundations has to offer AND fulfill your Seminar in Composition requirement by enrolling in the 4-credit course, First-Year Seminar (FP 0003). First-Year Seminar classes are limited to just 19 students and are developed around a particular theme, creating a small, cohesive group of students interested in the same subject area. These courses are offered in the fall term.

The course focuses on writing and provides the same enrichment activities that FP 0001 offers, including:

  • Diverse activities that complement the theme of the seminar, including those that introduce you to the city and its cultural resources;
  • Enrichment experiences such as film screenings and lectures by faculty; and
  • Opportunities for group study.

First-Year Seminar (FP 0003) sections offered in the fall term.

First-Year Seminar (FP 0006)

First-Year Seminar (FP 0006) is a dynamic three-credit themed course for first-year students that fulfills the Seminar in Composition requirement.  First-Year Seminar classes are limited to just 19 students. You'll explore a focused topic you are interested in by reading selected texts, writing papers, and participating in classroom discussions.  

First-Year Seminar (FP 0006) sections offered in the spring term

Academic Foundations: Exploration of Civic Engagement (FP 0008)

Building on the foundation of the conventional Academic Foundations course, students will explore their civic identity through intentional dialogue and mindfulness reflection practices. This course’s aim is to encourage students to commit to civic engagement for the entirety of their university experience to make a positive lasting impact in Pittsburgh communities and beyond.