What is UMD Seminar?

UMD Seminar is a one-to-two credit University-wide orientation course. This course was developed to help new students with their transition into the university community. Topics addressed in this course include UMD technology, time management, study strategies, career/major exploration, academic planning, electronic learning portfolio development and other topics that help freshmen succeed academically, personally and socially.

Sections of UMD Seminar are limited to 25 students, and each section promotes discussion and active learning about topics important to new students. The small class size and active discussions provide opportunities for students to form connections with their instructor, teaching assistant, and fellow students.

The course instructors are current UMD faculty and staff who work closely with new students and have a desire to provide meaningful support and outreach to them. Students will receive practical experience and timely information which is based on new student needs and developmental stages. Course instructors work in partnership with an UMD Seminar Teaching Assistant.

UMD Seminar Teaching Assistants play an important role in UMD Seminar courses. Each section of UMD Seminar has a teaching assistant who works closely with the instructor and the students in the class. Teaching assistants are current UMD undergraduates; before working with an UMD Seminar section, they interview and take a 1-credit training course. UMD Seminar TAs help teach lessons, provide feedback on assignments, communicate with students in the class, meet with the instructor, and generate a welcoming, helpful environment for students.

Who takes UMD Seminar?

The short answer: most new students! More than 1,700 students will take UMD Seminar in the fall 2011 semester of last year. Want to know whether you'll be taking UMD Seminar? Check the chart below.

UMD College

Labovitz School of Business and Economics
All majors
College of Education and Human Service Professionals
All majors
School of Fine Arts
All majors
College of Liberal Arts
Declared majors
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Not required; students may take if they choose

At your Advisement & Registration session you'll receive more information about the UMD Seminar course. Your faculty advisor and student advisor will both talk with you about options for taking the UMD Seminar course and will help you register.

What are the options for taking UMD Seminar?

Students admitted for the spring term will sign up for a general UMD Seminar section during their first (spring) semester. Students admitted for the fall term have a number of options for UMD Seminar. Talk with your advisors at Advisement & Registration to find out more. Brief descriptions of UMD Seminar options are listed below.

The fall UMD Seminar experience guides you through the transition of college life as you experience it. Most students take the UMD Seminar course in the fall semester; most sections meet one hour per week. The course meets each week and provides timely information on UMD technology, time management, study strategies, major/career exploration, and academic planning. It also addresses personal growth issues as you test independence and strive to establish new relationships.

College-Specific and Major-Specific Sections

Students in each of UMD's five undergraduate colleges have the option to take the UMD Seminar course with students from their college or their major. While the content of the course is the same as other sections, the examples and information is tailored to the unique needs of students in that major/college. Some colleges/majors strongly encourage their students to choose this option; talk with your advisor about recommendations for you.

Living and Learning Sections

Three special sections of UMD Seminar are offered as a living/learning option for new students: three in Griggs Residence Hall. These sections allow students to experience their UMD Seminar class with other students who live in their same residential community. Class will be held in the residence halls and will engage students in first year transition topics while also encouraging community development. Students who register for this option must meet the May 1 housing priority deadline and have a desire to live in the residence hall assigned to their UMD Seminar section.

Major and Career Exploration

Two special sections of UMD Seminar are offered as a two-credit major and career exploration opportunity. This enhanced sections of UMD Seminar meet two hours per week. In addition to the regular UMD Seminar content, emphasis is placed on helping students with the process of exploring majors and careers and making successful educational, career and life decisions. Students engage in more thorough major/career exploration and take assessments that assist them in this process.

Accelerated (8 week) Courses

Several sections of UMD Seminar meet on an accelerated schedule. Rather than meeting once per week over the whole semester, students in the accelerated classes meet twice weekly during the first half of the term. This option permits students to cover all of the UMD Seminar information earlier in the semester, and allows for more frequent contact earlier in the semester with fellow students, the Instructor and the TA.

Other Fall Term UMD Seminar Options

Occasionally, special sections of UMD Seminar may be set aside for special populations of students or in conjunction with UMD programs or services. Your advisors can tell you more about these options at Advisement & Registration.

Teaching Assistant Positions

Are you interested in becoming an UMD Seminar Teaching Assistant? The hiring process for UMD Seminar teaching assistants occurs in February or March of all academic years. If you are interested in being an UMD Seminar TA, contact the front desk (sit-info@d.umn.edu), 42 Solon Campus Center, 218-726-6393.